Chanukah Education: The Festival Of Lights Begins
By Rabbi Moishe Kievman - Chabad Chayil
December 7, 2023
Chanukah is known for the miracle of the Menorah that took place in the Temple, but the holiday was called Chanukah from the word Chanukat Habayit (lit Dedication of House), because it was the rededication of the Temple, after being occupied by the Greeks. Chanukah also comes from the word Chinuch, which means education. During this holiday we are supposed to gather our families together and educate our children and ourselves, about the miracles done for us on a constant basis. Together with recalling the original Chanukah miracles, we remind our families about the personal family stories that we each have, that brought us to where we are today.
Chanukah (Hanukkah or Hanuka), which is also known as the Festival of Lights, begins this year on the evening of Thursday, December 7th, 2023, and concludes 8 days after, on the evening of Thursday, December 14th, 2023. It recalls the victory of a militarily weak Jewish people who defeated the Syrian Greeks who had overrun ancient Israel and sought to impose restrictions on the Jewish way of life and prohibit religious freedom. They also desecrated and defiled the Temple and the oils prepared for the lighting of the Menorah, which was part of the daily service. Upon recapturing the Temple only one jar of undefiled oil was found, enough to burn only one day, but it lasted miraculously for eight. In commemoration, Jews celebrate Chanukah for eight days by lighting an eight-branched candelabrum known as a Menorah (the 9th branch is to help light the other 8). Today, people of all faiths consider the holiday a symbol and message of the triumph of freedom over oppression, of spirit over matter, of light over darkness. Additional information about the holiday is available at: www.ChabadChayil.org/Holidays
This year’s Menorah lighting is done with the recognition of the crucial need for a message of hope during a time that is so difficult for the people in Israel. The Menorah serves as a symbol of light and hope for us today amidst the world's craziness, as it did for generations before us. The flames of the Menorah shine out into the night, reminding us that even when confronted with much darkness, a tiny light can dispel it all. Each additional act of goodness and kindness, fills that corner of the world with light, slowly catching on and spreading like wildfire. One act of goodness and kindness can make all the difference.
Uniquely, at the core of Chanuka’s observance is sharing the light with others who may not be experiencing it. What better time or place to celebrate, than at this year's 20th Annual Street Fair celebration in Highland Lakes! The FREE family-friendly event will this year take place on Sunday, December 10th, 2023/5784 beginning at 3:00 p.m. with pony rides, a petting zoo, an Obstacle Course, Laser Tag, Bounce House and other fun activities. This year's Street Fair will also feature an airplane flying overhead, dropping chocolate gelt for all participants. The day will be tipped off with a Siyum Sefer Torah Ceremony, where a brand Torah Scroll will be brought in from Israel and completed at the actual fair, leading into traditional dancing with the Torahs, the Menorah Lighting and a Complimentary BBQ Dinner. There will also be a food court, holiday boutique, with music and lots of surprises throughout the day. As a family man who is deeply involved in the community, I must say that there is no better way to spend that Sunday. Adults and children alike, are welcomed to join the many dignitaries and community leaders for an enjoyable and a meaningfully fun time for everyone.
Throughout the State of Florida, the Chabad will be organizing scores of giant Menorah displays of all sorts, including a grand celebration with the Miami Heat on December 14th, a huge concert at Hard Rock and scores of others. To find a local event here in Florida, or anywhere throughout the world, visit Chabad’s International Chanukah Event Directory or the Jewish Community’s Local Directory at: www.JewishFlorida.news/events
This year, Chabad-organized Menorah parades will see over 7,000 Chanukah Menorah-topped cars hit the road, bringing the Chanukah message of hope and joy through the city and into residential neighborhoods, allowing families to safely share the joy and light of Chanukah with pride. Chabad centers worldwide have prepared over 32 million Chanukah candles, more than 700,000 Menorah kits and 2.5 million holiday guides in 17 languages.
Large display Menorahs are available at many online sources and can still get to you in time for the holiday. If you need a Menorah or candles for yourself, or need any help celebrating the holiday or finding a large Menorah to display at your place of work, please call your local Chabad or my office at: (305) 770-1919. My favorites are the new LED ones available at: https://bit.ly/lightupmenorah - We can also help you plan your own Chanukah Event, Menorah Lighting or Latke Party.
We hope and pray for an end to all violence in the world, the return of all hostages and the eradication of all evil. We know that at the end goodness and light will prevail, and that even though we are outnumbered, righteousness will endure.
We wish you and your family a very Happy Chaunkah. May our days be filled with light, warmth, joy, positive energy and always increasing, just like the Menorah lights that increase with each day!
To join us for the Annual Beautiful Chanukah Event or help cover the cost, call: (305) 770-19193. Or visit: www.ChabadChayil.org/events - To learn about the new Chabad Educational Center or the available dedications visit: www.ChabadChayil.org/Build
About The Author
Rabbi Kievman together with his wife are the ambassadors of The Rebbe to Highland Lakes, FL. They are the founders of CHAP - an afterschool program for Jewish children in Public Schools and direct Chabad Chayil. He’s the Rabbi at The Family Shul and can be reached at: (305) 770-1919. Or: Rabbi@ChabadChayil.org.