Chanukah - the other Sukkot
1 א

Part 1. Where did the name of the festival come from?

Chanukah Gemara completed by c. 500 CE

2 ב

מאי חנוכה דתנו רבנן בכ"ה בכסליו יומי דחנוכה תמניא אינון דלא למספד בהון ודלא להתענות בהון שכשנכנסו יוונים להיכל טמאו כל השמנים שבהיכל וכשגברה מלכות בית חשמונאי ונצחום בדקו ולא מצאו אלא פך אחד של שמן שהיה מונח בחותמו של כהן גדול ולא היה בו אלא להדליק יום אחד נעשה בו נס והדליקו ממנו שמונה ימים לשנה אחרת קבעום ועשאום ימים טובים בהלל והודאה תנן התם גץ היוצא מתחת הפטיש ויצא

What is Chanukkah, that our Sages taught: On the 25th of Kislev - the days of Chanukkah, they are eight, not to eulogize on them and not to fast on them? When the Greeks entered the Temple, they polluted all the oils in the Temple, and when the Hasmonean dynasty overcame and defeated them, they checked and they found but one cruse of oil that was set in place with the seal of the High Priest, but there was in it only [enough] to light a single day. A miracle was done with it, and they lit from it for eight days. The following year [the Sages] fixed those [days], making them holidays for praise and thanksgiving.

3 ג

(ו) הקונה שתי אילנות בתוך של חברו. מביא ואינו קורא. רבי מאיר אומר מביא וקורא. יבש המעין. נקצץ האילן. מביא ואינו קורא. רבי יהודה אומר מביא וקורא. מעצרת ועד החג מביא וקורא. מן החג ועד חנוכה. מביא ואינו קורא.

(6) One who buys two trees in [the field] of a fellow, brings but does not recite the Biblical Passage. Rabbi Meir says, one brings and recites. If the spring dried or the tree was chopped, one brings but does not recite. Rabbi Judah says, one brings and recites. From Atseret until Sukkot, one brings and recites. From Sukkot until Hanukkah, one brings but does not recite.

4 ד

(ד) ראש חדש אדר שחל להיות בשבת. קורין בפרשת שקלים. חל להיות בתוך השבת. מקדימין לשעבר. ומפסיקין לשבת אחרת. בשניה זכור. בשלישית פרה אדומה. ברביעית החדש הזה לכם. בחמישית חוזרין לכסדרן. לכל מפסיקין. בראשי חדשים. בחנוכה. ובפורים. בתעניות ובמעמדות. וביום הכפורים:

) בחנוכה בנשיאים. בפורים ויבא עמלק. בראשי חדשים. ובראשי חדשיכם. במעמדות. במעשה בראשית. בתעניות. ברכות וקללות. אין מפסיקין בקללות. אלא אחר קורא את כולן. בשני ובחמישי ובשבת במנחה קורין כסדרן. ואין עולין להם מן החשבון. שנאמר (ויקרא כג, מד) וידבר משה את מועדי ה' אל בני ישראל. מצותן שיהו קורין כל אחד ואחד בזמנו:

(4) When the new moon of Adar happens on a Sabbath, the section Shekalim (Exod. 30:11), is to be read; if it happen on any other day, that section must he read on the preceding Sabbath, and nothing additional is read on the following Sabbath. On the second, the section ‏of Zachor (Deut. 15:14), is to be read; on the third, that of the red heifer, ‏ Parah (Num. 19); on the fourth, that of ‏Hachodesh (Exod. 17); on the fifth, they return again to the regular order. The regular order [of parashot] is also interrupted on Rosh Chodesh, on Chanukah, on Purim, on fasts, and on Yom Kippur.

.

(6) On Hanukkah, the section of the offerings of the princes (Num. 7) must be read; on Purim, that of ‏Vayavoh Amalek, "Amalek arose," (Exod. 9:8); on Rosh Chodesh, ‏ Uverashei Chodshaichem, "And the firsts of the months,"‎ (Num. 18:11); on the fast-days for the standing men, Ma'aseh V'reishit, "In the beginning" (Gen. 1); on fast-days, B'rachot uk'lalim, "Blessings and curses." (Lev. 26:3). The curses must be read without interruption, namely, one person must read the whole [chapter]. On Mondays and Thursdays, and on the Sabbath afternoon, they shall read the section of the law in its regular order, but these readings are not available to reduce the regular number: for it is said, Lev.23:44, "Moses declared unto the children of Israel the appointed festivals of the Lord," whence it is inferred, that each section must be read on the appointed festival to which it refers.

5 ה

(י) אין גוזרין תענית על הצבור בראש חודש בחנוכה ובפורים. ואם התחילו אין מפסיקין דברי רבן גמליאל

(10) Public fasts are not to be ordered to take place on the feast of new moon, nor on that of Chanukah and of lots [pureem]; but if the fast has been already commenced thereon, it need not be broken. Such is the opinion of Rabbon Gamaliel.

6 ו

Other mentions in Mishna: Rosh Hashanah 1:3, Moed Katan 3:9, Bava Kama 6.6

7 ז

"Lights"

8 ח

Josephus: Antiquities of the Jews 7: 323-326 [93-93 CE]

Now Judas celebrated the festival of the restoration of the sacrifices of the temple for eight days; and omitted no sort of pleasures thereon: but he feasted them upon very rich and splendid sacrifices; and he honored God, and delighted them, by hymns and psalms. Nay, they were so very glad at the revival of their customs, when after a long time of intermission, they unexpectedly had regained the freedom of their worship, that they made it a law for their posterity, that they should keep a festival, on account of the restoration of their temple worship, for eight days. And from that time to this we celebrate this festival, and call it 'Lights'. I suppose the reason was, because this liberty beyond our hopes appeared to us; and that thence was the name given to that festival.[5]

9 ט

"Sukkot in Kislev"

  1. First Book of Maccabees - by Jewish author: written in Judea, the author opposed the Hellenizers - historical viewpoint - no mention of Gd or Divine Intervention
  2. War lasted from 175 BCE (rise of Antiochus) -135 BCE (Death of Simon Maccabee)
  3. Some historians say the book written soon after death of Simon, but before second book (i.e. not later than 100 BCE)
  4. The original Hebrew is lost and the most important surviving version is the Greek translation contained in the Septuagint.
10 י

ויצווה יהודה ואחיו וכל קהל ישראל לחוג את חנוכת המזבח ביום החמישה ועשרים לחדש כסלו שמונת ימים מדי שנה בשנה בהלל ובתודה לה'.

(57) And Yehudah, his brothers and all the community of Israel commanded to celebrate the dedication of the altar on the twenty-fifth day of month of Kislev, eight days each year, with praise and thanksgiving to the Lord.

11 יא

The 2nd Book of Macabees 10:5-9

written possibly in Alexandria anywhere from 100 BCE to 50 CE in Greek - more theological viewpoint (written after first book)

It happened that on the same day on which the sanctuary had been profaned by the foreigners (three years earlier), the purification of the sanctuary took place, that is, on the twenty-fifth day of the same month, which was Kislev.

They celebrated it for eight days with rejoicing, like the Festival of Sukkot...

(...since the Jews were still in caves fighting as guerrillas on Tishrei, 164 BCE, they could not properly honor the eight-day holiday of Sukkot (and Shemini Atzeret), which is a Temple holiday; hence it was postponed until after the recapture of Jerusalem and the purification of the Temple...)

….and they carried willow branches (Aravot) and also fronds of palm (kapot temarim), they offered hymns of thanksgiving to Gd who had given them strength and salvation in being able to purify His own holy place. They decreed by public edict, ratified by vote, that the whole nation of the Jews should observe these days every year

12 יב

2. Connection between Sukkot and the 25th Kislev?

13 יג

Haggai Prophecy 1

14 יד

(א) בַּשְּׁבִיעִ֕י בְּעֶשְׂרִ֥ים וְאֶחָ֖ד לַחֹ֑דֶשׁ הָיָה֙ דְּבַר־ה' בְּיַד־חַגַּ֥י הַנָּבִ֖יא לֵאמֹֽר׃ (ב) אֱמָר־נָ֗א אֶל־זְרֻבָּבֶ֤ל בֶּן־שַׁלְתִּיאֵל֙ פַּחַ֣ת יְהוּדָ֔ה וְאֶל־יְהוֹשֻׁ֥עַ בֶּן־יְהוֹצָדָ֖ק הַכֹּהֵ֣ן הַגָּד֑וֹל וְאֶל־שְׁאֵרִ֥ית הָעָ֖ם לֵאמֹֽר׃ מְעַ֣ט הִ֑יא וַאֲנִ֗י מַרְעִישׁ֙ אֶת־הַשָּׁמַ֣יִם וְאֶת־הָאָ֔רֶץ וְאֶת־הַיָּ֖ם וְאֶת־הֶחָרָבָֽה׃ (ז) וְהִרְעַשְׁתִּי֙ אֶת־כָּל־הַגּוֹיִ֔ם וּבָ֖אוּ חֶמְדַּ֣ת כָּל־הַגּוֹיִ֑ם וּמִלֵּאתִ֞י אֶת־הַבַּ֤יִת הַזֶּה֙ כָּב֔וֹד אָמַ֖ר ה' צְבָאֽוֹת׃

(1) on the twenty-first day of the seventh month (i.e. during Sukkot), the word of the LORD came through the prophet Haggai: (2) Speak to Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel, the governor of Judah, and to the high priest Joshua son of Jehozadak, and to the rest of the people...For thus said the LORD of Hosts: In just a little while longer I will shake the heavens and the earth, the sea and the dry land; (7) I will shake all the nations. And the precious things of all the nations shall come [here], and I will fill this House with glory, said the LORD of Hosts.

15 טו

Haggai Prophecy 2

16 טז

(י) בְּעֶשְׂרִ֤ים וְאַרְבָּעָה֙ לַתְּשִׁיעִ֔י בִּשְׁנַ֥ת שְׁתַּ֖יִם לְדָרְיָ֑וֶשׁ הָיָה֙ דְּבַר־ה' אֶל־חַגַּ֥י הַנָּבִ֖יא לֵאמֹֽר׃ (יח) שִׂימוּ־נָ֣א לְבַבְכֶ֔ם מִן־הַיּ֥וֹם הַזֶּ֖ה וָמָ֑עְלָה מִיּוֹם֩ עֶשְׂרִ֨ים וְאַרְבָּעָ֜ה לַתְּשִׁיעִ֗י לְמִן־הַיּ֛וֹם אֲשֶׁר־יֻסַּ֥ד הֵֽיכַל־ה' שִׂ֥ימוּ לְבַבְכֶֽם׃

(10) On the twenty-fourth day of the ninth [month], in the second year of Darius, the word of the LORD came to the prophet Haggai...

(18) Take note, from this day forward—from the twenty-fourth day of the ninth month, from the day when the foundation was laid for the LORD’s Temple—take note!

17 יז

King Solomon's Dedication speech for the first Beit Hamikdash

18 יח

(א) אָ֣ז יַקְהֵ֣ל שְׁלֹמֹ֣ה אֶת־זִקְנֵ֣י יִשְׂרָאֵ֡ל אֶת־כָּל־רָאשֵׁ֣י הַמַּטּוֹת֩ נְשִׂיאֵ֨י הָאָב֜וֹת לִבְנֵ֧י יִשְׂרָאֵ֛ל אֶל־הַמֶּ֥לֶךְ שְׁלֹמֹ֖ה יְרוּשָׁלִָ֑ם לְֽהַעֲל֞וֹת אֶת־אֲר֧וֹן בְּרִית־ה' מֵעִ֥יר דָּוִ֖ד הִ֥יא צִיּֽוֹן׃ (ב) וַיִּקָּ֨הֲל֜וּ אֶל־הַמֶּ֤לֶךְ שְׁלֹמֹה֙ כָּל־אִ֣ישׁ יִשְׂרָאֵ֔ל בְּיֶ֥רַח הָאֵֽתָנִ֖ים בֶּחָ֑ג ה֖וּא הַחֹ֥דֶשׁ הַשְּׁבִיעִֽי׃ (סה) וַיַּ֣עַשׂ שְׁלֹמֹ֣ה בָֽעֵת־הַהִ֣יא ׀ אֶת־הֶחָ֡ג וְכָל־יִשְׂרָאֵ֣ל עִמּוֹ֩ קָהָ֨ל גָּד֜וֹל מִלְּב֥וֹא חֲמָ֣ת ׀ עַד־נַ֣חַל מִצְרַ֗יִם לִפְנֵי֙ ה' אֱלֹקֵ֔ינוּ שִׁבְעַ֥ת יָמִ֖ים וְשִׁבְעַ֣ת יָמִ֑ים אַרְבָּעָ֥ה עָשָׂ֖ר יֽוֹם׃ (סו) בַּיּ֤וֹם הַשְּׁמִינִי֙ שִׁלַּ֣ח אֶת־הָעָ֔ם וַֽיְבָרֲכ֖וּ אֶת־הַמֶּ֑לֶךְ וַיֵּלְכ֣וּ לְאָהֳלֵיהֶ֗ם שְׂמֵחִים֙ וְט֣וֹבֵי לֵ֔ב עַ֣ל כָּל־הַטּוֹבָ֗ה אֲשֶׁ֨ר עָשָׂ֤ה ה' לְדָוִ֣ד עַבְדּ֔וֹ וּלְיִשְׂרָאֵ֖ל עַמּֽוֹ׃

Haftorah for Shmini Atzeret

(1) Then Solomon convoked the elders of Israel—all the heads of the tribes and the ancestral chieftains of the Israelites—before King Solomon in Jerusalem, to bring up the Ark of the Covenant of the LORD from the City of David, that is, Zion. (2) All the men of Israel gathered before King Solomon at the Feast, in the month of Ethanim—that is, the seventh month.

(65) So Solomon and all Israel with him—a great assemblage, [coming] from

Lebo-hamath to the Wadi of Egypt—observed the Feast at that time before the LORD our God, seven days and again seven days, fourteen days in all. (66) On the eighth day he let the people go. They bade the king good-bye and went to their homes, joyful and glad of heart over all the goodness that the LORD had shown to His servant David and His people Israel.

19 יט
  • The establishment of Chanukah by the Hasmoneans served not only to celebrate the purification of the temple and the Hasmonean victory, but also to justify their position as the legitimate leaders, even of diaspora Jewry.
  • The Hasmoneans did not replace Sukkot, nor did they attempt to commandeer a popular biblical holiday. Rather, they used an existing Jewish date - 25th Kislev - that was not central in Jewish worship but already had associations with temple dedication to create a new temple festival that could be celebrated outside the temple - even in the disapora.
20 כ

Midrash Chanukah

According to a Midrash the Greeks issued a decree forbidding the Jews to observe the Sukkot festival, and they were unable to bring the sacrificial offerings of Sukkot in the Beit Hamikdash. Hence, Hashem said, “You wanted to abolish the eight days of Sukkot; I will therefore give them an additional festive period of eight days — Chanukah.”

(מדרש חנוכה ח"א קל"ד, א. סדר הדורות ג"א תרכ"ב, וערוך השלחן עת"ר סעי' ה)

21 כא

Zechariah - the Menorah uses oil - is this thebasis for miracle of oil used by Chazal?

Haftorah for Shabbat Chanukah

22 כב

(א) וַיָּ֕שָׁב הַמַּלְאָ֖ךְ הַדֹּבֵ֣ר בִּ֑י וַיְעִירֵ֕נִי כְּאִ֖ישׁ אֲשֶׁר־יֵע֥וֹר מִשְּׁנָתֽוֹ

(ב) וַיֹּ֣אמֶר אֵלַ֔י מָ֥ה אַתָּ֖ה רֹאֶ֑ה ויאמר [וָאֹמַ֡ר] רָאִ֣יתִי ׀ וְהִנֵּ֣ה מְנוֹרַת֩ זָהָ֨ב כֻּלָּ֜הּ וְגֻלָּ֣הּ עַל־רֹאשָׁ֗הּ וְשִׁבְעָ֤ה נֵרֹתֶ֙יהָ֙ עָלֶ֔יהָ שִׁבְעָ֤ה וְשִׁבְעָה֙ מֽוּצָק֔וֹת לַנֵּר֖וֹת אֲשֶׁ֥ר עַל־רֹאשָֽׁהּ׃ (ג) וּשְׁנַ֥יִם זֵיתִ֖ים עָלֶ֑יהָ אֶחָד֙ מִימִ֣ין הַגֻּלָּ֔ה וְאֶחָ֖ד עַל־שְׂמֹאלָֽהּ׃

(יב) וָאַ֣עַן שֵׁנִ֔ית וָאֹמַ֖ר אֵלָ֑יו מַה־שְׁתֵּ֞י שִׁבֲּלֵ֣י הַזֵּיתִ֗ים אֲשֶׁר֙ בְּיַ֗ד שְׁנֵי֙ צַנְתְּר֣וֹת הַזָּהָ֔ב הַֽמְרִיקִ֥ים מֵעֲלֵיהֶ֖ם הַזָּהָֽב׃

(1) The angel who talked with me came back and woke me as a man is wakened from sleep.

(2) He said to me, “What do you see?” And I answered, “I see a lampstand all of gold, with a bowl above it (with oil and wicks). The lamps on it are seven in number, and the lamps above it have seven pipes;

[Rashi - 7 tubes to each lamp

Radak - 7 tubes altogether, one per lamp]

(3) and by it are two olive trees, one on the right of the bowl and one on its left.”

(12) And I further asked him, “What are the two tops of the olive trees that feed their gold through those two golden tubes?”

He was told that they represent - the kingship (through Zurabbel, Governer Judah) and the priesthood (through Joshua, the Cohen Gadol)

23 כג

Midrashic, Mishnaic and Talmudic connection between Sukkot and Chanukah

24 כד

מאי חנוכה דתנו רבנן בכ"ה בכסליו יומי דחנוכה תמניא אינון דלא למספד בהון ודלא להתענות בהון שכשנכנסו יוונים להיכל טמאו כל השמנים שבהיכל וכשגברה מלכות בית חשמונאי ונצחום בדקו ולא מצאו אלא פך אחד של שמן שהיה מונח בחותמו של כהן גדול ולא היה בו אלא להדליק יום אחד נעשה בו נס והדליקו ממנו שמונה ימים לשנה אחרת קבעום ועשאום ימים טובים בהלל והודאה תנן התם גץ היוצא מתחת הפטיש ויצא

What is Chanukkah, that our Sages taught: On the 25th of Kislev - the days of Chanukkah, they are eight, not to eulogize on them and not to fast on them? When the Greeks entered the Temple, they polluted all the oils in the Temple, and when the Hasmonean dynasty overcame and defeated them, they checked and they found but one cruse of oil that was set in place with the seal of the High Priest, but there was in it only [enough] to light a single day. A miracle was done with it, and they lit from it for eight days. The following year [the Sages] fixed those [days], making them holidays for praise and thanksgiving.

25 כה
  1. Gemara includes the military victory was unavoidable in order to explain the context of the miracle of the oil.
  2. The writer describes the clash in such a way as to make it clear that the Hasmoneans were on the defensive, and ultimately successfully “prevailed” against the Greeks.
  3. The rabbis did not deny the military victory, but removed it from being the central focus of celebration. They didn't want to glorify military victory in light of later Roman defeat + support of Hasmoneans for Saducees who opposed the Pharisees + no separation of Church and State
  4. They acknowledge the central victory in terms of re-dedicating the Beit Hamikdash by calling the festival "Chanukah"
  5. The rabbis effectively rebranded the holiday so that instead of glorifying Hasmonean military prowess, the holiday instead glorifies the unconditional and miraculous divine light that Jews can depend on, even in the gloomiest of darkness.
  6. The later Al Hanisim prayer also uses the same tactic to promote the spiritual victory over the military one. This first appeared in Rabbi Amrom's Siddur (875 CE)
26 כו

(ב) וּכְשֶׁגָּבְרוּ יִשְׂרָאֵל עַל אוֹיְבֵיהֶם וְאִבְּדוּם בְּכ''ה בְּחֹדֶשׁ כִּסְלֵו הָיָה וְנִכְנְסוּ לַהֵיכָל וְלֹא מָצְאוּ שֶׁמֶן טָהוֹר בַּמִּקְדָּשׁ אֶלָּא פַּךְ אֶחָד וְלֹא הָיָה בּוֹ לְהַדְלִיק אֶלָּא יוֹם אֶחָד בִּלְבַד וְהִדְלִיקוּ מִמֶּנּוּ נֵרוֹת הַמַּעֲרָכָה שְׁמוֹנָה יָמִים עַד שֶׁכָּתְשׁוּ זֵיתִים וְהוֹצִיאוּ שֶׁמֶן טָהוֹר:

(2) When the Jews overcame their enemies and won the military battle on the 25th day of Kislev, they entered the sanctuary of the Temple and found only one flask of pure oil. That flask only contained enough oil to burn for one day but it remained lit for eight full days, until fresh olives were crushed into pure oil.

27 כז

(ג) וּמִפְּנֵי זֶה הִתְקִינוּ חֲכָמִים שֶׁבְּאוֹתוֹ הַדּוֹר שֶׁיִּהְיוּ שְׁמוֹנַת הַיָּמִים הָאֵלּוּ שֶׁתְּחִלָּתָן כ''ה בְּכִסְלֵו יְמֵי שִׂמְחָה וְהַלֵּל וּמַדְלִיקִין בָּהֶן הַנֵּרוֹת בָּעֶרֶב עַל פִּתְחֵי הַבָּתִּים בְּכָל לַיְלָה וְלַיְלָה מִשְּׁמוֹנַת הַלֵּילוֹת לְהַרְאוֹת וּלְגַלּוֹת הַנֵּס. וְיָמִים אֵלּוּ הֵן הַנִּקְרָאִין חֲנֻכָּה וְהֵן אֲסוּרִין בְּהֶסְפֵּד וְתַעֲנִית כִּימֵי הַפּוּרִים. וְהַדְלָקַת הַנֵּרוֹת בָּהֶן מִצְוָה מִדִּבְרֵי סוֹפְרִים כִּקְרִיאַת הַמְּגִלָּה:

(3) Because of this, the Sages of that same generation established that these eight days which begin on the 25th of Kislev [would be] days of joy, and singing-praise, and would light lights on them in the evening at the entrances of their houses every night of the eight nights, to show and reveal the miracle. And these days are called Hanukkah (lit. Dedication), and on then it is forbidden to eulogize, and to fast, like the days of Purim (lit. Lots). And lighting the lights on them is a commandment from the teachings of the Scribes, like Reading the Megillah (lit. Scroll).