Our family, over the years have re defined the way we look at and observe Hanukkah. After studying, we no longer use a 9 branch menorah, or decorate with dreidles and tell stories about olive oil lasting 8 days. From what we have learned, the Macabbees modeled the observance on FOT hence the 8 days and that the heart of the observance is about the re dedication of the altar of the temple....the altar is where the sacrifices were made, inside the temple..i know that may seem redundant to mention, but it made a profound impression on us. Last year, my dh and i went down to the river to collect stones and we built a "teaching" replica of the altar and used that as the centerpiece of our observance and study with the family. It made the week have a whole different feel to it than it had in the past. When we studied, we incorporated verses like 1 Corinthians 6:19: What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit which is in you, which ye have of Yah, and ye are not your own? And 1 Corinthians 3:16: Know ye not that ye are the temple of Yah, and that the Spirit of Yah dwelleth in you?
Observing it with this theme in mind expanded our study of Hanukkah: (we use the HalleluYah scriptures, the Jerusalem Bible or the AOY scriptures)
A religious ceremony by which any person, place, or thing was devoted to a holy purpose. Thus the tabernacle and the first and second temples were dedicated to God, Exodus 40:1-38 1 Kings 8:1-66 Ezra 6:1 22. The Jews also practiced a certain dedication of walls, houses, etc., De 20:5 Nehemiah 12:27. The "feast of the dedication" was a yearly commemoration of the cleansing and rededication of the temple, when polluted by Antiochus Epiphanes, John 10:22.
And it brought to mind how polluted our worship of Yahweh had become before we kept the Feasts of Yahweh and instead kept the holidays that were just kept by our families by tradition.
So, i do not agree with those who say have nothing to do with this observance. For our family it is a great study experience and we learn new things about dedicating our lives to Yahweh. Sometimes it is informative to take a look at a subject with new light on it :) Here are some other aspects we are looking at and studying.
ded'-i-kat, ded-ika'-shun (chanukkah, "initiation," "consecration"; qadhesh, "to be clean," "sanctify"; cherem, "a thing devoted (to God)"): Often used in Hebrew of the consecration of persons, but usually in the English Versions of the Bible of the setting apart of things to a sacred use, as of the altar (Numbers 7:10, 84, 88; compare Daniel 3:2, 3, "the dedication of the image"), of silver and gold (2 Samuel 8:11 2 Kings 12:4), of the Temple (1 Kings 8:63 Ezra 6:16; compare Exodus 29:44), of the wall of Jerusalem (Nehemiah 12:27), of private dwellings (Deuteronomy 20:5). the Revised Version (British and American) substitutes "devoted" for "dedicated" in Ezekiel 44:29. See CONSECRATION;SANCTIFICATION.
DEDICATION, FEAST OF
ded-i-ka'-shun (ta egkainia, John 10:22): A feast held by the Jews throughout the country for eight days, commencing on the 25th Kiclev (December), in commemoration of the cleansing of the temple and dedication of the altar by Judas Maccabeus after their desecration by Antiochus Epiphanes (1 Maccabees 4:56, 59). The feast was to be kept "with mirth and gladness." 2 Maccabees 10:6, 7 says it was kept like the Feast of the Tabernacles, with the carrying of palm and other branches, and the singing of psalms. Josephus calls it "Lights," from the joy which accompanied it (Ant., XII, vii, 7). At this winter feast Jesus delivered in the temple the discourse recorded in John 10:24, at Jerusalem.
Dedication, Feast of the
(John 10:22, 42), i.e., the feast of the renewing. It was instituted B.C. 164 to commemorate the purging of the temple after its pollution by Antiochus Epiphanes (B.C. 167), and the rebuilding of the altar after the Syrian invaders had been driven out by Judas Maccabaeus. It lasted for eight days, beginning on the 25th of the month Chisleu (December), which was often a period of heavy rains (Ezra 10:9, 13). It was an occasion of much rejoicing and festivity.
But there were other dedications of the temple. (1) That of Solomon's temple (1 Kings 8:2;2 Chronicles 5:3); (2) the dedication in the days of Hezekiah (2 Chronicles 29); and (3) the dedication of the temple after the Captivity (Ezra 6:16).
Dedication (16 Occurrences)
John 10:22 It was the Feast of the Dedication at Jerusalem. (WEB KJV WEY ASV DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)
Numbers 6:19 The priest shall take the boiled shoulder of the ram, and one unleavened cake out of the basket, and one unleavened wafer, and shall put them on the hands of the Nazirite, after he has shaved the head of his separation; (See NIV)
Numbers 7:10 The princes gave offerings for the dedication of the altar in the day that it was anointed, even the princes gave their offerings before the altar. (WEB JPS ASV DBY YLT NAS RSV NIV)
Numbers 7:11 Yahweh said to Moses, "They shall offer their offering, each prince on his day, for the dedication of the altar." (WEB JPS ASV DBY YLT NAS RSV NIV)
Numbers 7:84 This was the dedication of the altar, on the day when it was anointed, by the princes of Israel: twelve silver platters, twelve silver bowls, twelve golden ladles; (WEB KJV JPS ASV DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)
Numbers 7:88 and all the cattle for the sacrifice of peace offerings twenty-four bulls, the rams sixty, the male goats sixty, the male lambs a year old sixty. This was the dedicationof the altar, after it was anointed. (WEB KJV JPS ASV DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)
2 Chronicles 7:9 On the eighth day they held a solemn assembly: for they kept thededication of the altar seven days, and the feast seven days. (WEB KJV JPS ASV DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)
Ezra 6:16 The children of Israel, the priests, and the Levites, and the rest of the children of the captivity, kept the dedication of this house of God with joy. (WEB KJV JPS ASV DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)
Ezra 6:17 They offered at the dedication of this house of God one hundred bulls, two hundred rams, four hundred lambs; and for a sin offering for all Israel, twelve male goats, according to the number of the tribes of Israel. (WEB KJV JPS ASV DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)
Nehemiah 12:27 At the dedication of the wall of Jerusalem they sought the Levites out of all their places, to bring them to Jerusalem, to keep the dedication with gladness, both with giving thanks, and with singing, with cymbals, stringed instruments, and with harps. (WEB KJV JPS ASV DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)
Psalms 29:11 Jehovah will give strength unto his people; Jehovah will bless his people with peace. Psalm 30 A Psalm; a Song at the Dedication of the House. 'A Psalm' of David. (ASV)
Psalms 30:1 A Psalm. A Song for the Dedication of the Temple. By David. I will extol you, Yahweh, for you have raised me up, and have not made my foes to rejoice over me. (WEB JPS DBY WBS YLT RSV NIV)
Proverbs 20:25 It is a snare to a man to make a rash dedication, then later to consider his vows. (WEB)
Daniel 3:2 Then Nebuchadnezzar the king sent to gather together the satraps, the deputies, and the governors, the judges, the treasurers, the counselors, the sheriffs, and all the rulers of the provinces, to come to the dedication of the image which Nebuchadnezzar the king had set up. (WEB KJV JPS ASV DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV )
Daniel 3:3 Then the satraps, the deputies, and the governors, the judges, the treasurers, the counselors, the sheriffs, and all the rulers of the provinces, were gathered together to the dedication of the image that Nebuchadnezzar the king had set up; and they stood before the image that Nebuchadnezzar had set up.
This is a site about altars in the bible that we haven't studied yet, but will the week of Hanukkah: http://www.bible-history.com/biblestudy/altars.html
A psalm. A song. For the dedication of the temple.[b] Of David.
1 I will exalt you, Yahweh, for you lifted me out of the depths and did not let my enemies gloat over me.2Yahweh my Elohim, I called to you for help, and you healed me.3 You, Yahweh, brought me up from the realm of the dead; you spared me from going down to the pit.
4 Sing the praises of Yahweh, you his faithful people; praise his holy name.5 For his anger lasts only a moment, but his favor lasts a lifetime;weeping may stay for the night, but rejoicing comes in the morning.
6 When I felt secure, I said, “I will never be shaken.”7 Yahweh, when you favored me, you made my royal mountain[c] stand firm;but when you hid your face, I was dismayed.
8 To you, Yahweh, I called; to YahwehI cried for mercy:9 “What is gained if I am silenced, if I go down to the pit?Will the dust praise you? Will it proclaim your faithfulness?10 Hear, Yahweh, and be merciful to me; Yahweh, be my help.”
11 You turned my wailing into dancing; you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy,12 that my heart may sing your praises and not be silent. Yahweh my Elohim, I will praise you forever.
- Psalm 30:1 In Hebrew texts 30:1-12 is numbered 30:2-13.
- Psalm 30:1 Title: Or palace
- Psalm 30:7 That is, Mount Zion
We keep the Abib, new moon calendar so we will be studying about Hanukkah from the night of Dec. 9th to Dec. 17th.