The Meaning of Hanukkah and How it is Important Today

December 5, 2022
Sophie Schwarz

Los Angeles, California, United States

Class of 2024

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The Hanukkah story, although taking place over 2,000 years ago, is a beautiful and empowering story that provides constant hope even today. Judah and the Maccabees fought against the Greek-Syrian army, and with hope and prayer, defeated them. Being much larger in size and having more artillery, it was expected that the Greek-Syrian army would win, and the Maccabees would be forced to convert religions. Furthermore, the Greek-Syrian army had attacked the temple, destroying it and placing non-kosher items inside—pigs and idols. But the Jewish people did not lose hope. 

Following the battle, the Maccabees went back to the temple to view the destruction, and hopefully light the Hanukkiah—the seven branched candelabra that was of religious importance. Looking to light the Hanukkiah, the Maccabees could only find a little bit of oil—enough for one day. But, a Hanukkah miracle occurred and ultimately, the oil lasted for eight days. This miracle became the beginning of a yearly celebration to commemorate the holiday and provide “light” in a time of darkness. 

There is beauty in the Hanukkah story, as Jews are constantly battling anti-Semitism and hatred today. Judah and the Maccabees willingness to fight a much larger and more prepared army demonstrates the importance of standing up for the Jewish community. It is difficult to have hope, and there are defeats, but the Hanukkah miracle portrays an important and moving story of perseverance. 

Furthermore, with the recent rise in anti-Semitism, it is important to promote Jewish values and stay engaged in Jewish religion, traditions, and even Jewish youth groups like BBYO! This Hanukkah (December 18-26th), I encourage you all to light the menorah while thinking about the power of the Hanukkah story, the lessons it teaches, and lastly the importance of carrying on Judaism. 

Sophie Schwarz is an BBG from D’vash BBG #956 in PWR and when she’s not reading or writing, she is baking!

All views expressed on content written for The Shofar represent the opinions and thoughts of the individual authors. The author biography represents the author at the time in which they were in BBYO.

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