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Again, On Chanukkah (with video)

Author Stephen Pidgeon - Wednesday, December 13, 2017 at 12:00 AM


The twelve days of Chanukkah

We begin with Bemidbar (Numbers) 7.

Bemidbar (Numbers) 7:10-11
And the princes offered את eth for dedicating (חֲנֻכָּה - chanukkah) of the altar in the day that it was anointed, even the princes offered את eth-their offering before the altar. 11 And YAHUAH said to El-Mosheh: They shall offer את eth-their offering, each prince on his day, for the dedicating (חֲנֻכָּה - chanukkah) of the altar. 

Chanukkah (חֲנֻכָּה) (Strong's 2598) means initiation, consecration or dedication.

To accomplish this dedication, we see that the chief leader of all of the armies of Yashar’el, Nachson, who was also the chief leader of the tribe of Yahudah, made an offering on the first day (Bemidbar 7:12). Nethan’el of Yisshakar made on offering on the second day (Bemidbar 7:18). Eliy’av of Zevulun made an offering on the third day (Bemidbar 7:24). Eliytsur of Re’uven made an offering on the fourth day (Bemidbar 7:30). Shelumiy’el of Shim`on made an offering on the fifth day (Bemidbar 7:36). Elyacaph of Gad made an offering on the sixth day (Bemidbar 7:42). Eliyshama of Ephrayim made an offering on the seventh day (Bemidbar 7:48). Gamiliy’el of Menashsheh made an offering on the eighth day (Bemidbar 7:54). Aviydan of Binyamiyn made an offering on the ninth day (Bemidbar 7:60). Achiy`ezer of Dan made an offering on the tenth day (Bemidbar 7:66). Pag`iy’el of Asher made an offering on the eleventh day (Bemidbar 7:72). Achiyra of Naphtaliy made an offering on the twelfth day (Bemidbar 7:78).


Devariym (Deuteronomy) 20:1-5
WHEN you go out to battle against your enemies, and see horses, and chariots, and a people more than you, do not be afraid of them: for YAHUAH ELOHAYKA is with you, which brought you up out of the land of Mitsrayim. 2 And it shall be, when you are come near to the battle, that the priest shall approach and speak to the people, 3 And shall say to them: Hear, O Yashar’el, you approach this day to battle against your enemies: let not your hearts faint, do not fear, and do not tremble, neither be you terrified because of them; 4 For YAHUAH ELOHAYKEM is he that goes with you, to fight for you against your enemies, to save you.

5 And the officers shall speak to the people, saying: What man is there that has built a new house, and has not dedicated (חָנַךְ) it? Let him go and return to his house, lest he die in the battle, and another man dedicate it.

Chânak (חָנַךְ) (H2596) means figuratively to initiate or discipline: to dedicate, or train up.

Divrei Hayamiym Sheniy (2 Chronicles) 7:8-11
Also at the same time Shalomah kept את eth-the feast (chag) seven days, and all Yashar’el with him, a very great assembly, from the entering in of Chamath to the river of Mitsrayim. 9 And in the eighth day they made a solemn assembly: for they kept the dedication (chanukkah) of the altar seven days, and the feast (chag) seven days. 10 And on the three and twentieth day of the seventh month he sent את eth-the people away into their tents, glad and merry in heart for the goodness that YAHUAH had shown to Daviyd, and to Shalomah, and to Yashar’el his people. 11 Thus Shalomah finished את eth-the house of YAHUAH, and את eth-the king's house: and את eth-all that came into Shalomah's heart to make in the house of YAHUAH, and in his own house, he prosperously effected.


Vayiqra (Leviticus) 23:39-43
Also in the fifteenth day of the seventh month, when you have gathered in את eth-the fruit of the land, you shall keep את eth-a feast (chag) to YAHUAH seven days: on the first day shall be a Shabbath, and on the eighth day shall be a Shabbath. 40 And you shall take you on the first day the boughs of goodly trees, branches of palm trees, and the boughs of thick trees, and willows of the brook; and you shall rejoice before YAHUAH ELOHAYKEM seven days. 41 And you shall keep it a feast to YAHUAH seven days in the year. It shall be a statute forever in your generations: you shall celebrate it in the seventh month. 42 You shall dwell in cukkoth seven days; all that are Yashar’el born shall dwell in cukkoth: 43 That your generations may know that I made את eth-the children of Yashar’el to dwell in cukkoth, when I brought them out of the land of Mitsrayim: I am YAHUAH ELOHAYKEM.


As we discuss the practice of Chanukkah in the modern world, we must discuss also the recitation of events found in the books of the Makkabiym (the hammers).  Theologically, the four books of the Makkabiym were found in the Septuagint, which preceded the Tanakh by more than 500 years; yet they were excluded from the Tanakh, primarily because of the dislike for the reign of Shimon Makkabiy and his treatment of all things sacred.

However, we have this record concerning the Feast of Chanukkah:

Makkabiym Sheniy (2 Maccabees) 1:1-9
THE brethren, the Yahudiym that be at Yerushalayim and in the land of Yahud,  wish to the brethren, the Yahudiym that are throughout Mitsrayim health and peace: 2 ELOHIYM be gracious to you, and remember his covenant that he made with Avraham, Yitscha’aq, and Ya`aqov, his faithful servants; 3 And give you all a heart to serve him, and to do his will, with a good courage and a willing mind; 4 And open your hearts in his Torah and commandments, and send you peace, 5 And hear your prayers, and be at one with you, and never forsake you in time of trouble. 6 And now we be here praying for you. 7 What time as Demetrius reigned, in the hundred sixty-ninth year, we the Yahudiym wrote to you in the extremity of trouble that came upon us in those years, from the time that Yacon and his company revolted from the holy land and kingdom, 8 And burned the porch, and shed innocent blood: then we prayed to YAHUAH, and were heard; we offered also sacrifices and fine flour, and lighted the lamps, and set forth the loaves. 9 And now see that you keep the Feast of Chanukkah in the month Kiclev.

Let us consider further discussion in Makkabiym Sheniy (2 Maccabees):

Makkabiym Sheniy (2 Maccabees) 1:14-32
For Antiochus, as though he would marry her, came into the place, and his friends that were with him, to receive money in name of a dowry. 15 Which when the priests of Nanea had set forth, and he was entered with a small company into the compass of the Temple, they shut the Temple as soon as Antiochus was come in: 16 And opening a privy door of the roof, they threw stones like thunderbolts, and struck down the chief, hewed them in pieces, smote off their heads and cast them to those that were outside. 17 Blessed be our ELOHIYM in all things, who has delivered up the wicked. 18 Therefore whereas we are now purposed to keep the purification of the Temple upon the five and twentieth day of the month Kiclev, we thought it necessary to certify you of it, that you also might keep it, as the Feast of Chanukkah, and of the fire, which was given us when Nechemyahu offered sacrifice, after that he had built the Temple and the altar. 19 For when our fathers were led into Persia, the priests that were then devout took the fire of the altar privily, and hid it in a hollow place of a pit without water, where they kept it sure, so that the place was unknown to all men. 20 Now after many years, when it pleased ELOHIYM, Nechemyahu, being sent from the king of Persia, did send of the posterity of those priests that had hid it to the fire: but when they told us they found no fire, but thick water; 21 Then commanded he them to draw it up, and to bring it; and when the sacrifices were laid on, Nechemyahu commanded the priests to sprinkle the wood and the things laid thereupon with the water. 22 When this was done, and the time came that the sun shone, which afore was hid in the cloud, there was a great fire kindled, so that every man marveled. 23 And the priests made a prayer while the sacrifice was consuming, I say, both the priests, and all the rest, Yonathan beginning, and the rest answering thereto, as Nechemyahu did. 24 And the prayer was after this manner; O YAHUAH, YAHUAH ELOHIYM, Creator of all things, who is fearful and strong, and righteous, and merciful, and the only and gracious King, 25 The only giver of all things, the only just, almighty, and everlasting, you who delivers Yashar’el from all trouble, and did choose the fathers, and sanctify them: 26 Receive the sacrifice for your whole people Yashar’el, and guard your own portion, and sanctify it. 27 Gather those together that are scattered from us, deliver those who serve among the other nations, look upon those who are despised and abhorred, and let the other nations know that you are our ELOHIYM. 28 Punish those who oppress us, and with pride do us wrong. 29 Plant your people again in your holy place, as Mosheh has spoken. 30 And the priests sang psalms of thanksgiving. 31 Now when the sacrifice was consumed, Nechemyahu commanded the water that was left to be poured on the great stones. 32 When this was done, there was kindled a flame: but it was consumed by the light that shined from the altar.

Gift giving

Believe or not, there is also a record of discretionary gift giving.

Makkabiym Sheniy (2 Maccabees) 1:33-35
So, when this matter was known, it was told the king of Persia, that in the place, where the priests that were led away had hid the fire, there appeared water, and that Nechemyahu had purified the sacrifices therewith. 34 Then the king, inclosing the place, made it holy, after he had tried the matter. 35 And the king took many gifts, and bestowed of it on those whom he would gratify.

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