Hanukkah, “Festival of Lights”
Hanukkah (חֲנֻכָּה, Ḥănukkāh, Chanukah or Chanukkah), also known as the Festival of Lights, Feast of Dedication, is an eight-day Jewish holiday commemorating the rededication of the Holy Temple (the Second Temple) in Jerusalem at the time of the Maccabean Revolt against the Seleucid Empire of the 2nd century BCE. Hanukkah is observed for eight nights and days, starting on the 25th day of Kislev according to the Hebrew calendar, which may occur at any time from late November to late December in the Gregorian calendar. The festival is observed by the kindling of the lights of a unique candelabrum, the nine-ranched menorah or hanukiah, one additional light on each night of the holiday, progressing to eight on the final night
Jewish families celebrate Hanukkah by kindling the lights of a nine-branched candlestick called the ‘Menorah‘. They kindle one light on the first night, two on the second night and so on. Each night, they also kindle the ninth light, the ‘Shamash‘, for kindling the others. The Shamash is usually higher or lower than the other eight in the Menorah.
‘Wherever you go, no matter what the weather, always bring your own sunshine.’ – Anthony J D’Angelo
A candle is a small thing. But one candle can light another. And see how its own light increases, as a candle gives its flame to the other. You are such a light. – Moshe Davis
A candle loses nothing by lighting another candle. – James Keller
A fuel-less flame is nothing but a wraith, However wrought, if unsustained by passion. – Nicholas Gordon
A little bit of light dispels a lot of darkness. – Rabbi Schneur Zalman of Liadi
A pet store is a celebration of dogs’ existence and an explosion of options. About cats, a pet store seems to say, ‘Here, we couldn’t think of anything else.’ Cats are the Hanukkah of the animal world in this way. They are feted quietly and happily by a minority, but there’s only so much hoopla applicable to them. – Sloane Crosley
A thousand candles can be lit from the flame of one candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness can be spread without diminishing that of yourself. – Gautama Buddha
As a candle cannot burn without fire, so man cannot live without spiritual force. – Ramakrishna
As long as Hanukkah is studied and remembered, Jews will not surrender to the night. The proper response, as Hanukkah teaches, is not to curse the darkness but to light a candle. – Irving Greenberg
As we let our light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence actually liberates others. – Marianne Williamson
At this time of year, when the sun is most hidden, the holiday of Hanukkah celebrates the rays of hope and light. Often, it is through simple and unrecognized miracles that we are able to feel the warmth of hope and light. – Rafael Goldstein
Be convinced that to be happy means to be free and that to be free means to be brave. Therefore do not take lightly the perils of war. – Thucydides
Better to light a candle than to curse the darkness. – Chinese Proverb
Birds sing after a storm. Why shouldn’t we? – Rose Kennedy
Birds sing after a storm; why shouldn’t people feel as free to delight in whatever remains to them? – Rose F. Kennedy
Blessed is the match consumed in kindling flame Blessed is the flame that burns in the secret fastness of the heart. – Hannah Senesh
By all means, then, let us have psalms and days of dedication anew to the old causes. – Charles Reznikoff
Cause you get lighter the more it gets dark… Cause in a sky full of stars, I think I see you. – Coldplay
Chanuka is about the spark of the divine in all of us made in God’s image. – Suzanne Fields
Christmas brings enormous electric bills. Candles are used for Hanukkah. Not only are we spared enormous electric bills, but we get to feel good about not contributing to the energy crisis. – KOACH Humor
Colorful candles burning bright, each lit on eight very special nights. – Anonymous
Come here, I will show you a new way to the Creator: Not through speech, but through song! Let us sing and Heaven will understand us. – Anonymous
Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that. – Martin Luther King, Jr.
Do what you do. This Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, New Year’s Eve, Twelfth Night, Valentine’s Day, Mardi Gras, St. Paddy’s Day, and every day henceforth. Just do what you do. Live out your life and your traditions on your own terms. If it offends others, so be it. That’s their problem. – Chris Rose
Eid is a time of joy, after a season of fasting and prayer and reflection. Each year, the end of Ramadan means celebration and thanksgiving for millions of Americans. And your joy during this season enriches the life of our great country. This year, Eid is celebrated at the same time as Hanukkah and Advent. So it’s a good time for people of these great faiths, Islam, Judaism and Christianity, to remember how much we have in common: devotion to family, a commitment to care for those in need, a belief in God and His justice, and the hope for peace on earth.– George W. Bush
Eight days the light continued on its own: A miracle, they say, but not more so Than ordinary lives of flesh and bone, Consuming wicks burned ashen long ago. – Nicholas Gordon
Even our misfortunes are a part of our belongings. – Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
Every cubic inch of space is a miracle. – Walt Whitman
Everyone thinks I’m Jewish. I’m not. Last year I got a call: “Happy Hanukkah.” I said “Ma, I’m not Jewish.” – Joy Behar
Hanukkah has very little accouterments attached to it … Besides dreidels and gold, foil-wrapped coins, the menorah is the way to showcase the holiday. – Anonymous
Hanukkah is about the spark of the divine in all of us made in God’s image. – Suzanne Fields
Hanukkah is the ideal holiday to heal the pain because one of its major themes is the triumph of good over evil. – Anonymous
Hanukkah is…the festival of lights, instead of one day of presents, we get eight crazy nights. – Adam Sandler
Happy”. I had not heard that word since Mr. Milgrom spoke it at the last Hanukkah. I asked him the question that had been on my mind since then. “Tata, what is happy?” He looked at me and at the ceiling and back to me. “Did you ever taste an orange?” he said.– Jerry Spinelli
Holidays help because they come with stories, and the Hanukkah story is good for relaying that the divine pervades everything, even darkness. – Anonymous
I ask not for a lighter burden, but for broader shoulders. – Jewish Proverb
I have excellent relationships with Jewish organizations and participate every year in a Hanukkah celebration with my family. There haven’t been any anti-Semitic tendencies in my team for a long time. – Viktor Yushchenko
I have no religion because I was born and raised Jewish. And on the first night of Hanukkah, my parents, when I was very young, gave me a top to play with. They called it a dreidel. I knew it was a top. And as I looked at that top, I said, ‘You know. I don’t think I’m gonna be Jewish for very long. – Lewis Black
I say ‘Merry Christmas’ to people I don’t know, or to people I know are Christians. I say ‘Happy Hanukkah’ to people I know to be or suspect to be Jewish. And I don’t say ‘Happy Kwanzaa,’ because I think African Americans get enough insults all year round. – Christopher Hitchens
I think the girl who is able to earn her own living and pay her own way should be as happy as anybody on earth. The sense of independence and security is very sweet. – Susan B. Anthony
I’m not against the Hanukkah songs. I like Hanukkah songs. I grew up with Hanukkah songs. I’m not opposed to Hanukkah or the songs that accompany it, at all. – Howard Dean
In the old days, it was not called the Holiday Season; the Christians called it “Christmas” and went to church; the Jews called it “Hanukka” and went to synagogue; the atheists went to parties and drank. People passing each other on the street would say “Merry Christmas!” or “Happy Hanukka!” or (to the atheists) “Look out for the wall!” – Dave Barry
Is it possible Hanukkah doesn’t inspire folksy songs? Plot lines may be a part. The Christmas story has a lot of material to work with. There’s Jesus and his birth, the wise men, their gifts and tons of frankincense. – Matisyahu
Is not Hanukkah a symbol of Israel, and its light a symbol of his immortality? – Leo Jung
It is better to light a candle than curse the darkness. – Eleanor Roosevelt
It’s a very simple holiday when, for a time, light is the most important thing and life isn’t always about material stuff. – Anonymous
It’s also a reminder that humanity is not alone and all things, including poor economies, happen for a reason. – Anonymous
It’s not only a Jewish message but a universal message of hope in the face of tyranny and darkness. – Anonymous
Just as a candle cannot burn without fire, men cannot live without a spiritual life. – Gautama Buddha
Just as Hanukkah candles are lighted one by one from a single flame, so the tale of the miracle is passed from one man to another, from one house to another, and to the whole House of Israel throughout the generations. – Judah L. Magnes
Kindle the taper like the steadfast star Ablaze on evening’s forehead o’er the earth, And add each night a luster till afar An eight fold splendor shine above thy hearth. – Emma Lazarus
Let the straight flower bespeak its purpose in straightness – to seek the light. Let the crooked flower bespeak its purpose in crookedness – to seek the light. Let the crookedness and straightness bespeak the light. – Allen Ginsberg
Like the Maccabees, most people want the right to pray to God in their own way. This right is called freedom of religion. The spirit of Hanukkah, the Festival of Lights, is shared by all people who love freedom. – Norma Simon
Look at how a single candle can both defy and define the darkness. – Anne Frank
Many Americans celebrate both Christmas and Xmas. Others celebrate one or the other. And some of us celebrate holidays that, although unconnected with the [winter] solstice, occur near it: Ramadan, Hanukkah and Kwanzaa. – John Silber
May love and light fill your home and heart at Hanukkah. – Anonymous
May the festival of light encircle your life with Joy and Happiness. Success comes at your home. – Anonymous
May the light illuminate your hearts and shine in your life every day of the year. May everlasting peace be yours and upon our Earth. – Eileen Anglin
May the lights of Hanukkah usher in a better world for all humankind. – Anonymous
More people can relate to (Hanukkah) because more people are facing hardships. – Anonymous
Most Texans think Hanukkah is some sort of duck call. – Richard Lewis
No wonder God chose this dark land to send prophets to, for a candle only shines in the dark. – Rami Ollaik
Now, near the Winter Solstice, it is good to light candles. All the nice meanings of bringing light to the world can be beautiful. But perhaps we are concentrating on lighting the world because we don’t know how to light up our own lives. – Ralph Levy
On Hanukkah, some people ask: why couldn’t we light all eight candles in one night instead of having to light a new one for each of eight nights? It is because Hanukkah is not merely a cause for celebrations; it is a trial of perseverance. – Simon Nguyen
On Hanukkah, the first dark night, light yourself a candle bright. I’ll you, if you will me invite, to dance within that gentle light. – Nicholas Gordon
On this lovely, lovely Hanukkah, drink your gin and tonica. – Adam Sandler
Oskar is the fruit of those fantasies — the idea that what needed to be saved was not just lives but hope. – Richard Simon
Oskar’s particular blessings are blessings that only a major cosmopolitan city can bestow on a refugee. They represent all our potential to survive and even thrive in the face of great loss. – Richard Simon
Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. – Marianne Williamson
Praised are You, Our God, Ruler of the universe, Who made us holy through your commandments and commanded us to kindle the Hanukah lights. – Anonymous
President Obama held a ceremony at the White House to celebrate the first night of Hanukkah. In response, Republicans said, ‘It’s even worse than we thought. He’s a Jewish Muslim.’ – Conan O’Brien
Religion is a candle inside a multicolored lantern. Everyone looks through a particular color, but the candle is always there. -Mohammed Naguib
Sometimes there are immature kids who make jokes about (Hanukkah), but other than that, everyone is really accepting . – Anonymous
Sophie wondered when was she going to learn that lots of things seem like a good idea but a small amount of analysis might uncover that such seemingly good ideas are, in fact, intrinsically faulty. – Gayle Forman
Still ours the dance, the feast, the glorious Psalm, The mystic lights of emblem, and the Word.—Emma Lazarus
That’s what Hanukkah is about: trying to survive the darkness on the far-fetched hope there’s still some life and light left in the universe. It’s more than just a religious story. The days have been growing shorter, imperceptibly but inescapably darker…. Heading into the night of the winter solstice, every spiritual tradition has some kind of festival of light. We’re all just whistling in the dark, hoping against hope that someone up there will see these little Hanukkah candles and get the hint. – Lawrence Kushner
The commandment to light the Hanukkah lamp is an exceedingly precious one, and one should be particularly careful to fulfill it. In order to make known the miracle, and to offer additional praise … to God for the Wonders which He has wrought for us. – Maimonides
The darkness of the whole world cannot swallow the glowing of a candle.—Robert Altinger
The light of kindness and goodness in our heart is ultimately what we must tap into. We do not so much “fight the darkness (of hate and bigotry)” as we illuminate it when we unite our own inner light with the inner light shining in our fellow brothers and sisters. – Aimee Ginsburg
The lights of the Hanukkah menorah that we kindle in our homes are a reminder both of the Menorah in the Temple in Jerusalem and the light that shines brightly within each one of us. For as it says in Proverbs 20:27 — The candle of God is the soul of man. – Libi Astaire
The miracle, of course, was not that the oil for the sacred light – in a little cruse – lasted as long as they say; but that the courage of the Maccabees lasted to this day: let that nourish my flickering spirit. – Charles Reznikoff
The mystic lights of emblem, and the Word. – Emma Lazarus
The next day, eating a turkey sandwich with salt and mayonnaise, Rebecca decided Thanksgiving was the best holiday, although she had little to choose from: her family never celebrated Hanukkah but her father was militant about ignoring Christmas and insisted they spend December 25 eating Chinese takeout and going to the movies. – Anna Quindlen
The proper response, as Hanukkah teaches, is not to curse the darkness but to light a candle. – Irving Greenberg
The spirit of Hanukkah, the Festival of Lights, is shared by all people who love freedom. – Norma Simon
There are two ways of spreading light: to be the candle or the mirror that reflects it. – Edith Wharton
There is a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in. – Leonard Cohen
They celebrated it for eight days with gladness like Sukkot and recalled how a little while before, during Sukkot, they had been wandering in the mountains and caverns like wild animals. So carrying lulavs …they offered hymns of praise to God who had brought to pass the purification of His own place. – Anonymous
To me, every hour of the light and dark is a miracle. Every cubic inch of space is a miracle. – Walt Whitman
Walking with a friend in the dark is better than walking alone in the light. – Helen Keller
We cannot hold a torch to light another’s path without brightening our own. – Ben Sweetland
We have focused on the miracle-thing and I think we often overlook the message of Hanukkah. To me, the core of the holiday is the cleaning of the temple…. The accomplishment was in restoring the temple to the purpose for which it was built. Now think of the temple as a symbol. Perhaps it represents my life. The world has tried to use me for its own (perhaps good, but none-the-less extrinsic) purposes. But now I can rededicate myself to my own original purpose.– Ralph Levy
We light candles in testament that faith makes miracles possible. – Nachum Braverman
Well, because I have twin seven-year-old boys, I enjoy the gift giving stuff a great deal. We do both Hanukkah and Christmas, so it is a costly, though extremely pleasing proposition. – Fred Melamed
When life seems to put out every light you have, It is better to light a candle than to complain about the darkness. – Anonymous
When you compare Christmas to Hanukkah, there’s no comparison. Christmas is great. Hanukkah sucks! First night you get socks. Second night, an eraser, a notebook. It’s a Back-to-School holiday! – Lewis Black
You know. I don’t think I’m gonna be Jewish for very long. – Lewis Black
- “Santa Claus has nothing to do with it,” the latke said. “Christmas and Hanukah are completely different things.”
“But different things can often blend together,” said the pine tree. “Let me tell you a funny story about pagan rituals.” – Lemony Snicket
- On Hanukkah, the first dark night,
Light yourself a candle bright.
I’ll you, if you will me invite
To dance within that gentle light. – Nicholas Gordon
- Let the straight flower bespeak its purpose in straightness – to seek the light.
Let the crooked flower bespeak its purpose in crookedness – to seek the light.
Let the crookedness and straightness bespeak the light. – Allen Ginsberg, “Psalm III”
- To me every hour of the light and dark is a miracle,
Every cubic inch of space is a miracle. – Walt Whitman
- Kindle the taper like the steadfast star
Ablaze on evening’s forehead o’er the earth,
And add each night a lustre till afar
An eightfold splendor shine above thy hearth. – Emma Lazarus
- Eight days the light continued on its own:
A miracle, they say, but not more so
Than ordinary lives of flesh and bone,
Consuming wicks burned ashen long ago…. – Nicholas Gordon
- Blessed is the match consumed in kindling flame
Blessed is the flame that burns in the secret fastness of the heart – Hannah Senesh
- I feel like a spinning top or a Dreidel
The spinning don’t stop when you leave the cradle
You just slow down
Round and around this world you go
Spinning through the lives of the people you know
We all slow down. – Don McLean, in Dreidel, on Don McLean (1972)
- בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה ה’, אֱ-לֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם, אֲשֶׁר קִדְּשָׁנוּ בְּמִצְוֹתָיו, וְצִוָּנוּ לְהַדְלִיק נֵר חֲנֻכָּה.
Barukh Atta Adonay Eloheynu Melekh Ha-olam Asher Kiddeshanu Be-mitsvotav Ve-tsivanu Lehadlik Ner Shel khanuka.
- Blessed are You, Lord our God, King of the universe, who has sanctified us by His commandments, and has commanded us to kindle the lights of Hanukkah. – Traditional blessing in lighting the lights of Hanukkah
- בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה ה’ אֱ-לֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם, שֶׁעָשָׂה נִסִּים לַאֲבוֹתֵֽינוּ בַּיָּמִים הָהֵם בַּזְּמַן הַזֶּה.
Barukh Atta Adonay Eloheynu Melekh Ha-olam She-asa Nissim La-avoteynu Ba-yyamim Ha-hem Ba-zzman Ha-zze.
- Blessed are you, Lord our God, King of the universe, who wrought miracles for our fathers in days of old, at this season – Traditional blessing in lighting the lights of Hanukkah
- In the old days, it was not called the Holiday Season; the Christians called it “Christmas” and went to church; the Jews called it “Hanukka” and went to synagogue; the atheists went to parties and drank. People passing each other on the street would say “Merry Christmas!” or “Happy Hanukka!” or (to the atheists) “Look out for the wall!”
- Dave Barry in: Snark! the Herald Angels Sing: Sarcasm, Bitterness and the Holiday Season, Skyhorse Publishing Inc., 01-Nov-2011, p. 52
- We thank You also for the miraculous deeds and for the redemption and for the mighty deeds and the saving acts wrought by You, as well as for the wars which You waged for our ancestors in ancient days at this season. In the days of the Hasmonean Mattathias, son of Johanan the high priest, and his sons, when the iniquitous Greco-Syrian kingdom rose up against Your people Israel, to make them forget Your Torah and to turn them away from the ordinances of Your will, then You in your abundant mercy rose up for them in the time of their trouble, pled their cause, executed judgment, avenged their wrong, and delivered the strong into the hands of the weak, the many into the hands of few, the impure into the hands of the pure, the wicked into the hands of the righteous, and insolent ones into the hands of those occupied with Your Torah. Both unto Yourself did you make a great and holy name in Thy world, and unto Your people did You achieve a great deliverance and redemption. Whereupon your children entered the sanctuary of Your house, cleansed Your temple, purified Your sanctuary, kindled lights in Your holy courts, and appointed these eight days of Hanukkah in order to give thanks and praises unto Your holy name.”
- English translation of the Al ha-Nissim
- Everyone thinks I’m Jewish. I’m not. Last year I got a call: “Happy Hanukkah.” I said “Ma, I’m not Jewish.”
- Joy Behar, joking about how her New York Italian-Catholic persona is mistaken as being Jewish, as reported in The Boston Globe (20 April 2008), p. 3
- The Feast of Lights:
Still ours the dance, the feast, the glorious Psalm,
The mystic lights of emblem, and the Word.
Where is our Judas?Where our-five branched palm?
Where are the lion-warriors of the Lord?
- Emma Lazarus in: The Poems of Emma Lazarus, Volume II: Jewish Poems and Translations, Courier Corporation, 01-Jan-2015, p. 19
- Christmas brings enormous electric bills. Candles are used for Hanukkah. Not only are we spared enormous electric bills, but we get to feel good about not contributing to the energy crisis.
- Harry Leichter in: HBS Alumni Bulletin, Volume 84, Harvard Business School, 2008
- So have a Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Krazy Kwanzaa, a Tip-Top Tet, and a solemn, dignified Ramadan. And now, a word from my god, our sponsor…
- Tom Martin, in words written for Krusty the Clown, in The Simpsons, Grift of the Magi (19 December 1999)
- Just as Hanukkah candles are lighted one by one from a single flame, so the tale of the miracle is passed from one man to another, from one house to another, and to the whole House of Israel throughout the generations.
- Judah L. Magnes in: Always Look on the Bright Side: Celebrating Each Day to the Fullest, Cleis Press, 22 October 2013, p. 93.
- The miracle, of course, was not that the oil for the sacred light
in a little cruse – lasted as long as they say;
but that the courage of the Maccabees lasted to this day:
let that nourish my flickering spirit.
- Charles Reznikoff in: The Poems of Charles Reznikoff: 1918-1975, David R. Godine Publisher, 2005, p. 226.
- You can see religion as a battle, a holy war, in which you win a victory for your faith by force or fear. Or you can see it as a candle you light to drive away some of the darkness of the world. The difference is that the first sees other religions as the enemy. The second sees them as other candles, not threatening mine, but adding to the light we share. What Jews remembered from that victory over the Greeks twenty-two centuries ago was not a God of war but the God of light. And it’s only the God of light who can defeat the darkness in the human soul
- Rabbi Sacks in: Gilles Teulié, Laurence Lux-Sterritt War Sermons, Cambridge Scholars, 2009, p. 231.
This is a song that uhh
There’s a lot of Christmas songs out there and uhh
Not too many Chanukah songs
I wrote a song for all those nice little Jewish kids who don’t get to hear any Chanukah songs
Here we go!
Here comes Hanukkah
So much funukkah
To celebrate Hanukkah
The Festival of Lights
Instead of one day of presents
We have eight crazy nights!
Without a Christmas tree
Here’s a list of people who are Jewish
Just like you and me
So does James Caan, Kirk Douglas and the late Dina Shore-ah
Guess who eats together at the Carnegie Deli?
Bowzer from Sha Na Na and Arthur Fonzerelli
Put them together, what a fine looking Jew!
Cause you can spin a dreidel with Captain Kirk and Mr. Spock (both Jewish!)
Its time for Hanukkah
The owner of the Seattle Supersonic-ahs
But guess who is?: Hall-of-famer Rod Carew (he converted)
We got Ann Landers and her sister Dear Abby
Harrison Ford’s a quarter Jewish – not too shabby!
Well he’s not, but guess who is?: All three Stooges!
So many Jews are in showbiz
Tom Cruise isn’t, but I heard his agent is
Its time you celebrate Hanukkah
I hope I get a harmonica
On this lovely, lovely Hanukkah
And smoke your marijuani-kkah
If you really, really wanna-kkha
Have a happy, happy, happy, happy Hanukkah