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Hanukkah -The miracle of the cruse of oil



On the 25TH of Kislev begin the eight days of Hanukkah. The Jewish people celebrate Chanukah in order to indicate the great victory of the Hasmoneans over the Greeks. After the victory they wanted to light a fire and they went into the second Temple. Once they were there, they found a single cruse of pure oil. Enough to light the Menorah (Hanukkah lamp) for a single day. However, a great miracle occurred, and they lit the menorah with this cruse of oil for eight days 



The miracle recalled in the Babylon Talmud in Masechet Shabbat , speaks of a cruse of oil that burned for eight days instead of one:

מאי חנוכה דתנו רבנן בכ”ה בכסליו יומי דחנוכה תמניא אינון דלא למספד בהון ודלא להתענות בהון שכשנכנסו יוונים להיכל טמאו כל השמנים שבהיכל וכשגברה מלכות בית חשמונאי ונצחום בדקו ולא מצאו אלא פך אחד של שמן שהיה מונח בחותמו של כהן גדול ולא היה בו אלא להדליק יום אחד נעשה בו נס והדליקו ממנו שמונה ימים לשנה אחרת קבעום ועשאום ימים טובים בהלל והודאה..”

“”What is Chanukah? The Rabbis have expounded: Beginning with the 25th of Kislev, eight days of Chanukah are observed, during which no eulogies are delivered, nor is fasting permitted. For when the Greeks entered the Sanctuary, they defiled all the holy oils used for the Menorah in the temple, and when the Hasmonean house prevailed and vanquished them, they searched and found only one remaining jar of oil with the Kohen Gadol’s seal.

Although it contained only enough oil to burn for one day, a miracle occurred, and the oil burned for eight days. A year later they (the Rabbis) designated these days as Yamim Tovim (holidays) on which praise and thanksgiving were to be said.”

Masechet Shabbat 21 page 2



The Sages decreed that eight days beginning with the 25th of Kislev should be days of rejoicing, Hillel (a collection of Psalms expressing special praise) be recited, and that lights be lit in the Hanukkah lamp at the entrance of the house, each of the eight nights, to celebrate the miracle.


Main phrases of the post + transcription + translation













בֵּית הִלֵּל 

Bêt hillēl

School of Hillel

תַּלְמוּד בָּבְלִי 

Talmûd bāb

Babylonian Talmud


learn biblical hebrew

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