The menorah symbolizes the burning light in the temple, as well as marking the eight days of the Chanukah festival. Some say it also celebrates the light of freedom won by the Maccabees for the Jewish people. About 2200 years ago, Greek kings, who reigned from Damascus, ruled over the land of Judea and the Jews living there. One Greco-Syrian King, Antiochus Epiphanes, forbade the Jewish people from praying to their God, practicing their customs, and studying their Torah. Antiochus forced the Jews to worship the Greek gods. In response to this persecution, Judah Maccabee and his four brothers organized a group of resistance fighters known as the Maccabees. Against great odds, the Maccabees succeeded to drive the Greco-Syrians out of Judea. The Maccabees reclaimed the Holy Temple in Jerusalem. They cleaned the Temple, removing the Greek symbols and statues. When Judah and his followers finished cleaning the temple, they rededicated it. On the 25th day of the month of Kislev in 164 BCE, the Temple was purified and rededicated.
According to tradition, when the Maccabees entered the Holy Temple, they discovered that the Greco-
Syrians had defiled the oil which was used to Temple's menorah. Only one vat of purified oil
remained - enough for only one day. It would take the Jews a week to process more purified oil. Then a miracle occurred (yes my Christian friends, they happened before Jesus also). The Maccabees lit the menorah and it burned for not one, but eight days, by which time the new, purified oil was ready. This is why the Chanukah Menorah has eight candles.
PS, OK because I am so goia I'm not sure whether you spell it Chanukah or Hanukkah. Enlighten me please.
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