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Chanukkah – a prayer

Posted by Stephen Pidgeon on Thursday, December 18, 2014 at 8:00 AM

 

We have learned now why the feast was held for eight days, because the Feast of Dedication under the guidance of the Makkabiym was held in accord with the former, and Shalomah held the former for eight days.  Even today, the feast is eight days, as is Sukka’oth, which rounds up its seven days as prescribed under the mitzvah of the Torah, with Simcah Torah – a day to celebrate the joy of the Torah.

However, there is a question why the Makkabiym elected to begin the Feast of Chanukkah on the twenty-fifth day of the ninth month.  And the answer is, because Nechemyah restored the fire of the altar on that date.

Makkabiym Sheniy (2 Maccabees) 1:17-23

Blessed be our ELOHIYM in all things, who has delivered up the wicked. 18 Therefore whereas we are now purposed to keep the purification of the Temple upon the five and twentieth day of the month Kiclev, we thought it necessary to certify you thereof, that ye also might keep it, as the Feast of Chanukkah, and of the fire, which was given us when Nechemyah offered sacrifice, after that he had built the Temple and the altar. 19 For when our fathers were led into Persia, the priests that were then devout took the fire of the altar privily, and hid it in a hollow place of a pit without water, where they kept it sure, so that the place was unknown to all men. 20 Now after many years, when it pleased ELOHIYM, Nechemyah, being sent from the king of Persia, did send of the posterity of those priests that had hid it to the fire: but when they told us they found no fire, but thick water; 21 Then commanded he them to draw it up, and to bring it; and when the sacrifices were laid on, Nechemyah commanded the priests to sprinkle the wood and the things laid thereupon with the water. 22 When this was done, and the time came that the sun shone, which afore was hid in the cloud, there was a great fire kindled, so that every man marvelled. 23 And the priests made a prayer while the sacrifice was consuming, I say, both the priests, and all the rest, Yonathan beginning, and the rest answering thereunto, as Nechemyah did.

Before we look at this prayer, consider what would be their petition on the restoration of the second temple.  Now, consider this prayer as a prayer you might use at the Feast of Chanukkah:

Makkabiym Sheniy (2 Maccabees) 1:24-29

And the prayer was after this manner; O YAHUAH, YAHUAH ELOHIYM, Creator of all things, who is fearful and strong, and righteous, and merciful, and the only and gracious King, 25 The only giver of all things, the only just, almighty, and everlasting, you that deliver Yisra’el from all trouble, and did choose the fathers, and sanctify them: 26 Receive the sacrifice for your whole people Yisra’el, and preserve your own portion, and sanctify it. 27 Gather those together that are scattered from us, deliver them that serve among the heathen, look upon them that are despised and abhorred, and let the heathen know that you are our ELOHIYM. 28 Punish them that oppress us, and with pride do us wrong. 29 Plant your people again in your holy place, as Mosheh has spoken.

And now we conclude this practice of Chanukkah with the lighting of the lights that would remind us of the light that shined from the altar by the bringing of the fire of the altar.

Makkabiym Sheniy (2 Maccabees) 1:30-36

And the priests sung psalms of thanksgiving. 31 Now when the sacrifice was consumed, Nechemyah commanded the water that was left to be poured on the great stones. 32 When this was done, there was kindled a flame: but it was consumed by the light that shined from the altar. 33 So when this matter was known, it was told the king of Persia, that in the place, where the priests that were led away had hid the fire, there appeared water, and that Nechemyah had purified the sacrifices therewith. 34 Then the king, inclosing the place, made it holy, after he had tried the matter. 35 And the king took many gifts, and bestowed thereof on those whom he would gratify. 36 And Nechemyah called this thing Naphthar, which is as much as to say, a cleansing: but many men call it Nephu.

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