Volume 41 Number 58
                 Produced: Fri Dec 26  5:35:46 US/Eastern 2003

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Chanuka Miracle 8 Days or 7? (5)
         [Lipman Martin, Elie Rosenfeld, Janice Gelb, Ari Trachtenberg,
Yisroel Weisz]
         [Shalom Kohn]
Chanukah and Music (3)
         [Edward Ehrlich, Naomi Kingsley, Kibi Hofmann]
Eight-day Chanukkah; Mossad Harav Kook
         [Nathan Lamm]


From: Lipman Martin <lipman_martin@...>
Date: Tue, 23 Dec 2003 09:42:25 -0500
Subject: Re: Chanuka Miracle 8 Days or 7?

I heard from my Rav (I forget the source) that since there was only
enough oil for one day, yet it would take eight days to produce new pure
oil, they split the oil into eight equal portions.  In this way the
menora would be lit for a portion of each day until the new oil was
ready.  The miracle was that each day's portion lasted the entire day
rather than only a few hours.

Martin Lipman
University Heights, OH

From: Elie Rosenfeld <erosenfe@...>
Date: Tue, 23 Dec 2003 14:58:20 -0500
Subject: Chanuka Miracle 8 Days or 7?

Mark Symons writes:
>... he addresses the question as to why do we not celebrate 
> only 7 days chanuka (because if there was enough pure oil 
> for only one day, yet it lasted for 8 days, then the miracle
> was that it lasted only 7 extra days).  He answers by quoting 
> one of the geonim who has a different version of the relevant 
> gemara, namely that there was not enough oil EVEN for one day, 
> yet it lasted 8 days, which thus gives an 8 day miracle.

This famous question, first asked (I believe) by the Bais Yoseph,
probably has the record for the most answers of any Torah-related query!
I have heard about a sefer that collected one hundred different ones.
It's one of those questions where students in each generation can
probably think of new, original ideas.

Briefly, some of the main answers I've heard, in addition to the one you
give above, are:

1) The first day is celebrated because of the Maccabees' victory in the
war, while the last seven days are for the miracle of the oil.

2) The miracle on the first day was that only 1/8 of the oil (variation:
none of the oil) was used up.

3) Only 1/8 of the oil was poured in for each day, but it lasted a whole

4) It was a miracle that *any* sealed vials of oil were found in the
first place.

5) They had to light the Menorah in the *courtyard* of the Bais
Hamikdash (as specifically noted in the Al Hanisim) and thus exposed to
the wind/rain, rather than lighting inside the Kodesh as would normally
be done, due to the destruction/impurity of the Kodesh.  Nevertheless,
the flames did not go out.

> Another possible, more pragmatic answer occurred to me, ie that if the
> chag were to last only 7 days, then the menorah that would be used
> would be a 7-branched one, thus resembling the menorah of the
> temple. To avoid this, the Chachamim instituted an 8 day chag, so that
> the menorah would be an 8- branched one.

A related, also pragmatic answer I've heard - possibly from our esteemed
Moderator - is that Chanukah was deliberately patterned after
Sukkos/Shmini Atzeres, which has eight days.

[I would catagorize it as historical rather than pragmatic, but that is
the clear indication from the story in Maccabes 1, and I think also
mentioned in the letter that goes out to the Jewish communites in the
beginning of Maccabes II if memory holds out. Mod.]

A Freilich Chanukah to the Mail.Jewish family!


From: Janice Gelb <j_gelb@...>
Date: Wed, 24 Dec 2003 14:03:11 -0800 (PST)
Subject: Chanuka Miracle 8 Days or 7?

I find it interesting that the person asking this question is from
Melbourne, as I am currently visiting that city from the U.S. and at the
city-wide Chanukah celebration last night, Rabbi Tenenbaum from the East
Melbourne Hebrew Congregation spoke on this issue! He said there are
over 100 answers to this question, but the one he chose was that just
the finding of a small cache of purified oil in the midst of the
destruction to be able to light for the first day was the first miracle,
and the lasting of the small amount of oil for the next seven days was
the continuation of that miracle.

Chanukah sameach!

-- Janice

From: Ari Trachtenberg <trachten@...>
Date: Tue, 23 Dec 2003 10:58:20 -0500
Subject: Re: Chanuka Miracle 8 Days or 7?

What I remember learning was that the miracle was that the first day
consumed only 1/8'th of the typical oil usage, and subsequentely 1/8'th
per day.  As such, the miracle really did last eight days.

Ari Trachtenberg,                                      Boston University
http://people.bu.edu/trachten                    mailto:<trachten@...>

From: Yisroel Weisz <hotmailandaol@...>
Date: Tue, 23 Dec 2003 06:51:54 -0800 (PST)
Subject: Chanuka Miracle 8 Days or 7?

His response to the famous question concerning the number of days in
chanukkah, saying as follows: it could not resemble the beis hamikdosh.
Well is that a reason why we would add an extra day?! 

The question at hand is, How many days did the miracle last? and he
doesn't answer that at all!

secondly i have trouble understanding the question?
What would be the logic to say the miracle was seven days?
Suggest too me a scenario that will lead us to that conclusion?

Some miracle had too happen on the first day-either that of the jug
refilling or that it didnt burn that quickly or there was 7/8 left in the
jug, so i know there is an explanation but i have yet too find a truly
satisfying one

yisroel weisz


From: Shalom Kohn <skohn@...>
Date: Wed, 24 Dec 2003 10:28:26 -0600
Subject: Chanukah

On the subject of the "seasonal" emphasis on Chanukah, seemingly
disproportionate to the importance of the holiday in the Jewish calendar:

    When I was growing up, it bothered me a great deal that Chanukah's
    importance was being exaggerated in order to give Jewish children
    "equal time" compared to the onslaught of lights, music, gifts, etc.
    of the Holiday season (even apart from the fact that the puny menorah
    among the mass of Xmas symbols was itself discouraging).  At the
    time, I felt this debased Jewish values by being imitative. 
    Eventually, however, I came to recognize that underlying the miracle
    of the oil, the essence of Chanukah was the reaffirmation of
    traditional Jewish values in the face of the dominant Hellenistic
    culture.   That is precisely what we are doing today when we make a
    big deal about Chanukah during the Holiday season -- especially when
    we do so through the symbolism of the menorah, which represents the
    illumination offered by Jewish thought and mores.  Thus,
    paradoxically, Chanukah is in fact serving its historical role of
    being the vehicle for Jewish self-expression in face of a dominant

Shalom L. Kohn
Sidley, Austin, Brown & Wood LLP
Bank One Plaza, 10 South Dearborn, Chicago, IL 60603
312-853-7756, 312-853-7036 (fax)


From: Edward Ehrlich <eehrlich@...>
Date: Thu, 25 Dec 2003 16:52:43 +0200
Subject: Chanukah and Music

Michael Rogovin wrote:

>That Chanukah assumes the prominience it does even in Israel is likely
>to reflect the influence of the galut brought to Israel by olim. But as
>I have not been in Israel for Chanukah in many years, I welcome rebuttal
>from Israelis on the list.

In my opinion, there are other reasons for the prominence of Hanukah in
Israel.  For one thing, it's a school holiday which means that there are
many events - both directly connected with Hanukah and others not - to
keep the kids entertained.  It also lends itself to public ceremonies.
For instance, while during an Israeli folk dance session I was at this
week, a short break was taken to light a Hanukiah, recite the blessings,
sing Maoz Tzur and of course consume large quantities of sufganiyot.
Hanukah is a holiday that religious Jews, nationalistic Jews and
religious-nationalistic Jews all enjoy.

Hag Urim Samayakh,

Ed Ehrlich <eehrlich@...>
Jerusalem, Israel

From: Naomi Kingsley <rogerk@...>
Date: Wed, 24 Dec 2003 15:08:31 +0200
Subject: Re: Chanukah and Music

I don't think chanukah is so prominent in Israel - it is more that the
schools are shut for a whole week, therefore concerts, performances for
children, etc, - similarly on hol hamoed, there are activities for
children and adults, but hol hamoed is rarely a whole week - there is
usually shabbat in the middle.  People with young children might take
some days holiday to look after them, but for almost everyone except
teachers chanukah is work as usual [with some people leaving earlier
than usual to light on time] I read in the paper last week that toy shop
owners reported chanukah as NOT being the busiest time of year - rosh
hashanah and pesach generate more business; parents are more likely to
buy small toys for chanukah

Naomi Kingsley

From: Kibi Hofmann <kibi@...>
Date: Wed, 24 Dec 2003 13:04:22 +0200
Subject: Chanukah and Music

In mail-jewish Vol. 41 #54 Michael Rogovin wrote:
>That Chanukah assumes the prominience it does even in Israel is likely
>to reflect the influence of the galut brought to Israel by olim. But as
>I have not been in Israel for Chanukah in many years, I welcome rebuttal
>from Israelis on the list.

I can't offer a full rebuttal, but I was under the impression that the
Zionist "founding fathers" somewhat hijacked the story of Chanukah to
show it as a story of the "new Jew" (strong, upstanding, fighting man,
as opposed to the "old Jew" of the ghetto) so it was celebrated with
great emphasis on the military aspects of the story as opposed to the
miracles (and hardly at all about the oil miracle).

Certainly nowadays with the current Israeli media emphasis being
anti-military too, the festival has somewhat further slipped to a simple
"festival of lights" with no deeper explanation. I'm sure the
present-giving bit is a Christmassy influence, but I'm not sure you can
blame the "galut influence" on Olim - Israel is open enough to the world
that anyone watching TV (and everyone is) sees the regular December
buildup, and naturally wants a piece of the fun.

Still, there's always the hope that the little lights (whyever someone
lit them) will have their effect and send a spark into a cold soul.

A lichtige Chanukah



From: Nathan Lamm <nelamm18@...>
Date: Tue, 23 Dec 2003 07:02:48 -0800 (PST)
Subject: Eight-day Chanukkah; Mossad Harav Kook

The only thing I know of about Mossad Harav Kook on the internet is
http://www.virtualgeula.com/mrk/mrk.htm . In addition, Judaica Press
(www.judaicapress.com) is selling the new English Da'at Mikrah.

Regarding the eight-day Chanukkah: The book of Maccabees makes it clear
that an eight-day celebration was made because, that year, they had been
unable to properly celebrate Sukkot (eight days), having been off
fighting in the hills. So that year- and those following, and
encouraging other Jewish communities (for example, in Alexandria) to do
so- they actually waved lulavim and esrogim on Chanukkah as well. It
should also be pointed out that lights play a part in Sukkot as well, in
the Simchat Beit Hashoeva. The idea of a miracle is not mentioned until
the gemara.

Another likely source for the eight-day holiday is that there's much
precedent for them when dealing with the Mikdash. Moshe took eight days
to inaugurate the Mishkan; Shlomo took the same (plus or at the same
time as Sukkot), as did Chizkiya and, later, Yoshia when they
rededicated; Ezra and Nechemia also took eight days. It's therefore only
natural that the Chashmonaim took eight as well. (The symbolism of eight
days may also be reflected in the time for a bris.)

The idea that the intention was to avoid using a seven-branch menorah is
untenable. First, seven branched lamps made to resemble the menorah have
been found from the Second Temple era. Second, the custom of lighting an
extra light every night is rather late- the actual mitzvah is simply to
light one candle every night (also pointing to a Sukkot-like origin).

Nachum Lamm


End of Volume 41 Issue 58