Hanukkah Story has its roots in the history over two thousand years ago. Hanukkah Story gives us a glimpse into the celebration of the Jewish festival Hanukkah—Festival of Lights. It us knowledge about Jewish history, customs and traditions of celebrating Hanukkah. Read the Hanukkah Story here.
The Jewish people of Israel (Judea) brought gifts to God. And Antiochus the Fourth, King of Syria desired the gifts offered at the temple. But when Antiochus’ soldiers arrived at the temple the High Priest would not allow them to enter. Hence, he was replaced by Antiochus’s friend called Menelaus and his tyranny increased. His army tore down much of the city walls, burned Jewish homes, and sold many Jews into slavery. He placed a statue of Zeus in the temple and declared that the Jews could not celebrate the Sabbath or study the Torah.
However, when the soldiers arrived in the small village of Modi’in, a Jewish named Mattathias refused to worship the Syrian statue. Mattathias, his sons, and many of the people of Modi’in attacked the soldiers. When Mattathias died his son Judah lead the Jews. As their new leader he was nicknamed as the Maccabee, or ‘hammer’, and his followers came to be known as the Maccabees.
And after many deadly battles, Maccabees won. When the Maccabees returned to Jerusalem they found the temple in ruins. They smashed the remaining Syrian statues and began to rebuild the temple. As they rebuilt the temple they searched for pure oil to relight the ner tamid—light that always burned. They found only one jar of oil to burn for one day. They used this oil to light the ner tamid, but rather than burning for just one day the ner tamid stayed lit for 8 days, enough time to obtain more oil.
Hence, in the month of Kislev, on the twenty-fifth day in 164 to 175 B.C.E., the temple was rededicated to God. The Jews celebrated for 8 days and Judah declared the 8-day holiday as Hanukkah, or ‘dedication’, and that it would be celebrated each year beginning on that day.