Chanukah (Hebrew for "Dedication") is held on 25th Kislev every year, which roughly equates to early-mid December - often coinciding with the Christmas season.
It's called "dedication" as it remembers the time when the evil Greek King Antiochus Epiphanes IV persecuted the Jewish people by stopping them from reading Torah, and worshiping YHVH. He even desecrated the Temple by sacrificing a pig on the Holy Altar.
A group of Zealots, lead by the Maccabee family, rose up against the Greeks in a form of guerrilla warfare and managed to miraculously drive them out of the land.
This was only one of many miracles in that time. Another was when the Priests came to rededicate the Temple, but found that they only had enough specially prepared oil to keep the Menorah burning for one day. It took eight days to prepare a new batch of oil, but amazingly the batch for one day managed to last for all eight! This is why the normal seven branch Menorah has eight branches and one extra - the shamash ("servant") - to remember the eight days of G-d's miraculous provision.
This is also why fried foods are traditionally a feature of the celebrations, including doughnuts and fried potato latkes (potato pancakes). It's one time of year when we can confidently say that G-d suspends all health food diets!
We love Chanukah in our home because it focuses so beautifully on the miraculous provision of another Divine miracle - the provision of Messiah, the "light of the world" - a gift to the sons of Israel and all humanity. Focusing on G-d each night and only having one gift exchanged on each of eight days is also a much better balance than one day (i.e. Christmas, with all its pagan roots and imagery) with loads of presents and the almost inevitable sense of materialism and excess.
It's not a festival mandated by God in the Tanakh, but it is clear that Yeshua had absolutely no issue with it - (see John 11: 22), and it beautifully focuses our attention on the Father, so I have no issue with it either!
Anyway, we hope you like our recipe for Potatoe Latkes too, and that you get to enjoy them at Chanukah, or any time of year!
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