Today was the second day of Chanukah/Hanukkah/Channukah/Hanukah. Chanukah means “Dedication.” Often times a congregation will wait until Hanukkah to dedicate their building. Our congregation dedicates the children at this time, as well as people re-dedicating themselves to God, or their marriages.

Channnukah is not just about the miracle of the oil lasting for eight days, but is about God’s people literally fighting for their freedom. Chanukah was the first religious and civil war. The Jews did not just fight against the Greeks, but they were also fighting against their brothers who sided with the Greeks.

Most people think that this battle was over in a few weeks, but in fact it took 25 years-a quarter of a century-before the Jews had gained their complete freedom. The Temple was regained after three years, and that is where the story of the oil lasting eight days and rededicating the Temple come in. It takes eight days to dedicate the Temple, and it also takes eight days to make the oil for the menorah.

After the Temple was rededicated, there were still Hellenized Jews that wanted Greece to remain in power, so they joined the Greeks and the Maccabees had to fight against them.

After the Greeks sign a peace treaty with Simon-the last of the sons of Mattathias Maccabee, the man who started the war-Simon takes on the role of leader/prince/president. He was not supposed to do this. His descendants became corrupted by their power and also turned into Hellenized Jews.

While Hanukkah is a joyous time, there is also a caution about how easy it is to be assimilated into non-Godly things.

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