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 Holiday Central > Chanukah > Menorah  > Why Light a Menorah?
Why Light a Menorah
By: Rivka C. Berman, Contributor
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The Talmud asks the question: “What is Chanukah?” The rabbis answer has little to do with the battlefield victory.  In fact, the answer focuses on the miracle of the oil.  We light a menorah, according to the Talmud, in commemoration of the miracle of light!

“When the Greeks entered the Temple courtyard they made all the oil in the Temple impure.  When the kingdom of the House of Hasmoneans (that is, the Maccabees who ascended to the throne following their triumph over the Greeks) were victorious, they checked (the Sanctuary) and did not find but one container of oil with the high priest’s seal.  There was enough oil for only one day.  But there was a miracle and the oil lasted eight days.  The following year a holiday was established for praise and recognition.” (Shabbat 21b)

The Talmud’s stress on the miracle of Chanukah laid the foundation of how the holiday came to be celebrated.  Much of the holiday’s halachot, laws, are drawn from the desire to publicize the miracle of Chanukah as clearly as possible.
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