Hanukkah, Hannuka, Chanukah, spell it how you will, it's a fun-filled eight-days of celebration.
THE STORY IN A NUTSHELL
Syrian Hellenists grew frustrated with the Jews because they refused to back down on "illogical" practices like circumcision at eight days and purity laws.
When they couldn't change the Jews minds with logic, they resorted to violence and trashing the Temple in Jerusalem.
A brave family (the Chashmonaim) launched a guerrilla assault against the well-trained, powerful Greek-Syrian army.
The Jews one.
When they reclaimed the Temple, they couldn't find any pure oil to light the Menorah-candelabra (in their anti-purity zeal, the Hellenists had defiled every jug of oil).
When they eventually found a tiny jug, G-d broke the laws of Nature & made the drops of oil burn for eight days.
GOT A LIGHT?
From Wednesday 1 December, light your Menorah/Chanukiya each evening after sunset.
On night 1, light 1. Night 2, light 2 etc,
[For the relevant blessings, click here]
A kosher Chanukah candelabra has eight branches in a straight row at equal heights, plus a distinct branch for the "shamash" (lighter).
First prize = Olive oil. Otherwise, those colourful candles are good too.
KEEP THE LIGHTS ON
Your candles need to burn for at least half an hour after dark (that's especially tricky on Shabbat, when you need to light the Chanukah lights before the Shabbat candles).
Sit and watch your candles for a while.
Women shouldn't work while the candles are burning (that's right, guys, you do dishes...).
During the Amidah and Birkat Hamazon (blessing after a meal), add the "Al Hanissim" paragraph that thanks G-d for the Chanukah miracles.
Give your kids Chanukah pocket money (especially on the 5th night).
Also give extra charity each day of Chanukah.
GO FOR A SPIN
Chanukah's famous game of spinning dreidel is great fun.
[How to play]
TRANS-FATS, OY VEY
The Chanukah miracle is about oil- and so are the foods. Latkes and donuts or anything fried will do.
Chanukah is the festival of Jewish mysticism, take a resolution to study some.
Have a fantastic Chanukah!!