The Meaning of Hanukkah

10 Dec

“Hanukkah is the Festival of Lights. Instead of one day of presents, we get eight crazy nights!”

-Adam Sandler, “The Hanukkah Song”

Sandler’s statement may be true to many American families, and indeed, Hanukkah is named the Festival of Lights after the beauty of our glowing menorahs. But where does Hanukkah actually come from, and what is its meaning? We all know the Hebrew school version (or the Rugrats special) of the story: the Temple was desecrated. The Jews only had enough oil to last for one night, but it miraculously lasted for eight nights. That’s quite a miracle. So why in Hanukkah Harry’s name didn’t such a good story make it into the Hebrew bible?

Hilary Leila Krieger, Washington bureau chief for The Jerusalem Post,  sheds some light on what Hanukkah is really about in an op-ed in the New York Times, and what lies beneath the presents, decorations, and greasy food. You’ll never look at your menorah the same way again.

Jewish Christmas


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