Thursday, December 25, 2008

Why celebrate for eight days?


One of the longest-standing questions regarding Chanukah is this: If there was sufficient oil for one night, just not for eight, then there were really only seven nights of the miracle. So why do we light the menorah for eight nights?

R' Yechiel Michel Epstein, in his Aruch haShulchan, cites three popular answers:
1) Each night, only 1/8 of the oil burned.

2) The Syrian Greeks had prevented Jews from performing circumcision, so we celebrate for eight days to hint at circumcision, which is performed on the eighth day of a baby boy's life.

3) When the Chashmonaim recaptured the Beit haMikdash (Temple), they re-dedicated it for the service which the Syrian Greeks had halted. This is what we celebrate on the first day.

(R' Yechiel Michel Epstein, Aruch haShulchan Orach Chaim 670:4)

Have a great day,

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