HANNUKAH - CHANNUKAH
Hannukah is already here or coming,
The festival of lights, just so stunning,
It weaves its way for over a week,
Victories remembered that are antique.
Hannukah miracles are its highlight,
Memories of salvations they re-ignite,
Hashem’s blessings are all truly tremendous,
Eight days of Hannukah and their transcendence.
Hannukah (Channukah) the re-establishment in Jerusalem of the Holy Jewish Temple,
When a few pure Jews against the evil ancient Syrian-Greeks assembled,
When the Holy Land of Israel was invaded by those impure Hellinistic forces,
The pure Maccabees repelled them and restored the Temple’s Holiness.
The evil oppressors made many efforts to pervert,
The Jewish people and us to convert,
The masses of Jewish people against Torah to act,
To ignore the pure Torah mitzvos, a saddening fact.
Maccabees, few in number, but full of Torah learning and of purity,
Masters of their will (Heb: yetzer: will), knowers of G-D and to Him their solemn duty,
They attacked, dispersed and vanquished the numerous evil opposition,
Expelling the idolaters from G-D’s house, as that was their Holy Jewish mission.
“Mikomoka Hashem ba’alim” (Heb) is the mnemonic for the Maccabees,
“Who is like you Hashem, among their false gods” it means,
Mattisyahu ben Yohanan and his sons, the Hasmoneans,
Were the Maccabees, few and weak, but steeped in purity and
ma'asim tovim, good deeds.
After cleaning out our defiled Holy Temple,
The Maccabees then G-D’s Holy avoda (Heb: service) did re-assemble,
Finding just a single jar of pure oil that was left as a remnant,
Lighting the Holy Temple menorah (branched candelabra) with it as commanded (by the Torah).
To gather pure oil for Holy Temple menorah use,
Would take many days preparing olives for its Temple purpose,
So they lit the menorah with the pure oil they had found,
And were dismayed as one day’s oil, did for eight days' light compound.
Miraculously the jar of pure oil for eight days lasted,
Without being replenished at all, as is contrasted,
With the normal time for such oil in the Holy Temple lasting,
Only one day’s duration, not more, just so amazing!
This miracle that we celebrate, that G-D for us did make,
The Maccabees and all Jewish people for 8 (eight) days celebrate,
We remember G-D’s miracles, that He has for us brought,
Anticipating those that in the future, will by Him be wrought.
Careful not to stray our gaze from the light even an instant,
The first night we light the single light that's brilliant,
Each day we light an added light at each sitting,
Until eight lights on the eighth of the Chag (Heb: festival) are befitting.
The shamash is the candle we use with which to light,
And is not counted amongst the others every night,
It is placed on the menorah in a raised spot,
And is also used to reignite, if a flame is lost.
Before the brachos (blessings), the shamash candle is lit,
After the brachos, the lights from the far left side are illuminated,
We also remember the role of Yehudis in the Hannukah miracle,
Who slayed the evil leader after serving him wine and salty cheese eatables.
The lights are first lit after the stars come out at night,
As then begins a new day in Yiddishkeit (Yiddish:authentic Judaism),
The lights must burn for at least a full half hour,
And may be extinguished immediately thereafter, but may burn for longer.
It is for our eyesight not at all recommended,
To stare at Shabbos lights, it cannot be defended,
To stare at Channukah lights however,
Is a very beneficial endeavor.
We are cautioned for our neshamos to strengthen,
So we stay close to the lit wicks or candles, without distraction,
We carefully light the candle or the oil wick,
In a safe place, so the passing public can easily see it.
At the window or opposite an open doorway,
Placed so that the flames will not be blown away,
Being careful so that material or any curtain,
Will not be ignited, of that we must be certain.
We must also be ever so very careful,
To place the menorah so that it not be unstable,
And also that the lights not be blown out,
As a result of the airflow, they must be not.
To publicise the miracle we have been asked,
For us it is indeed a pleasant joyous task,
To spread the fame of G-D Hashem,
We love G-D’s miracles, we lovingly proclaim.
The menorah between 10 and 40 inches above the floor must be based,
A wick or candle is added to the left side of the previous night's one placed,
So an extra one is added from the extreme right side starting the addition,
But lighting is begun from the left side position.
The Hannukah candles are placed in a straight line,
And to the same height are all at first aligned,
After they have been burning for a while,
Each one to its own height will slowly decline.
We say Sheheiyanu (the special 3rd blessing) on the first day only,
And the other brachos (Heb: blessings) we gladly intone daily,
We make absolutely no use at all, in any measure,
From the light coming from the menorah, neither for work nor for pleasure.(no reading either)
Each day before lighting we say “He Who made miracles”, "she’oso "nissim",
After saying the bracha for lighting the menorah, all polished and clean,
While lighting we recite Hashem’s salvations and victories to us in the past,
And His miracles to us, we take them all to heart.
Sufganiot which are also known as donuts,
That have been cooked in oil are eaten by us,
Or latkes known as pancakes, in oil are fried,
Symbolic of the oil miracle for eight days applied.
Hannukah lights, well before the Shabbos lights are lit,
Because Shabbos we must not ever desecrate,
After Shabbos, the Hannukah lights are lit once more,
In the usual manner, after three small stars appear, after nightfall.
When before Shabbos the Hannukah lights are lit,
It is important there is ample oil or candle length for it,
So they burn the extra time from before Sabbos arrives,
As they must last the full time that the mitzvah requires.
We recite Hallel (certain psalms) during the day as we do on many Chaggim (Jewish festivals),
They are special praises to G-D for the great Providence to us from Him,
It is a time of great simcha (Heb: happiness) and delight,
Showing dark forces are defeated with Torah might.
It is a mitzvah to have the very best menorah,
That one can afford to purchase for the mitzvah’s honour,
No alien markings or carvings to be found on the menorah at all,
As is taught to us Jews al pi (al pi: Heb: according to) Torah Law.
We take all precautions that will prevent,
An out of control fire, that it may not be made,
Sure that close objects will not ignite,
Sure that blowing out if needed, will no fire start.
May the light of Hannukah permeate our Jewish lives throughout the year b'ezrat Hashem, with the help of Hashem G-D, the Holy One of Israel. amen.
The meaning of Hannukah - light not darkness, not a secular holiday, not the freedom of any other religions other than Orthodox Judaism. What Hannukah should not be: guest speakers at Hannukah celebrations who mislead millions of people at home and around the world, because of news flashes within seconds of the event, who speak of Hannukah as “the freedom of all religions”! That is why we must avoid Hannukah celebrations in conjunction with other religions, and if politicians are invited guests they should not be invited to make speeches and that should be a condition for attendance. The lighting of Hananukah candles is done by Jewish people only.
The Hannukah candles at the windows and at the doors of Jewish homes was and is great publicity for Hashem and His Torah. Now in public spaces, the miracle cannot be delegitimized.