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Hanukkah meaning


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🔼The name Hanukkah: Summary

Inauguration, Dedication
From the root חנך (hanak), to inaugurate or train.

🔼The name Hanukkah in the Bible

The festival of Hanukkah is mentioned only once in the Bible, namely in John 10:22, where it's referred to as εγκαινια (egkainia), literally meaning Renewal. This unique word is formed from the rather common adjective καινος (kainos), meaning new (which occurs 44 times in the New Testament; see full concordance).

The festival of Hanukkah ties into the restoration of the Jewish Kingdom, which lasted about a century, until the Romans annexed Judea in 63 BC. Concerns about an autonomous Jewish state strongly influenced the political background and thus the very format of the New Testament: Jesus was known as the Christ, which was the signature title of the Jewish king. Hence certain factions (most likely the original "Christians") aimed to make him the political king of the Jews, which was something Jesus diligently avoided (John 6:15).

The festival of Hanukkah celebrates the victory of the Maccabees over the Seleucid tyrants, who had desecrated the Temple in Jerusalem with idols and such. The first thing the victors did was to re-ignite the temple's Ner Tamid, or Eternal Lamp, which signifies the synthetic light of reason, science and technology, which is the light that separates modern humans from our most remote ancestors. The Great Light of the Word of God (Isaiah 9:2) becomes the many lights of the enlightened minds of man (Daniel 12:3). And the Word came to humanity first through speech (words don't grow on trees and are thus as synthetic as a pair of sneakers), then script (see our article on YHWH) and the highly technological tabernacle plus its Menorah and other implements (see Exodus 31:1-11).

In our article on the name Aenon we explain that the "human nature" of Jesus has nothing to do with his biological descent and everything with law and algorithmic thought, and thus with science and technology — his earthly profession was that of τεκτον (tekton), meaning assembler, which is a word that is tellingly closely related to our English words "text" and "technology". There is, of course, nothing "unnatural" about science and technology because science and technology are typically very much based on natural law. But where unenlightened man is slave to natural law, enlightened man masters natural law. And that makes the difference between a caveman and an astronaut.

🔼Ad Astra

Jesus is also Lord of the Sabbath (Matthew 12:8), and the purpose of the Sabbath was to wean humans off the natural cycles (day, night, summer, winter) to which the whole natural world is subdued, and create a world based on the calendar. Unlike a perfectly stable synthetic light, natural light turns on and off every day, and becomes stronger and weaker every summer and winter. Our modern human world, with its cities and wonders, is of course based wholly on light that stays the same always, and can be truly counted on. Hence Moses sang: "Teach us to number our days, that we may present to You a heart of wisdom" (Psalm 90:12). That has nothing to do with counting one's birthdays. It has to do with developing a lifestyle that is not forcibly subjected to the cycles of the sun, but rather to the permanence of collective reason and intelligence.

The word Ner Tamid, or Eternal Lamp, signifies precisely that — and note that the word Ner, or נר (ner), lamp, is the same as the name of the grandfather of Saul, whereas Tamid or תמיד (tamid) relates to the verb מדד (madad), meaning to measure. The Ner Tamid is not simply the Eternal Lamp, it's the Light of Measurement, the Light of Science and Technology. King David called God's Word a lamp (Psalm 119:105), which is a synthetic device that keeps going when properly maintained. He did not call God's Word a sun, which every evening sets and leaves the creatures of the world in an inescapable darkness.

The light of technology is not based on natural cycles, nor on emotions, vague suspicions or the biased will of some tyrant, but rather on verifiable measurements and theories that can be confirmed by everybody who is able to make the same measurements and has the same know-how of what's going on.

In our modern world, the feast of Hanukkah offers an alternative to Christmas, which is on all accounts a pagan festival. Christmas primarily commemorates the turn of the natural cycle of the sun and glorifies ignorance, superstition, gluttony and ultimately fascism, the victory of the mighty and the extermination of the weak. Christmas commemorates the birth of emperor Augustus, who was nicknamed the Light, the Savior of the World, the King of Kings, and the Son of the Divine, and whose birth was called the Evangel or Good News (see the "Calendar Inscription" of Priene, of 9 BC). Emperor Augustus, and his lasting legacy, obviously represents everything that the Ner Tamid opposes (and in case you are wondering: the only actual difference between Augustus and Hitler is that Augustus won).

People beg for vitamin C, and the merchants of the world sell them orange flavored candy and teach them how to sing in perfect harmony. Likewise, people beg for technology (writing is information technology) to truly liberate them from the cruelty of the natural world and its principle of survival of the fittest, and the merchants of the world sell them the glorification of the legacy of a man who pretended to be God, who governed the world through his own best but disastrously flawed intentions and who centralized the world upon human madness — and that is Augustus, not Jesus.

The real Jesus Christ of the real Gospel (who was born when shepherds were in the field, and that is not in dead winter) represents a humanity of which every individual has enough wisdom and maturity to be wholly responsible and wholly free (see our article on ελευθερια, eleutheria, freedom-by-law); a humanity that has done away with centralization and all forms of human tyranny (1 Corinthians 15:24), that forms a collective world that comprises a living network based on equity, and which guarantees the survival of everybody, including the weak.

All over our modern world, people begin to realize that Jesus did not celebrate Christmas but Hanukkah, and that followers of Jesus likewise reject tyranny, fascism, fear, slavery, ignorance and superstition, and thus Christmas, and thus Father Christmas — whose iconography derives directly from that of the Trinitarian Father (have another coke, everyone!), who represents a "benevolent" tyrant who controls all labor and all information and who rewards those who faithfully glorify him rather than those who actually make themselves useful. Santa abruptly rejects "bad" children and sends them off to eternal doom, but Jesus died for "bad" children and continues to teach them until His own last breath. Christmas glorifies a children's holocaust. Hanukkah glorifies the Word of God.

🔼Hanukkah: the Hammer and the Temple

Hanukkah is rather alike Pascha (which celebrates Israel's escape from Egypt), and Purim (which celebrates Esther's victory over Haman) in that it commemorates the victory of Judas Maccabee over the Seleucids (= Greeks who ruled post-Alexander Persia and environs, including Palestine) in 164 BC. Enlightenment makes government superfluous, which is why tyrannical governments fight it. True to form, the Seleucids had outlawed Judaism (i.e. proto-science and information technology) and persecuted and murdered Jews. King Antiochus IV Epiphanes had seen fit to turn the temple of YHWH into a shrine for Zeus, complete with an altar dedicated to Zeus.

After the Maccabean revolt, the temple was cleansed and rededicated and Israel became an autonomous kingdom for the first time in centuries. This new kingdom was lost to the Romans, but when Jesus began to speak of his kingdom, the initial association of his audience was to an armed revolt on a par with that of the Maccabees.

The festival of Hanukkah is not simply a celebration of a military victory of eons ago. It ties into the rest of Scriptures by two main strands of symbolism:

First of all, Hanukkah commemorates the ongoing effort of all of us to remove falsehoods and tyranny from the Holy Place and replace it by adherence to God's Law (1 Peter 2:5), so as to become partakers of the very divine nature of God Himself (2 Peter 1:4, John 17:20-24, Ephesians 4:24, Hebrews 12:10).

The name Maccabee means Hammer, and although hammers may be used to create the temple's utensils (Exodus 25:18, 1 Kings 6:35, Nehemiah 10:2), hammers may not be used to hew the temple's stones (1 Kings 6:7) and that includes the stones of the altar (Exodus 20:24-25). The apocryphal book of First Maccabees tells the story of the Maccabean restoration: "They pulled down the altar [dedicated to Zeus] and stored away the stones in a suitable place on the temple hill, until there should arise a prophet to give decision about them. They took unhewn stones, as the Law directs, and built a new altar on the model of the previous one" (1 Maccabees 4:45b-47).

Whether the prophet Daniel had accurately predicted this particular pagan altar or whether this altar was a manifestation of a greater inevitability can't be said with certainty, but Jesus refers to an abomination that causes desolation, spoken of by Daniel (Matthew 24:15, Daniel 9:27 and 11:31, and note that Daniel's use of the title Messiah does not necessarily refer to Jesus Christ but may refer to any king, including those of the Hasmonean, that is Maccabean, dynasty).

The gospels of Mark and Luke convey the same or a similar passage, which they, quite tellingly, prologuize with the disciples admiring the stones of the temple (Mark 13:1, Luke 21:5). Jesus' famous response also seems to include a reply to the Maccabean question on what to do with the stones of the demolished old altar: they will be joined by the stones of the to be entirely demolished temple (Matthew 13:2). No matter how careful people construct their new temple, it will always be a continuation of the old one. "Something greater than the temple is here," said Jesus (Matthew 12:6).

Jesus goes on to speak of the sun, the moon and the stars (Matthew 13:24-25), which brings us to the second symbolic strand:

🔼The Story of Hanukkah, the Festival of Lights

According to Josephus, Hanukkah was initially known as the Feast of Lights and he supposed it was called that way because of the achieved "liberty beyond our hopes" (Antiquities XII.7.7.323).

In 2 Maccabees 1:18 we are told that the people celebrated the temple's purification in honor of the fire which appeared to Nehemiah. The legend had it that just prior to the exile, priests hid the fire of the altar in a dry well. When seventy years later Nehemiah searched for it, he found not a fire but a thick liquid. This liquid was poured onto the restored altar and combusted when the sun came out. A remnant of the liquid was poured out over some other stones, combusted again, but burned out when the fire on the altar outshone it (2 Maccabees 1:32).

The common Hebrew word for lights, however, is מאור (ma'or), from the verb אור ('or):

Excerpted from: Abarim Publications' Biblical Dictionary

The verb אור ('or) means to be light or to give light; to shine. This verb's primary derivative is the expectable noun אור ('or), meaning light. The 'metaphor' that relates light to wisdom may not be a metaphor, or at least not to the ancients. In our article on the verb נהר (nahar), meaning both to flow and to shine, we show that the ancients had a surprisingly solid grasp of Relativity Theory.

Hanukkah was originally called the Feast of Lights, because it commemorated the fourth creation day, the Day of Lights. Daniel tied the abomination that causes desolation to (a) seven weeks (Daniel 9:25), and (b) the middle of the week (Daniel 9:27) and also said, "those who have insight will shine brightly like the brightness of the expanse of heaven, and those who lead the many to righteousness, like the stars forever and ever" (Daniel 12:3).

The story goes that when the Maccabees liberated the Temple and reignited the Eternal Lamp, they only had enough oil for one day. They quickly sent runners to obtain more oil, but their trip took eight days to complete. Miraculously, the one-day supply of oil burned for eight days, and the lamp never extinguished. This story obviously ties into the stories of Elijah and the widow of Zarephath (1 Kings 17:14) and the prophet's widow's oil (2 Kings 4:1-7), which in turn are retold as the stories of Jesus' miraculous feeding of the masses (Matthew 15:32-39, John 6:1-14).

From its very beginning, the feast of Hanukkah lasted eight days (1 Maccabees 4:56), and eight days is the age at which a baby-boy is circumcised (Luke 2:21). Eight days ostentatiously surpasses one week and marks the beginning of a new era of creation. If we then recall that Pentecost, or the Feast of Weeks, is celebrated seven weeks after Passover, we may surmise that only very few witnesses of the flames that appeared on the disciples (Acts 2:3) did not tie this event to the Day of Lights, the purification of the temple and the great commission to reach all people under the heavens with Truth (Genesis 22:18, Zechariah 8:23, Matthew 28:19).

🔼Etymology of the name Hanukkah

The name Hanukkah is the same as the feminine noun חנכה (hanukka), meaning dedication, from the verb חנך (hanak):

Excerpted from: Abarim Publications' Biblical Dictionary

The root חנך (hanak) deals with the beginning of discernment, which is the beginning of wisdom: discernment via taste, which is the first discernment and thus mode of wisdom a baby learns (hence the many Biblical metaphors that equate wisdom with food or milk).

The noun חך (hek) means mouth as the seat of taste (the more common word for mouth, namely פה, peh, emphasizes the mouth as orifice). From the noun חך (hek) comes the verb חנך (hanak), to "mouth," i.e. to inaugurate, train or dedicate. Likewise, adjective חניך (hanik) means trained or experienced. Noun חנכה (hanukka) means dedication.

Noun חכה (hakka) describes a fishing hook, or a hook that grabs a prey's jaw, or rather a prey's sense of taste. Perhaps accidentally similar, but perhaps not, the verb חכה (haka) means to wait or await for, and particularly to wait for sustenance. Often this verb's object is the Creator, or the sustaining insight in the Laws of the Creator.

🔼Hanukkah meaning

The name Hanukkah is commonly understood to mean Dedication, but where our word dedication primarily conveys a devotion or consecration, the Hebrew word hanukka primarily describes a new beginning, or the initiation into a wholly renewed situation. As such our name means New Beginning or Initiation.

Note that Hanukkah relates to Enoch (who walked with God and was no more; Genesis 5:22) the way Israel relates to Jacob, and the Body of Christ relates to Jesus Christ. In each instance, the many (which is feminine) comes from the one (which is masculine). The very same relationship exists between Adam and Eve, who was called the "mother of all the living" (Genesis 3:20); what we moderns call the biosphere (hence Jeremiah 31:22). With all this we want to emphasize that both Hanukkah and the Gospel of Jesus Christ are natural phenomena, which can be studied and learned from what can be observed and what has been created (Romans 1:20), whereas Christmas and the gospel of Emperor Augustus (and his wretched seed) are unnatural, beastly and ultimately doomed.

Santa Claus personifies the polar opposite of God, and Christmas glorifies the birth of satan in human form (which is Augustus, the human emperor of the global empire). The birth of Jesus, who is the Word in human form, is celebrated wherever anyone renounces the cycles of their own feelings and embraces the authority of algorithmic thought, which is the same everywhere and for everyone. God is the harmonic oneness of all things (Deuteronomy 6:4, Romans 8:28-30), and no one comes to the Father than through Him in whom are all treasures of wisdom and knowledge (Colossians 2:3), who fulfils all Law (Matthew 5:17-19, Romans 13:8-13), whose love surpasses all knowledge (Ephesians 3:19) and whose peace surpasses all comprehension (Philippians 4:7).

Happy Hanukkah!