The eight crazy nights’ opening ceremonies have commenced and the fun has only just begun. This extended holiday happens around this of time of year (usually) every year but do you really know what Hanukkah is? On this “Thoughtful Thursday” I will try to enlighten you a little bit on this Festival of Lights (pun intended).

Everyone has their own perceptions of what Hanukkah is and it usually comes tagged with a dreidel or potato latke stereotype. Yes, there are more dreidels spun during Hanukkah than on Martin Luther King Jr. Day but that is not the extent of the holiday. It is not the Judaic version of Christmas either. It is a real challah-day with real, feelings so please refrain from leaving racist jokes. Get it challah-day? Challah; the Jewish braided bread? Whatever.

Any who, Hanukkah or Chanukkah, pronounced [χanuˈka] is a Jewish holiday that celebrates the rededication of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem which was destroyed during the Maccabean Revolt in the 2nd century. This was prior to the birth of Christ and following the extinction of my favorite dinosaur ever, the Brontosaurus. If you don’t remember what the Brontosaurus looks like just picture a much bigger version of Chris Bosh.

But I digress. Hanukkah is celebrated by the lighting of nine candles on a menorah over the course of eight days and nights in commemoration of the flame that stayed lit for eight days and nights. There are nine candles for the eight days and nights and a ninth utilized to light the preceding candles. This menorah is one of my favorites because it is actually related to Lumiere from “Beauty and the Beast.”

This is what makes Hanukkah so special to the Jewish religion, that by divine intervention the  “miracle of the container of oil” occurred. The flame should have only stayed lit for one day when in actuality it stayed lit for eight days. This is like a much more important instance of when Giada De Laurentiis is trying to make her famous Eggplant Parm with only 1/4 cup of olive oil when her recipe calls for 2 cups. Damn, now that I think about it, I should have put her on my “Girls! Girls! Girls! The ten I like the most” https://jonmackin.wordpress.com/2010/11/10/girls-girls-girls-the-ten-i-like-the-most/ blog and taken out Kelly Kapowski.

Again, I apologize for the distraction, back to Hanukkah. It burned for eight nights which “conveniently” was the same amount of time it took to press and consecrate new olive oil to keep the flames a-burnin’. Like any other holiday there are customs, traditions, and prayers that are exercised throughout the holla-day. To the surprise of many “The Hanukkah Song” by Adam Sandler was not sung at the first Hanukkah. However, it is a fair and modern interpretation of Jewish history brought forth by possibly the second-most famous Jew of all time. Guess who was the first, I’ll give you a hint it’s not Drizzy Drake.

So, for the seven remaining nights of this highly misunderstood holiday take the time to broaden your horizons and learn a little a bit about history from your favorite Jew. Whether you are a Christian or Shiite Muslim it is not against your religion to sip on a little Manischewitz and get a little wine drunk because God knows that it the best kind of drunk when your gums are purple and are feelin’ all good and slippery. If you have any questions please refer all question to my resident He-Bro, Noam Amir-Brownstein. Shalom! http://www.facebook.com/?ref=logo#!/noam416

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