Tomorrow night we light the first candle and continue for eight more nights celebrating Chanukah. Here is some history below, and events going on throughout our community. Check your local Chabad, synagogue, temple, and all over town, look for menorahs!
The first night of Chanukah is Tuesday night. Although we light candles to commemorate the holiday, that is not a requirement of the eight days. We actually have two requirements: to be grateful and to praise the Almighty for the miracles.
This Tuesday night is the first night of Chanukah, which commemorates the victory of the Jewish nation against the Greeks (165 BCE). It’s interesting that we commemorate the victory by lighting the menorah,which represents Torah and wisdom, but has nothing to do with military prowess. However, if we understand that the true struggle during that time wasn’t for physical survival, but to ensure the continuity of the Torah ideology and values on which the destiny of civilization depended, we can understand why the menorah is the medium through which we commemorate it. The Jews realized that, if Greek values would prevail, humanity would be doomed. The culture of Athens and Sparta adopted the attitude of a master race, with all the evils associated with such an attitude. The Torah, on the other hand, promotes the concept of monotheism and the idea that all of mankind is created in G-d’s image, meaning that each and every one of us has the ability to make our world a better place, and a responsibility to treat every person with respect. The oil, which represents the wisdom of Torah, was enough for only one day, yet it burned for 8 days, symbolizing the
eternal relevance of Jewish values. We all light for 8 days to teach us that, just as the oil (our wisdom) transcended all limitations by burning for 8 days, so too can we be part of that destiny and
illuminate the world with the Almighty’s values. (Based on the teachings of Rabbi Sassoon 20th cent). — Shabbat Shalom! Rabbi Jawary