Many years ago the Jews in the land of Israel were not free. They were not free to rule themselves. They were not free to live in the way their hearts and minds desired.
A foreign king made their lives miserable. He sent many soldiers to make the Jews do what he wanted them to do. He took away their Temple and gave it to their enemies. The Jews rebelled. They rose up against the king. Under their brave leader Judah Maccabee they defeated their enemies and won their freedom.
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The Jews decided to celebrate their victory. They set aside eight days for a special festival.
The Temple was made ready for the celebration. The lights of the Temple Menorah were kindled and gave forth a bright light.
Judah Maccabee dedicated the Temple to the service of the people. He called this special festival Hanukka.
Hanukka is a Hebrew word which means dedication.
Judah Maccabee asked the Jews to celebrate this holiday every year at the same time. He wanted them to remember this victory.
The Jews of this story were our ancestors.
Our ancestors suffered the cruelty of a foreign king.
Our ancestors fought for their freedom.
Our ancestors restored the Temple in Jerusalem.
Our ancestors heard the words of Judah Maccabee when he asked them to remember their victory.
Our ancestors saw the lights of the Temple Menorah rekindled.
Let us, therefore, remember what our ancestors did.
Let us kindle the lights of our Menorah in memory of their courage.
(Children light candles after reading. Family sings.)
Ba-rookh ha-or ba-o-lam
Ba-rookh ha-or ba-a-dam
Ba-rookh ha-or ba-ha-nuk-ka
Radiant is the light of the world.
Radiant is the light of humanity.
Radiant is the light of Hanukka.
A CANDLELIGHTING SERVICE
Hanukka is the feast of light. In the winter the days are short and the nights are long. In the winter the light goes quickly and darkness lingers.
In the summer we take the light for granted. The sun is so generous. But in the winter we know how precious it is and how much we need it.
Ba-rookh ha-or ba-o-lam We value the light within the world
Hanukka is the feast of light. Not only the light without. But also the light within. Not only the light of the sun. But also the light of life which shines through every living being and which warms the darkness.
Light is power. Human light is human power. It is the power to love life, to nurture it and to make it grow. It is the power to resist evil. It is the power to be a Maccabee and to defend what is good and beautiful.
Ba-rookh ha-or ba-a-dam We value the light within every human being
Hanukka is the feast of light. Light is radiance. It is the radiance of whatever we do to make our world a better place to live.
It is the light of reason, which helps us see the difference between right and wrong.
It is the light of self-esteem which keeps us proud.
It is the light of courage which gives us the strength to stand up for what we believe in.
It is the light of freedom which reminds us to take responsibility for our own lives.
It is the light of love which enables us to care for those who suffer.
It is the light of loyalty which makes us keep our promises to those who trust us.
It is the light of generosity which encourages us to give even when we do not receive.
It is the light of hope which leads us to the vision of a better world.
Ba-rookh ha-or ba-ha-nook-ka We value the light of Hanukka
Ba-rookh ha-or ba-o-lam. Ba-rookh ha-or ba-a-dam.
Ba-rookh ha-or ba-ha-nook-ka.
(Light Candles and All Sing)
Maccabees of old did rise
To defy the wicked king
They fought hard to help all men
And through courage freedom bring.
They brought a message cheering
That the time is nearing
Which will see all men free