Every child in Israel eagerly awaits Hanukkah—and so do adults! How can anyone pass up a sufganiah—a soft, warm, jelly-filled donut? These donuts, traditional Hanukkah treats, are fried in oil in remembrance of how the Lord provided enough consecrated oil to keep the light shining in the Temple after it was recaptured from our enemies.
If you stroll down the streets in Israel during the Hanukkah season, you’ll see a hanukkiah—a nine-branched candelabra—in the window of virtually every home. These sparks of light, shining during the darkest time of the year, remind everyone of the miracle that took place in the Temple.
Although the Temple is no longer standing, Israelis (and Jews around the world) light the hanukkiah to remember its importance. The glowing candles are a symbol of freedom and protection from the foes that threatened the Jewish people. Nowadays, beset by physical threats from neighboring countries and biased attacks from the global media, Israelis sense a special kinship with the freedom fighters of old.
As believers in Messiah, Hanukkah reminds us that Jesus, the Light of the World, walked and taught in the Temple, preaching salvation and spiritual freedom. Celebrating Hanukkah as believers thus adds a special dimension to the holiday. Retelling the Hanukkah story, singing the traditional songs and playing games creates warm memories as we remember the Light of the World, the Giver of salvation and the One who protects and provides for our families.
During Hanukkah, children take turns lighting the candles on the hanukkiah, and parents reflect on the freedom and protection given by God. We thank the Lord for His salvation!
- Response to Modernity by Michael Meyer
- “Hanukkah, American Style” www.myjewishlearning.com