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Monday, December 30, 2019

Halachic Times (Zmanim)
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Chanukah Day 8
Jewish History

On the 25th of Kislev in the year 3622 from creation, the Maccabees liberated the Holy Temple in Jerusalem, after defeating the vastly more numerous and powerful armies of the Syrian-Greek king Antiochus IV, who had tried to forcefully uproot the beliefs and practices of Judaism from the people of Israel. The victorious Jews repaired, cleansed and rededicated the Temple to the service of G-d. But all the Temple's oil had been defiled by the pagan invaders; when the Jews sought to light the Temple's menorah (candelabra), they found only one small cruse of ritually pure olive oil. Miraculously, the one-day supply burned for eight days, until new, pure oil could be obtained. In commemoration, the Sages instituted the 8-day festival of Chanukah, on which lights are kindled nightly to recall and publicize the miracle.

Link: The Story of Chanukah

Laws and Customs

The eighth day of Chanukah is also known as Zot Chanukah (lit., "this is Chanukah"), after a key phrase in the special Chanukah Torah reading for this day (Numbers 7:54-8:4). For the deeper significance of this name, see link to "Accumulating Lights" below.

In the Jewish calendar, the day begins at nightfall; thus, the last kindling of the Chanukah lights is held on the evening preceding the 8th day of Chanukah, when eight lights are lit (see "Laws & Customs" for yesterday's date). The festival of Chanukah concludes at nightfall this evening.

It is customary, however, to light candles during the daytime as well, in synagogues, in public spaces, and at gatherings held in honor of the festival. These lightings are done without recitation of the blessings as they do not constitute an observance of the mitzvah of kindling the Chanukah lights.

Daily Thought

Within every love, there is fear: The fear of separation from that which you love.

A child fears separation from her parents, a lover from his beloved, the body fears separation from the soul, and the soul from its Source Above.

So what do you love? Look at your worries and you will know. If you seethe in worry over your debts and financial future, then it is the material world you love—because you believe in the material world and you see it as the source of all good.

If you sit and fret over the comments of others and the glances they throw at you, then it is social acceptance that you love, that you have made into your god.

Cleave to the Source of Life and your heart will have no room for fear of this world.