CHAPTER TWO

HANUKKAH-THE FESTIVAL OF LIGHTS

 

1 BACKGROUND

 

Hanukkah, or the Feast of Lights, begins on the eve of the 25th day of the Hebrew month of Kislev (the third month of the Jewish calendar) and lasts for eight days. The Hebrew word hanukkah (also written Hannukah or Chanukah) means dedication. The festival is a celebration of God's deliverance of the Jews in 165 B.C. That year, the Jews won their first struggle for religious freedom by defeating the Hellenistic Syrians, who tried to force them to give up Judaism. This story is told in the two books of Maccabees in the Apocrypha.

 

In 168 BC the Temple was dedicated to the worship of Zeus Olympius by order of Antiochus. An altar to Zeus was set up on the high altar. A three-year struggle against Antiochus was led by Judah Maccabee. The Jews in Judea defeated the Syrian tyrant Antiochus IV and Jerusalem was recaptured in 165 BC. Judah Maccabee had the Temple purged and a new altar put up in place of the desecrated one. The Temple was then rededicated to God with festivities that lasted eight days. According to Talmudic tradition, only one cruse of pure olive oil, sealed by the High Priest and necessary for the rededication ritual, could be found, but that small quantity burned miraculously for eight days.

 

A principal feature of the present-day celebration, commemorating this miracle, is the lighting of lights. Each evening, one candle is lit in a special eight-branched candelabrum called a menorah or hanukkiyah. Beginning on the second night, one candle is added every night until the total reaches eight on the last night. The candles are lit by a separate ninth candle called a shamash. Today, most menorahs use candles, but some use oil and wicks. Hence, we refer to the hanukkah lights rather than candles.

 

A famous debate took place in Talmudic times concerning the order in which the Hanukkah lights should be lit. The school of Shamai claimed that on the first day, eight lights are lit and then they are gradually reduced by one each day. In contrast the school of Hillel argued that on the first day one light is lit and and thereafter the number is progressively increased. Hillel explained that as we increase the light, we increase the holiness in the world. (Talmud Babli, Shabbat, 21a). Hillels opinion prevailed.

 

During Hanukkah, gifts are exchanged and contributions made to the poor. There is a Jewish tradition of giving Hanukkah gelt, real or candy money, to children on this festival. This tradition has evolved into eight nights of giving and receiving presents. Many claim that this may have more to do with the influence of Christmas in America than with the tradition of Hanukkah. Parents not wanting their children to feel bad for not receiving as many presents as their non-Jewish friends, may have begun this custom.

 

It is a custom to eat foods fried in oil during Hanukkah. This is a reminder of the miracle of the oil that lasted eight days. Latkes, or fried potato pancakes, are usually eaten during this festival. In Israel, the custom is to serve sufganiot, which are jelly doughnuts fried in oil.

 

Also associated with this festival is the spinning top referred to as a dreidel. It is a four-sided top containing a letter on each side and is used to play games with. Each letter stands for one word of the Hebrew phrase A great miracle happened there (here). The Hebrew letter, nun, stands for nes, or miracle; the gimmel stands for gadol, great; the heh, stands for hiyah, happened; and the shin, stands for sham, there, or when played in Israel, peh, which stands for po, here.

 

It is important that you read the introduction in order to put the activities that follow in their correct framework.

 

2 LEXICAL ITEMS

top, spin, eight, candles, oil, miracle, jug, light, Menorah, potato pancakes (latkes), Hanukkah gelt (money), Judah Maccabee, Temple in Jerusalem, doughnut.

 

Ideas for different levels

Grade 4/5: Word search 1 together with word bank.

Grade 5/6: Word search 2 with or without word bank. Find words related to Hanukkah and use them in sentences.

 

Activity Hanukkah Word Search 1.

 

In the word search below you have words going in all directions:

There are 12 things all related to

the title.

The Festival of Light

 

S S C G W D P N X A O Y S Y Z

L P E V N M F X U N P Q C F P

A B I K G Z I P J T H L U E S

E O N N A C C R K I Z S N T Q

I A Z D N C I N A O M S V A Z

G W L Z Q I N N M C D T K L B

H L R G D F N A Q H L N L I O

T M Z F L N C G P U V E P Y V

M Y B I B C S G T S N S S B N

C G G D A E O Q E O A E B S J

L H D B L Y O N F T P R Y Y N

T M E D M E N O R A H P F X M

N E N V N R V F O Z V U H R I

S A R O F V B H A Y L Z L I Q

C T U N H G U O D U G N L M C

 

Word Bank 1: Antiochus, candles, doughnut, eight, Maccabees, light, Menorah, miracle, oil, pancakes, presents, spinning top.

Activity Hanukkah Word Search 2.

 

In the word search below you have words going in all directions:

 

There are 19 things all related to

the title.

 

Hanukkah

 

M Y D A X O E K D S J N N G H M S

A A I W N R S O L H E F I J E H E

C D R Z I T U F B O I L O P T F K

C I K N V G I Y R G T G D F A R A

A L Y Y H H H O H B I W I N X O C

B O Q N Z A L T C H I F R D A C N

E H U E R M I T M H Y S F T V C A

E T S O H R O Z W T U L T L N J P

S T N E S E R P N L G S V M B Q O

M E L A S U R E J N I E L P M E T

M J I B X P W W M I R A C L E J A

B U T G O T M A T T A T H I A S T

A D Y T H G Q J K P J Y E N O M O

V A E B D T O D T H G I L N T G P

E H L I N K U F E S P I N M M B H

 



 

Word bank 2: Antiochus, candles, doughnut, eight, holiday, Judah, light, Maccabees, Mattathias, Menorah, miracle, money, oil, potato pancakes, presents, spin, Temple in Jerusalem, top, twenty-fifth.

3 SONGS

Hanukkah (Tune: )

Hanukkah, Hanukkah,

Happy, joyous day.

Singing songs all day long.

Dance and sing and play.

Hanukkah, Hanukkah,

Spin your dreidles, spin,

Spin, spin, spin (x2)

Spin and you may win!

 

Hanukkah (Tune: )

Hanukkah is near.

Give a cheer. (x2)

It is here.

The holiday is bright.

Shine a light. (x2 )

Every night.

And while we are playing,

The candles are burning bright.

 

One for each night.

They give us light. (x2)

To remember

Macabees fight!

The dreidel on the floor goes round and round.

(Tune: The wheels on the bus go round and round.)

The dreidel on the floor goes round and round,

round and round, round and round.

The dreidel on the floor goes round and round,

All around the room.

The children watch the dreidel go round and round,

round and round, round and round.

The children watch the dreidel go round and round,

On what letter will it stop?

 

Little Latke (Tune: "I'm a little teapot.")

I'm a little latke, round and brown,

Here is my upside, here is my down.

When I am all ready, take a bite,

And eat me up on Hanukkah night.

 

Hanukkah Candles (Tune: "Ten Little Indians.")

One little, two little, three little candles,

Four little, five little, six little candles,

Seven little, eight little, nine little candles,

In my Hanukkah lamp.

 

Hanukkah's A Happy Time (Tune: "Mary Had A Little Lamb. ")

Hanukkah's a happy time, happy time, happy time.

Hanukkah's a happy time, The festival of lights.

4 ACTIVITIES

 

Title: Changing pictures.

Level: Grade 3.

Materials: Pictures of 6 lexical items connected to the festival (candle, doughnuts, miracle, oil, present, top.)

Aims:

-to reinforce lexical items presented.

-to practise sound-letter recognition.

-to practise physical formation of letters.

Description:

Present 6 lexical items connected to the festival (candle, doughnuts, miracle, oil, present, top.)

Have the children guess the first letter of each word.

Stand up pictures of the lexical items and revise with the pupils.

Tell the pupils to close their eyes and remove one of the items.

Tell the pupils to open their eyes and tell you which item is missing.

The pupil who guesses chooses someone to leave the room and then removes an item. The pupil outside comes back into the room and guesses what has been removed. Another pupil goes outside and the pupil who was outside now removes an item. This activity can be continued several times.

 

Title: Spin the dreidle.

Level: Grade 3/4.

Materials: Dreidle and 4 envelopes marked with the Hebrew letters

. For grade 3 place, in each envelope, pictures of lexical items that your pupils know. For grade 4 place, in each envelope, 7 10 letters of the alphabet.

Aims:

-to revise lexical items presented from the beginning of the year.

Description:

Teach the song The dreidle goes round and round.

At end of song actually spin a dreidle.

For grade 3 pupils have a pupil choose a picture from the envelope labeled with the letter the dreidle landed on, and say what it is.

For grade 4 pupils have a pupil choose a letter from the envelope labeled with the letter the dreidle landed on, and give as many words as they know starting with that letter. Write the words on the blackboard and have the pupils copy them in alphabetical order or in word groups (use parts of speech or topics.)

 

Title: Coded words.

Level: Grade 4.

Materials: A copy of the A=1, B=2, C=3 code. Worksheet of coded message. Pictures of 6 lexical items connected to the festival (candle, doughnuts, miracle, oil, present, top.)

Aims:

-to revise the order of the ABC.

-to reinforce lexical items presented.

-to practise physical formation of letters.

Description:

If your class knows the ABC song sing it as a quick review of the order of the letters.

Present 6 lexical items connected to the festival (candle, doughnuts, miracle, oil, present, top.)

Put up a chart of the A=1, B=2, C=3 code.

Explain how the code works by working a few examples on the blackboard. E.g. 3,1, 20 (cat), 4, 15,7 (dog) 2, 15, 25 (boy) etc. (If you think you will need more examples prepare them in advance and re-enter lexical items known to the pupils.)

Hand out the worksheet. Explain what the pupils have to do. Using the code they have to find the words related to the festival. Beneath the coded words are 6 squares. You can choose one or a combination of the following

                   draw pictures to illustrate the items.

                   write the translation of each item.

                   write the item using lower case letters.

 

Title: Decode the message.

Level: Grade 4.

Materials: A=1, B=2, C=3 code, worksheet.

Aims:

-to revise the order of the ABC.

-to practise physical formation of letters.

Description:

Hand out the worksheet. Explain that the pupils have to use the code to find the hidden message. Depending on the level of the group this can be done with or without the code in front of them. Once they have worked out the hidden message you can have them write the question (in this case copy the worksheet without the question.)

 

Activity HERE IS THE CODE.

 

 

 

A=1 B=2 C=3 D=4 E=5

 

F=6 G=7 H=8 I=9 J=10

 

K=11 L=12 M=13 N=14 O=15

 

P=16 Q=17 R=18 S=19 T=20

 

U=21 V=22 W=23 X=24 Y=25

 

Z=26

 

 

ACTIVITY Use the A=1, B=2, C=3 code and find things about

Hanukkah. Write the letters as capital letters.

 

__ __ __

15 9 12

 

__ __ __ __

1 20 15 16

 

__ __ __ __ __ __ __ __

1 16 18 5 19 5 14 20

 

 

__ __ __ __ __ __ __

1 3 1 14 4 12 5

 

 

__ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __

4 15 21 7 8 14 21 20 19

 

__ __ __ __ __ __ __ __

1 13 9 18 1 3 12 5

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ACTIVITY CAN YOU FIND THE HIDDEN MESSAGE?

 

Use the A=1, B=2, C=3 code to find the hidden message.

 

__ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __

9 14 9 19 18 1 5 12 20 8 5 12 5 20 20 5 18

 

 

__ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __

16 5 8 9 19 21 19 5 4 9 14 19 20 5 1 4

 

__ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ .

15 6 20 8 5 12 5 20 20 5 18 19 8 9 14

 

__ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __. __

16 5 8 13 5 1 14 19 8 5 18 5 1

 

__ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __

13 9 18 1 3 12 5 8 1 16 16 5 14 5 4

 

__ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __. __ __ __

8 5 18 5 9 14 9 19 18 1 5 12 15 21 20

 

__ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __

15 6 9 19 18 1 5 12 25 15 21 19 1 25

 

__ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __

20 8 5 18 5 20 15 13 5 1 14

 

 

__ __ __ __ __ __ .

9 19 18 1 5 12

 

This is the answer to which question?

 

 

 

What is the difference between an Israeli dreidel and an American dreidel?

 

Title: Bingo.

Level: Grade 4/5.

Materials: Pictures of items to be used in bingo, bingo cards.

Aims:

-to learn items connected with the festival.

-to practise listening skills.

Description:

Present the lexical items which will be on the bingo sheet (candle, present, menorah, dreidle, jug of oil, eight days, doughnuts, 25th of Kislev).

Hand each pupil a bingo card. Teacher calls items and pupils tick the item if it is on their card. The first one to completely fill the card calls out Bingo.

Pupils can then illustrate their cards and place them in their portfolios.

 

Title: Jumbled story.

Level: Grade 5/6.

Materials: Jumbled story.

Aims:

-to revise the story of the festival.

-to practise reading skills via sequencing events.

-to practise listening skills.

Description:

Elicit the story of Hanukkah from the pupils. Place key words on blackboard. Check that any words you think your pupils will have difficulty with are on the board.

Explain the task (You will receive the story of Hanukkah but it is all mixed up. You have to put it in the correct order) and hand the pupils the sheets. Allow 10-15 minutes to complete the task. Go over the correct order by allowing different students to read out different lines.

Teacher reads the final version while pupils listen and correct.

Pupils rewrite the final version and place it in their portfolios.

 

Title: Find the mistakes.

Level: Grade 6.

Materials: Summary with incorrect facts.

Aims:

-to revise the meaning of the festival.

-to practise reading skills via isolating the false facts.

-to practise listening skills.

Description:

Elicit the story of Hanukkah from the pupils. Place key words on blackboard. Check that any words you think your pupils will have difficulty with are on the board.

Explain the task (You will receive a summary of Hanukkah but it contains false facts. Underline these false facts and correct them.) . Allow 10-15 minutes to complete the task. Go over the tasks by allowing different students to read out different corrections.

Teacher reads the final version while pupils listen and correct.

Pupils rewrite the final version and place it in their portfolios.

 

Activity BINGO CARDS - 9 VARIATIONS USING THE EIGHT LEXICAL ITEMS PRESENTED.

 

 

 

candle

 

 

 

Present

 

 

menorah

 

 

 

Dreidle

 

jug of

oil

 

 

Doughnuts

 

 

 

 

 

candle

 

 

 

Present

 

 

menorah

 

 

 

eight days

 

the 25th of

Kislev

 

 

Doughnuts

 

 

 

eight days

 

 

 

Present

 

menorah

 

 

Dreidle

 

jug of

oil

 

 

Doughnuts

 

 

candle

 

 

Present

 

 

menorah

 

 

 

Dreidle

 

jug of

oil

 

 

eight days

 

 

 

candle

 

 

 

Present

 

 

menorah

 

 

 

eight days

 

the 25th of

Kislev

 

 

Doughnuts

 

 

 

eight days

 

 

 

the 25th of

Kislev

 

 

 

menorah

 

 

 

Dreidle

 

jug of

oil

 

 

Doughnuts

 

 

 

candle

 

 

 

Present

 

 

menorah

 

 

 

Dreidle

 

the 25th of

Kislev

 

 

eight days

 

 

 

 

 

candle

 

 

 

Present

 

jug of

oil

 

 

 

eight days

 

the 25th of

Kislev

 

 

Doughnuts

 

 

the 25th of

Kislev

 

 

 

present

 

 

Menorah

 

 

 

dreidle

 

jug of

oil

 

 

doughnuts

 

ACTIVITY READ THE FOLLOWING CAREFULLY.

PUT THE LINES INTO THE CORRECT ORDER.

 

THE STORY OF HANNUKAH

 

We must fight the Syrian Greeks, says Mattiyahu.

Finally, the Jews find a small jug of oil. They light the Menorah.

He says, You mustnt study your special books.

 

In the year 168 B.C.E. the Syrian Greeks rule over Israel. They want the Jews to be like them.

 

Mattiyahu and his five sons do not agree with King Antiochus. They want to keep their religious laws.

 

The cruel King Antiochus says, You mustnt keep the Sabbath .

 

The Syrian Greeks put statues in the holy temple.

 

The Jews fight the Syrian Greeks. They fight very bravely. They win the war.

 

The Menorah burns for eight days. It is a miracle.

 

They go into the temple and throw out all the statues.

 

They look for some pure oil to light the Menorah.

 

When Alexander the Great dies his Empire is divided among his generals.

 

ACTIVITY Find the Mistakes

The celebration of Hanukkah begins on the 23rd day of the month of Kislev and lasts for eight days. It usually occurs in September. The festival reminds us of the victory of Judah Maccabee over the Egyptians. In 168 B.C.E. the Temple was dedicated to the worship of the Jewish g-d Zeus by order of Antiochus. When Judah Maccabee recaptured the Temple three years later, he destroyed the statues and rededicated the Temple. To do this he needed to use pure oil. But there were only 2 small jugs of pure oil. The oil lasted for ten days. This was the miracle of Hanukkah. To remember this miracle we light Hanukkah lights. On the first night we light eight candles and on the last night we light only one. We also eat foods fried in oil. We eat potato chips.

 

 

Correction:

 

The celebration of Hanukkah begins on the 25th day of the month of Kislev and lasts for eight days. It usually occurs in December. The festival reminds us of the victory of Judah Maccabee over the Syrian Greeks. In 168 B.C.E. the Temple was dedicated to the worship of the Greek g-d Zeus by order of Antiochus. When Judah Maccabee recaptured the Temple three years later, he destroyed the statues and rededicated the Temple. To do this he needed to use pure oil. But there was only 1 small jug of pure oil. The oil lasted for eight days. This was the miracle of Hanukkah. To remember this miracle we light Hanukkah lights. On the first night we light one candle and on the last night we light eight. We also eat foods fried in oil. We eat potato pancakes (latkes).

 

Title: The miracle story.

Level: Grade 6.

Materials: A copy of the story. A list of questions.

Aims:

-to practise listening skills.

-to practise note-taking.

Description:

Read the story to the pupils. While they are listening have them to write down the main ideas to help them remember the story. This can be done in L1 or the target language. When you have finished reading the story ask the pupils for their reactions.

Ask the pupils some key questions to check they comprehended the sequence of events. Possible questions:

1.      What is wrong with Andrew?

2.      What did Tess want to buy?

3.      Where does she go?

4.      How does she try to make the pharmacist notice her?

5.      Can the pharmacist help Tess?

6.      Who does help Tess?

7.      Does her brother get better?

8.      How much does the miracle cost?

 

Follow-up activity. After the pupils have listened to the story, and discussed it they should write it up in their portfolio. This can take one of the following forms:

1.      Answer the questions asked in class.

2.      Retell the story they heard.

3.      Write down how they felt/reacted to the story.

4.      Write a paragraph about what a miracle is.

 

Here is a copy of the story about Tess and the Miracle. With thanks to the anonymous contributor who sent this into the ETNI list.

 

Tess was a precocious eight year old when she heard her Mom and Dad talking about her little brother, Andrew. All she knew was that he was very sick and they were completely out of money. They were moving to an apartment complex next month because Daddy didn't have the money for the doctor's bills and our house. Only very costly surgery could save him now, and it was looking like there was no-one to loan them the money. She heard Daddy say to her tearful Mother with whispered desperation, "Only a miracle can save him now."

 

Tess went to her bedroom and pulled a glass jelly jar from its hiding place in the closet. She poured all the change out on the floor and counted it carefully. Three times, even. The total had to be exactly perfect. No chance here for mistakes. Carefully placing the coins back in the jar and twisting on the cap, she slipped out the back door and made her way 6 blocks to Rexall's Drug Store with the big red Indian Chief sign above the door. She waited patiently for the pharmacist to give her some attention but he was too busy at this moment. Tess twisted her feet to make a scuffing noise. Nothing. She cleared her throat with the most disgusting sound she could muster. No good. Finally she took a quarter from her jar and banged it on the glass counter. That did it!" And what do you want?" the pharmacist asked in an annoyed tone of voice. "I'm talking to my brother from Chicago whom I haven't seen in ages," he said without waiting for a reply to his question.

 

"Well, I want to talk to you about my brother," Tess answered back in the same annoyed tone. "He's really, really sick... and I want to buy a miracle."

 

"I beg your pardon?" said the pharmacist.

 

"His name is Andrew and he has something bad growing inside his head and my Daddy says only a miracle can save him now. So how much does a miracle cost?"

 

"We don't sell miracles here, little girl. I'm sorry but I can't help you," the pharmacist said, softening a little.

 

"Listen, I have the money to pay for it. If it isn't enough, I will get the rest. Just tell me how much it costs." The pharmacist's brother was a well-dressed man. He stooped down and asked the little girl, "What kind of a miracle does your brother need?"

 

"I don't know," Tess replied with her eyes welling up. "I just know he's really sick and Mommy says he needs an operation. But my Daddy can't pay for it, so I want to use my money.

 

How much do you have?" asked the man from Chicago.

 

One dollar and eleven cents," Tess answered barely audibly. And it's all the money I have, but I can get some more if I need to.

 

Well, what a coincidence," smiled the man. "A dollar and eleven

cents--the exact price of a miracle for little brothers." He took her

money in one hand and with the other hand he grasped her mitten and said, "Take me to where you live. I want to see your brother and meet your parents. Let's see if I have the kind of miracle you need."

 

 

That well dressed man was Dr. Carlton Armstrong, a surgeon

specializing in neuro-surgery. The operation was completed without

charge and it wasn't long until Andrew was home again and doing well.

 

Mom and Dad were happily talking about the chain of events that had led them to this place. "That surgery," her Mom whispered, "was a real miracle. I wonder how much it would have cost?"

 

Tess smiled. She knew exactly how much a miracle cost... one dollar and eleven cents

 

(......plus the faith of a little child. A miracle is not the suspension of natural law, but the operation of a higher law)

 

 

ETNI stands for the English Teachers Network in Israel. It can be found at www.etni.org.il

 

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