Rex Barker here with a Happy Chanuka to all of our Jewish members. Chanuka begins Sunday evening at sundown and lasts for the next eight days. A mystical message of the holiday which all can benefit from is that: It only takes a little bit of light to dispel a lot of darkness...
Chanukah, the Festival of Lights, is observed for eight days, beginning on the evening of the 25th day of the Hebrew month of Kislev. This year, (2008), Chanukah starts at sundown, Sunday, December 21, and lasts for eight days thru Monday, December 29, Chanukah is a holiday of renewed dedication, faith, hope and spiritual light. It's a holiday that says: "Never lose hope."
Chanukah commemorates the victory, thru divine miracles, of a small band of Jewish Macabees from the family of the High Priest of the Temple, over the pagan Syrian-Greeks who ruled over Judah/Israel some 2200+ years ago.
Long ago in the land of Judea there was a Syrian king, Antiochus. The king ordered the Jewish people to reject their God, their religion, their customs and their beliefs and to worship the Greek gods, including defiling the holy Temple in Jerusalem with idolatrous statues, There were some who did as they were told, but most refused. One who refused was Judah Maccabee.
Judah and his four brothers, the grandchildren of The Temple High Priest, formed, an army and chose as their name the word "Maccabee", which means hammer. After three years of fighting, the Maccabees were finally successful in driving the Syrians Greeks out of Israel and reclaimed the Temple in Jerusalem. The Maccabees wanted to purify the Temple and to remove the hated Greek symbols and statues. On the 25th day of the month of Kislev, the job was finished and the temple was rededicated. One of Chanukas meanings in Rededication.
When Judah and his followers finished cleaning the temple, they wanted to light the eternal light, known as the N'er Tamid, which is present in every Jewish house of worship. Once lit, the oil lamp should never be extinguished. Only a tiny jug of oil was found with only enough for a single day. The oil lamp was filled and lit. Then a miracle occurred as the tiny amount of oil stayed lit not for one day, but for eight days, which was the required time to have new oil purified.
Chanukah is also called "The Festival of Lights" referring to the flames kindled on each night of the menorah an eight branched candelabra. It is also called "The Festival of Light" as Chanukah is the victory of the forces of "light" - which include faith and loyalty to God and the Jewish tradition and the will to fight for these beliefs - over the forces of "darkness," represented by the pagan lifestyle of the ancient Syrian-Greeks.
This is Rex Barker reminding all of you, regardless of your background that It only takes a little bit of light to dispel a lot of darkness.