Hanukah is the story of the power of good over evil and light over dark. It is a celebration of 8 days and it is a celebration of oil. It is based upon events in 175 B.C.E., when King Antiochus of the Greek Empire ordered Jews to give up the practice of Judaism and become civilised Greeks and whereby the Holy Temple of Jerusalem was being used for idolatry. The Temple was defended by the Hashmonites, a particular family in the town of Modi’in who were called the Maccabees. The miracle of the story is that even though there was only enough oil for 1 day for burning the eternal flame of the oil lamp of the temple, it actually lasted for 8 days, until finally relief came.

The Sun and the Moon

Hanukah is celebrated at the period of double darkness. It takes place during the transition point of the darkest period of the year, at the time of the winter solstice when the nights are longest.

It also occurs during the darkest phase of the moon, beginning on the 25th of the month of Kislev in the Jewish calendar when the moon is waning in its last phase of darkness and when there is no light in the night sky, and it ends on the second day of the month of Tevet, as the new moon begins to wax: the beginning of light in darkness.


The word ‘Hanukah’ means renewal from the word hanu and it celebrates the days leading up to the 8th day, which, as we saw in (see hyperlink 5,50,500 and the 8 and the circumcision) the number 8 is related to ‘50’, the jubilee, the number for renewal and of rebirth.

If we look at the word Hanukah חנוכה spelt chet-nun-vav-caph-heh = 8-50-6-20-5 we see that there are two parts: The first part - the 8 and the 50 - are linked through the vav, which, as in the case of the letter aleph א, (see hyperlink 1,10,100,1000 26 and 13) is a ‘hook’ to the 20 and the 5, which add up to 25. Hence from the word Hanukah it can be seen that the 8 days of defending the Temple during Hanukah leads to renewal and rebirth of the 50 through the 25 i.e. the 25th of Kislev on which the first day of Hanukah is celebrated: So Hanukah means renewal (Hanu) of the 25th (caph-heh).

The Oil

As noted previously in the story of Jacob’s ladder (See hyperlink Jacob’s ladder) oil, shemen שמן in Hebrew, spelt shin-mem-nun has a numerical value of 300-40-50=390. It is the same numerical value as heaven, שמים shamayim, spelt shin-mem-yod-mem 300-40-10-40=390. Similarly shemen שמן is related to the word shemoneh שמונה meaning ‘eight’ and which carries the same root letters shin-mem-nun שמן. (Note that the letter nun may be written נ or ן depending whether it comes at the end of a word or not).

Moreover the Temple was defended by the Hashmonites or the Hashmonaim השמנאים in Hebrew spelt heh-shin-mem-nun-aleph-yod-mem, which has the same root as the word for ‘eight’ and so Hashmonites means ‘the people of the eight’. So here we see a complete linkage between the name of the people who defended the Temple, the eight days that the holy oil lamp of the temple was kept alight, the oil used to fuel the lamp and Heaven. This can further be extrapolated to the circumcision that takes place on the eighth day and relates to ‘a covenant between man and God’ (See hyperlink the 8 and the circumcision)). In the case of Hanukah, the Hashmonites or ‘the people of the eight’, by defending the Temple and keeping the holy lamp alight with Oil were taking the Jewish people out of the depth of darkness and into light thereby renewing the covenant between the Jewish People and Heaven (God).

The Maccabees and the Hashmonites

The Maccabees is the name of the clan to whom the family of Hashmonites belonged. Maccabee מכבי is spelt mem-caph-beth-yod = 40-20-2-10 = 72. The number 72 is the sacred value for all the different names of God upon which He may be called and whereby each name has a different and specific power. In the case of Hanukah and the Maccabees, the inference is that Power of God came in 72 forms in order to defend the temple.

So serious was the situation that every force possible had to be brought into play in order to eradicate evil from the Temple – the heart of the Jewish people – before the negative forces generated sufficient power to eradicate the Jewish race off the face of the earth through assimilation. Indeed the Jewish race was in danger of social annihilation. Already the Rabbis’ daughters were being married off to Greek high officials and to high standing personages. Synagogues were beautifully built during the Hellenistic period to incorporate Greek gods and pagan symbolism. Greek had become the langua franca. Art and architecture were both influenced by the dominant Greek culture.

The People of the Eight defended the Temple through invoking the 72 powers of God and prevented the annihilation of the Jewish people.

We therefore see the celebration of Hanukah not only as a celebration of the miraculous defence of the temple against idolatry and keeping the temple oil lamp burning, but a celebration of renewal and of light, whereby, with the increasing light of the new moon so the temple is restored on the eighth day.

The celebration over eight days with the progressively increasing number of candles for each day represents the progressive increase of light toward the 8th day, to the next world, the day of the coming of the Messiah and the celebration of heaven coming to earth. It is achieved, not only through to six days of creation and the seventh day of rest, but – as the Hanukah song infers- through the generations of the Jews and the trials that they have been subjected to over the generations – yet have survived.


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