What do the Hanukkah candles mean

10.12. - 18.12.2020 What do Jews celebrate at Hanukkah?

Hanukkah is a so-called half holiday - a day that goes back not to biblical commandments but to historical events. Therefore, only after the work of the miraculous salvation of Israel from the rule of the Greeks in 185 BC can Jewish believers be able to do so. To commemorate. At that time the Jews were oppressed by the Seleucids: With constant new commandments and laws they made life difficult for them. In the end, they even forbade them to practice their religion. The Jews defend themselves against this. Led by Judas Maccabeus and his brothers, they defeated the Seleucids in the so-called Maccabees uprising. A year later, the Jews also recaptured their temple, which had been abused by the Greek rulers. They purified him and rededicated him. To do this, they lit a residue of consecrated oil that would normally not have illuminated the temple for more than a day. But it miraculously burned for eight days. Exactly until new, kosher oil was made.

Eight days of celebration

To commemorate these events, Jewish believers gather today on Hanukkah to celebrate with relatives and friends for eight days. In the mornings, special prayers are said in the synagogue and a certain passage from the Torah is read aloud. In the evenings, the families meet at home and light a new light on Hanukkah every day - until all eight candles are lit. The candles are lit from right to left, the new one always first. The ritual of lighting includes blessings and prayers.

At the end of Hanukkah, all eight lights will be on. In order for the believers to remember the miracle of light and God's presence, many Jews put their Hanukkahs in their window sills and house entrances. With this they testify to their faith, their trust in God and often also their pride in being Jews.

Hanukkah with restrictions

The Jewish Festival of Lights is subject to the current Corona restrictions this year, just like Christmas. Since Hanukkah begins on Thursday evening and lasts until December 18, the restrictions are stricter than at the end of the year, when the easing announced by the federal and state governments for Christmas, New Year's Eve and New Year's Eve - although changes are already becoming apparent.

The President of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, Josef Schuster, shows understanding for the government's ordinances. He wrote on Twitter: "There will be no major family celebrations for Hanukkah this year because of Corona." The Jewish community made this renunciation: "Pikuach Nefesch - the protection of life is the top priority for Jews. May the Festival of Lights give us consolation and confidence, especially this year."

Hanukkah candlesticks in Leipzig

On the occasion of the Hanukkah festival in Leipzig, for the first time since 1937, a Hanukkah candlestick will be set up on the site of the former synagogue in Gottschedstra├če.

Martin Stern - son of a former Leipzig woman of Jewish origin - gave the candlestick to the Israelite Religious Community of Leipzig and the city of Leipzig. It was financed by the Stern Family Charitable Foundation. The 3.50 meter high electric candle holder was made by the Leipzig Opera theater workshops. It is to be placed at the memorial every year on Hanukkah.

"For me it is a very special and important sign of reconciliation and togetherness that a Hanukkah candlestick is standing after so many years - and at this historical point that is so important for the history of the Jewish community in Leipzig," emphasized Mayor Burkhard Jung the meaning emerged.

I thank the donor from the bottom of my heart for this generous gift to the community and the city. May we celebrate many beautiful Hanukkah festivals together and in peace.

Lord Mayor Burkhard Jung

Source: MDR, City of Leipzig