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Chanukah and Dedications

Chanukah means dedication. According to Pesikta Rabbati, a medieval midrash on the festivals, the festival of Chanukah commemorates more than one great event in the historical evolution of the Jewish people. There are, in fact, seven Chanukot.

And they are:

1. Dedication marking the covenant of Creation: "when the heavens and earth were completed" (Bereishit / Genesis 2:1); "completed" refers to dedication, as it is written "and when the work of the tabernacle of the Tent of Meeting was completed." (Shmot / Exodus 39).

2. Moshe's dedication, "on the day Moses completed building the tabernacle." (Bamidbar / Numbers 7).

3. The dedication of the First Beit Hamikdash (Holy Temple), as it is written "A psalm and song at the dedication of the House of David." (Tehillim / Psalms 30).

4. The dedication of the Second Beit Hamikdash, as it is written "And they brought sacrifices in celebration of the dedication of the House of G-d." (Ezra 7).

5. The dedication of the wall, as it written "And at the dedication of the wall of Yerushalayim / Jerusalem, they sought all the Levites from all their places, to bring them to Yerushalayim to rejoice in the dedication. (Nechemiah / Nehemiah 12).

6. This dedication, the dedication of the Kohanim (priests) of the House of the Hasmoneans, the one we celebrate now with lighting the Menorah.

7. The dedication in the world to come, where there will also be many candles, as it is written: "The light of the moon shall be as the light of the sun, and the light of the sun shall be sevenfold, as the light of seven days." (Yeshayahu / Isaiah 30).


If you count the words from the very beginning of the Torah, the twenty-fifth word is 'ohr' (light). This is a hint to the celebration of Chanukah, which begins on the twenty-fifth day of Kislev.

Also, in Bamidbar, Parshat Masei, where the Torah lists all the travels and encampments of the Jewish people in the desert, the twenty-fifth encampment is Chashmona, a hint to the Chashmonayim, who encamped and rested on the twenty-fifth day of Kislev.


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