The Story of Chanukah in Brief

The Story of Chanukah in Brief


During the time of the 2nd Temple, the Holy Land was ruled by cruel Greeks. They robbed the Jews of their property, and set up idols in the Beit HaMikdash. No one could stand up against them, till Mattityahu and his sons rose up and drove them from the land. The Chanukah lights remind us of the great miracle that a small band of Jews defeated the mighty Greek armies.


The Greeks were philosophers. They accepted the Torah as a book of wisdom, but not as something holy that connects us to Hashem. In the end, they made Torah learning illegal, and outlawed Mitzvot like Shabbat, Rosh Chodesh, Brit Milah, and the holiness of Jewish marriage. The Maccabees risked their lives to keep Torah alive! That’s why they won!


An even greater miracle than defeating the Greek armies was the miracle of the oil. The Greeks had made all the oil in the Beit HaMikdash impure. Miraculously, the Maccabees found one jar that had been overlooked. But it only had enough oil for one day. So great was their love of G‑d, that they lit it anyway! Hashem made another miracle, and the oil burned for eight days! Everyone could see that the Shechinah dwelt with the Jews.


With tremendous joy, the Jews cleansed the Beit HaMikdash and began to serve Hashem once again! Nowadays, we have to draw on that joy, because the darkness has grown very great! That's why we make Chanukah parties, with dreidels, latkes, and Chanukah gelt. Joy has the power to overcome any negative thing, and break any evil decree!


Every day of Chanukah we add another candle till all eight candles of the Menorah are ablaze. By adding a candle every night for 8 days, we charge ourselves up with light, so that we will constantly be adding in Torah and Mitzvot (which are compared to light), throughout all the days of the year to come.


The light of the Chanukah candles is holy, like the light of the Menorah in the Beit HaMikdash. We are careful not to use it for any purpose — our Mitzvah is just to look at the candles and listen to the story that they tell.


The miracle of Chanukah occurred in a dark time when there were wicked decrees against the Jews. But the Maccabees had courage and never lost hope. Their mesirut nefesh (self sacrifice) turned the darkness into light! Today too, our mesirut nefesh for Torah and Mitzvot will light up the world and bring Moshiach Now!

Originally published in The Moshiach Times, a high quality children's magazine, published by Tzivos Hashem. Click here to subscribe.
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Anonymous February 8, 2016

were the jews being influenced by the greeks before the2nd temple was destroyed?? Reply

Bumbum December 1, 2015

Amazin Reply

Miss Vasey UK November 8, 2012

Everyones so off topic Wonderful story, really helped me to explain the story to my class of 5 year olds.

Sad that everyone is so off topic debating someone they don't know religious choices. Reply

Anonymous NY, NY December 9, 2011

mom is Jewish If your mom is Jewish than according to Jewish law so are you! This is a very special thing! Jewish law doesn't change this fact ever. A person can become a Jew but no matter what a person says or does in thier lifetime if there mom is Jewish a Jew is what they will be. Enjoy! Reply

Anonymous Simonstone, UK March 24, 2011

Bossy You are what you want to be - mainly because you are fortunate enough to live in a free country. Reply

Anonymous az, usa December 8, 2010

true I think thats right. You are 100% Jewish - not Christian... Reply

Anonymous LA, CA via November 15, 2010

what!? If your mother is Jewish you are 100% jewish not Christian!!!!!!!!!!!! Reply

anonymous, age 13 ******** December 20, 2009

thanks i had to write an article for school, and i chose to write it on the story of hanukkah. my mom is jewish, although i am a christian. however, i am very proud of my jewish heritage and i relish any opportunity to share my knowledge with others. although my family celebrates Hanukkah every year and i know the story, i was lacking the details to write the article. however, this site truly helped me. in addition to writing an article i think will interest and inform many others, i learned even more about my heritage. thanks again! :) Reply

brachi ottawa, canada via December 19, 2009

your stoires are amazing i love your stoires they are the best stoires i have ever read Reply