Hanukkah begins tonight at sundown.
Haverhill’s Temple Emanu-El Cantor Vera Broekhysen explains the Festival of Lights “lights our way into the winter with remembrance of light that came when needed most, and stayed longer than it could reasonably be expected to.” Broekhysen says the holiday originated with a military victory, in which the Jewish people won back control of the Temple in Jerusalem, and were then able to again celebrate holidays there.
“Once we get into the Talmud, a Jewish collection of Rabbinic wisdom, then we get the story of this one little jar of oil, that when the Maccabees came back into the Temple—the Maccabees was the name of the family that spearheaded the revolt—they were trying to light the menorah, the sacred lamp, and they only had enough holy oil that was ready for use to last for just one day. But they lit it anyway, and the traditional miracle is that it then lasted for eight days which was enough time for new oil to be made,” she explains.
Temple Emanu-El’s calendar of events is available online at TempleEmanu-El.org.