Chanukkah is a very interesting feast – a feast (as practiced) that is not mentioned in the Tanakh, but is mentioned in the Gospels, yet is practiced by the Yahudiym and not the Christians. Oh, the intrigue of it all!
Providentially, we have included those scriptures that set out the feast and its true meaning in the Eth Cepher. Let us start with the foundation.
Bemidbar (Numbers) 7:84
This was the dedication (חֲנֻכָּה chanukkah) of the altar, in the day when it was anointed, by the princes of Israel: twelve chargers of silver, twelve silver bowls, twelve spoons of gold:
While the word chanukkah is self-explanatory, its root is a bit revealing. While the most obvious root is the word חָנַך chanak, which means to initiate or discipline; to dedicate or to train up, the proper noun form of the word is חֲנוֹך Chanoch or Enoch, a name which looms large in the history of scripture, and which means the dedicated one.
Divrei Hayamiym Sheniy (2 Chronicles) 7:1-3
NOW when Shalomah had made an end of praying, the fire came down from heaven, and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices; and the glory of YAHUAH filled the house. 2 And the priests could not enter into the house of YAHUAH, because the glory of YAHUAH had filled YAHUAH’S house. 3 And when all the children of Yisra’el saw how the fire came down, and the glory of YAHUAH upon the house, they bowed themselves with their faces to the ground upon the pavement, and worshipped, and praised YAHUAH, saying, For he is good; for his mercy endures forever.
If you are wondering about the phrase “for he is good, and his mercy endures forever, in the Hebrew it is: Kee tov, kee la’olam chesed.
One question that comes to mind reading this bit of history is: do we believe or do we not believe? We have seen so many things in our lifetimes that can only be called remarkable, and that would have been unthinkable to even our grandparents, yet can we not believe the things of YAH. The testimony here is that the glory (kavod) of YAHUAH filled the temple of Shalomah, and brought fire to consume the offering. The presence of the glory of YAHUAH was something carefully tracked by the Leviyim ministering to the altar, and they noticed when the presence departed following the death and resurrection of MASHIACH.
Divrei Hayamiym Sheniy (2 Chronicles) 7:4-6
Then the king and all the people offered sacrifices before YAHUAH. 5 And king Shalomah offered a sacrifice of twenty and two thousand oxen, and an hundred and twenty thousand sheep: so the king and all the people dedicated (חָנַך chanak) the house of ELOHIYM. 6 And the priests waited on their offices: the Leviyiym also with instruments of music of YAHUAH, which David the king had made to praise YAHUAH, because his mercy endures forever, when David praised by their ministry; and the priests sounded shofars before them, and all Yisra’el stood.
Here is a passage near to my heart. The Leviyim played the songs of David on the instruments which David had made for the purpose of praising YAHUAH. The term here for praise is יָדָה yada. This word has so much to offer, let us consider it for just a moment.
Yada is construed to mean: to use (i.e. hold out) the hand; physically, to throw (a stone, an arrow) at or away; especially to revere or worship (with extended hands); intensively, to bemoan (by wringing the hands); to cast out, to make confession, to praise, to shoot, and to give thanks or make thanksgiving.
Yada is made up of two words, in the derash understanding: namely YAH and da. YAH is the shortened version of Ehayah (I AM), and means the I part of I AM. But what about da?
Da is actually found in the Strong’s as only an Aramaic (Syrian) word,דאָּ da' (Aramaic), which mean this one. Its corresponding Hebrew word isהזֶ zeh, which means: of him; the one; the other; than the other, the same; such a one that; these; this man; on this side; and on that side.
Don’t give up on me here, we are about to get to some interesting information. While one use of the term zeh is as described above, consider that the word zeh (Strong’s 2089) also means a sheep, or lamb, as in chinnay hua zeh Elohiym! Behold, the Lamb of God!
Now consider the derash of Yada – I AM the Lamb!
While we’re here, let’s consider one of the sod meanings of the term, namely its tedusha. Here we have yod, dalet, heh. Heh is the window, meaning behold. Dalet is the door. Yod is the hand (yad) of ELOHIYM. Yada therefore means: Behold: the doorway to the hand of YAH. But yada also means to know. Yada, yada . . . you know, you know.
But what is eternal life?
Yahuchanon (John) 17:3
And this is life eternal (chayim olam), that they might know (yada) you the only true ELOHIYM, and YAHUSHA HAMASHIACH, whom you have sent.
Let us return to the foundation of chanukkah, shall we?
Divrei Hayamiym Sheniy (2 Chronicles) 7:7-11
Moreover Shalomah hallowed the middle of the court that was before the house of YAHUAH: for there he offered burnt offerings, and the fat of the peace offerings, because the brasen altar which Shalomah had made was not able to receive the burnt offerings, and the meat offerings, and the fat. 8 Also at the same time Shalomah kept the feast seven days, and all Yisra’el with him, a very great assembly, from the entering in of Chamath unto the river of Mitsrayim. 9 And in the eighth day they made a solemn assembly: for they kept the dedication (חֲנֻכָּה chanukkah) of the altar seven days, and the feast seven days. 10 And on the three and twentieth day of the seventh month he sent the people away into their tents, glad and merry in heart for the goodness that YAHUAH had showed unto David, and to Shalomah, and to Yisra’el his people. 11 Thus Shalomah finished the house of YAHUAH, and the king's house: and all that came into Shalomah's heart to make in the house of YAHUAH, and in his own house, he prosperously effected.
First, we can see the date of this feast, because we know that on the 23rd day of the seventh month the people were sent away, that places the beginning of the eight day celebration on the 15th of the seventh month (15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22 = eight days).
Vayiqra (Leviticus) 23:33-37
And YAHUAH spoke unto Moses, saying, 34 Speak unto the children of Yisra’el, saying, The fifteenth day of this seventh month shall be the feast of Sukka’oth for seven days unto YAHUAH. 35 On the first day shall be an holy convocation: ye shall do no servile work therein. 36 Seven days ye shall offer an offering made by fire unto YAHUAH: on the eighth day shall be an holy convocation unto you; and ye shall offer an offering made by fire unto YAHUAH: it is a solemn assembly; and ye shall do no servile work therein.
Therefore, the first feast of dedication (Chanukkah) was held by Shalomah on the feast of Sukka’oth. However, Shalomah added an eighth day for a solemn assembly. This number of days will come back as we further explore this feast.
Before going on, let’s consider the issue of capital letters, because they do make a difference. The term for nations, for instance, is goyim. Yet, once it is capitalized, it becomes Goyim, which is then translated not at gentiles, but as Gentiles. The word for the people other than those of Judah (Yahudah) in the Greek is ethnos, but when translated become Gentiles, as though Gentile was a race of people. Now, the average Christian claims their heritage as a Gentile (from the country of Gentilia?!!). There are no capital letters in the Hebrew. There are safit letters, but such letters end a word, they don’t begin the word. So, the word chanukkah is different than the word Chanukkah. It is one thing to make dedication during a feast, it is another to engage the Feast of Dedication.