Tuesday, December 20, 2011


Today is the first day of Hanukkah, a fact I bring up only because of an odd bit of trivia concerning this well know Jewish holiday. The feast of Hanukkah commemorates a miracle that occurred during the revolt of Judas Maccabeus and his brothers against the Syrians. During the fighting, the Syrians captured the Temple and desecrated it using it as a place of worship to the pagan god, Zeus. After the Syrians were driven out of Jerusalem, Judas Maccabeus order the Temple to be cleansed, the altar restored, and the menorah re-lighted. The menorah was supposed to remain burning all through the night, every night. Unfortunately, there was only enough oil remaining for a single night, however, by a miracle, the menorah remained burning for eight nights, giving the Jews enough time to replenish the supply.

Now, the interesting thing about all this, is that, though Hanukkah has been commemorated ever since as a minor feast, the Hebrew Bible does not contain the Books of the Maccabees. The Jews consider those books as part of the Apocrypha. For that matter, the Protestants consider them as Apocryphal books as well. Oddly enough, it is only the Catholic Bible that contains them. Indeed, according to this website, the early Christian Church is to thank that written history of the Maccabees survived at all.

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