WHY NINE CANDLES FOR CHANUKAH?
ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS YOU NEVER THOUGHT TO ASK
PART I: DEFINITIONS AND BACKGROUND INFORMATION
CHAPTER 1: SCRIPTURE
- What are the different parts of the Hebrew Bible?
- Is there an easy way to remember the contents?
- What is the Talmud?
- What is the Mishnah?
- What is the Gemara?
- Who were Hillel and Shammai?
- Why is the Book of Maccabees not in the Hebrew Bible?
- So then where is the Book of Maccabees?
- What is the Apocrypha?
- Why is the story of Judith and Holofernes connected to Chanukah?
- Why is the story of Hannah connected to Chanukah?
- What is the Scroll of the Hasmoneans?
CHAPTER 2: TRADITION
- What is the difference between a Holy Day and a holiday?
- What other minor holidays are celebrated in Judaism?
- Why is Purim in the Hebrew Bible and Chanukah is not?
- If Chanukah is a minor holiday, why is it so widely celebrated?
- Are there special synagogue services during Chanukah?
- Do observant Jews work on Chanukah?
CHAPTER 3: OTHER BACKGROUND INFORMATION
- What does the word Chanukah mean?
- Are there any other etymologies of the word?
- How did the Maccabean revolt begin?
- What is the origin of the holiday?
- What is the meaning of Maccabee?
- Who were the Hellenists?
- Who were the Hasmoneans?
- Were the Maccabees fighting for religious or political freedom?
CHAPTER 4: HISTORY
- Is there outside corroboration for the story?
- Who was Josephus?
- What did Josephus write?
- H What did Josephus say about Chanukah?
- Is Chanukah mentioned in the Christian Bible?
PART II: TACHLIS (THE HEART OF THE MATTER)
CHAPTER 5: COMMON QUESTIONS
- Why are there so many different spellings of Chanukah?
- Why does the secular calendar date of Chanukah change every year?
- Why does Chanukah last eight days?
- Did the oil really last eight days?
- How did the story of the oil originate?
- Are there other explanations for why the holiday lasts eight days?
CHAPTER 6: MENORAH VS. CHANUKIAH
- What does menorah mean?
- What is a chanukiah?
- Why is there a ninth candle on the chanukiah?
- What does shamash mean?
- Why are there menorahs with seven candles?
- What are the different customs for lighting the chanukiah?
- When is the chanukiah lit?
- When is the chanukiah lit on Friday night?
- What are the prayers for lighting the chanukiah?
- What is the difference between Ma’oz Tzur and “Rock of Ages”?
- How long should the candles burn?
- Are there rules for how a chanukiah should look?
PART III: TRADITIONAL AND CONTEMPORARY CUSTOMS
CHAPTER 7: AROUND THE WORLD
- Who are Ashkenazi Jews?
- Who are Sephardi Jews?
- But don’t they observe the same Judaism?
- How is Chanukah celebrated by Ashkenazi Jews?
- How is Chanukah celebrated by Sephardi Jews?
- How was Chanukah celebrated in the Middle Ages?
- How is Chanukah celebrated in modern Israel?
- How is Hanukkah celebrated in the U.S.?
- How is Chanukah celebrated today in other countries?
CHAPTER 8: THE DREIDEL
- What is a dreidel?
- What are the markings on the side of the dreidel?
- How is the dreidel game played?
- What is gelt?
- Is the game played differently in different cultures?
CHAPTER 9: EAT HEARTY
- What is a latke?
- Why do Jews eat latkes on Chanukah?
- Can latkes be made from anything besides potatoes?
- Recipes for potato latkes
- Sour cream or applesauce?
- Why the differences in preferences?
- Why is cheese another traditional food for Chanukah?
- What do donuts have to do with Chanukah?
- How did chocolate coins become traditional?
- Are there other traditional foods from different cultures?
CHAPTER 10: THE INFLUENCE OF CHRISTMAS ON CHANUKAH
- Is there a connection between Chanukah and Christmas?
- Why is the 25th of the winter month important?
- Why are lights important to both holidays?
- Why are gifts given on Chanukah?
- Are there ways to avoid the gift-giving frenzy?
- Are there any other gift giving holidays in Judaism?
- What kinds of Chanukah decorations are there?
- What is a Chanukah bush?
CHAPTER 11: POP GOES THE CULTURE
- Chanukah as a symbol and metaphor
- Are there many books, songs, TV shows, movies, and books?
- Traditional songs
- Modern songs
- Live-action movies
- Animated films
- Live-action TV Shows
- Animated TV Shows