Hanukkah

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Dr. Goodword
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Hanukkah

Postby Dr. Goodword » Sun Dec 17, 2017 10:42 pm

• Hanukkah •


Pronunciation: hah-nê-kê • Hear it!

Part of Speech: Noun, proper

Meaning: The season of Hanukkah is the Jewish Festival of Lights. It celebrates the victory of the Maccabees over the Seleucid Greeks of Syria, who had captured Jerusalem, and the rededication of the second Temple of Jerusalem (164 BC). The Syrian Greeks had defiled the Temple and left only one bottle of holy oil. That oil, however, miraculously lasted for eight days. So, Hanukkah is celebrated for eight days by lighting one candle in the menorah (a nine-branched candelabrum) each evening.

Notes: Today's Good Word is also spelled Chanukah (among other ways) but, however you spell it, you can find out more about it by clicking here.

In Play: This year Hanukkah begins and ends before Christmas, but we can still wish our Jewish friends, "Happy Hanukkah!" as we wish our Christian friends, "Merry Christmas". Remember, Hanukkah is not a day but an 8-day season. In 2017 it extends from December 12 to December 20.

Word History: Today's very Good Word is the English rendition of Hebrew khanukkah "consecration" from hanakh "he trained, dedicated". This verb comes from the noun hekh "palate", which gave the verb the original meaning of "he rubbed the palate of a child with chewed dates", something that was done long ago during the instruction of children. The past participle, hanoch "dedicated", was also used as a name, Hanoch, which the Greeks and Romans interpreted as Enoch. (We hope all our Jewish friends are enjoying the happiest of Hanukkah seasons, especially those in Israel, where we hope the Festival of the Lights illuminates a brighter and more peaceful future.)
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Dr. Goodword
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Re: Hanukkah

Postby Dr. Goodword » Wed Dec 20, 2017 11:40 am

I received this note from Jackie Strauss, a frequent contributor of Good Words. I thought it worth sharing.

Hoping you and your family enjoy a wonderful Christmas. Enjoyed the word “Hanukkah” today - thank you.

As a child, and coming from a very Jewish family, we celebrated Hanukkah. But it wasn’t like the holiday is today. It’s become a “Jewish Christmas”, which it certainly is not. Back when I was a kid, Mom lit the candles each night and gave my sister and me each a silver dollar. So, by the end of 8 days, we’d have our collection of ‘fairy money’. We called it that because the coins had beautiful ‘fairies’ on them….at least that’s what we thought they were!

But then, on Christmas morning, scattered around our Lionel train set, were the ‘real deal’—presents!! No tree, no decorations, just yearly visits to Santa (I’ve got the pix to prove it) and no mention of the birth of the Christ child. It was magical to me, so that’s the way Stan and I raised our girls…with that same magic. For although Hanukkah was our true holiday, it just couldn’t ‘hold a candle’ to Christmas!!

Thank you for another great year of vocabulary enhancement!

Have a wonderful holiday and a very happy - and healthy, new year.
• The Good Dr. Goodword


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