Since it’s Hanukkah time and my sister in law is Jewish, I decided it was time to deepen my knowledge of the holiday. The holiday with the most different spellings I have ever seen. Happy Hanukkah, here’s what I found out;
1 ) Spinning the dreidel was originally done by students illegally studying torah . When Greek soldiers would make a surprise raid , students would whip out a dreidel pretending to play a gambling game .
2 ) The war of the Maccabees was the first ideological war, fought by a small band of pious Talmudic scholars who engaged in cunning stealth warfare. ( In Israel you can visit the caves they hid in )
3 ) Hanukkah is celebrated 8 days even though the miracle of the oil was only 7 ( the first day’s lighting shouldn’t count – it’s natural ) to teach us that everything in the “natural” world is really a miracle caused by God .
4 ) Hanukkah is not the Jewish Christmas. There is no significance to giving gifts during the holiday. But there is a tradition to give gelt ( money ) to give kids an incentive to learn torah . ( Hanukkah also comes from the word “Hinuch,” education. )
5 ) Around 17.5 million oily doughnuts ( sufganiyot ) are eaten in Israel during Hanukkah , commemorating the miracle of oil . ( Not a good time to start a diet! )