Welcome to The Fifth Day of Chanukah at JewishPath
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Light Five Candles

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Happy Chanukah!

Tonight is the fifth night of Chanukah. We light five candles and say two Blessings after dark. This is Erev Yom Reshon {29-09-5768}. First we light the server candle {The Shamis Candle} in the center to use as a lighter for our fifth, fourth, third, second and first candles.We light the fifth candle (that is the fifth candle from the right, not including the Shamis candle) then we light the fourth, third, second and first candles afterwards.

Print out the Blessings - Please be very careful with this printout it has the Holy Names of the Creator printed on it. Be careful not to drop it or set anything on it. Keep it in a safe place. When you are finsished using it please return it to:

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First Blessing over the lighting of the candle...
Blessed are you O L-rd our G-d, King of the universe, who has sanctified us through His commandments and commanded us to kindle the Chanukah lights.

Say the Blessing in Hebrew

Second Blessing in remerance of the miracles...
Blessed are you O L-rd our G-d, King of the universe, who brought miracles for our ancestors, in those days at this time {of year}.

Say the Blessing in Hebrew

What Were the Maccabees Fighting For?

by Rabbi Nachum Braverman
Aish HaTorah Los Angeles
( modified and used without permission )
It is ironic that Chanukah is so widely observed in America, because it's not clear that Jews today would side with the Maccabees. The Jews didn't battle the Greeks for political independence and Chanukah canít be recast as an early-day version of Israel against the Arabs. Chanukah commemorates a religious war. The Greeks were benevolent rulers bringing civilization and progress wherever they conquered. They were ecumenical and tolerant, creating a pantheon of gods into which they accepted the deities of all their subjects. Their only demand was acculturation into the melting pot of Greek civilization and religion.

The Jewish community was divided in response to this appeal. Some believed assimilation as a positive and modernizing influence and they welcomed the release from Jewish parochialism. Led by Judah Maccabee was a small group opposed to the Greek ideal, and prepared to fight and die to preserve the exclusive worship of Judaism. (The name 'Maccabee' is an acronym for the Torah Verse - Who is like you among the gods,

This was no war for abstract principles of religious tolerance. It was a battle against ecumenicism fought by people to whom Torah was their life and breath.Today Chanukah calls to us to combat assimilation in America and to fight for our heritage.

There were many who passively acquiesced. What is the use in opposing the force of history, they reasoned. We canít halt assimilation any more than we can stop the ocean tides or the passage of the seasons. Who would be so foolish as to oppose the inevitable? What chance do we have of convincing our children not to intermarry? Jewish particularism is a past value swept away on the waves of liberalism. With the barriers of anti-Semitism down and the land of opportunity beckoning, the day of cohesive Jewish community seems gone. It ís with resignation that we accept the spiraling intermarriage rate which spells our destruction as a people.

Remember the end of the story? Finally triumphant, Jews captured Jerusalem and rededicated the Temple. (The word Chanukah means dedication and refers to this act.)
They found just one flask of oil but the flame which should have lasted one day burned for eight. It testified that our determination was enhanced by some ineffable power suffusing our efforts with transcendent glow and power. Light the candles, says the holiday to us. Act vigorously, teach, reach. Courageously and with determination. And G-d Will Invest our
efforts With A Power, Permanence, and Glow -- far beyond our capacity to convey.

It's one of those quirks of the calendar: Chanukah and Xmas almost always coincide in December. The advertising industry will make sure that you don't forget it. As a result, many will be caught up in the mix of tides coming from Judaism and Christianity.

This is but a minute reflection of many of the paradoxes served up by the American melting pot. So why not hold it up to the light of history to see what the facts really are? You owe it to yourself before you dive into those December parties.

You could be fooled if you consider some superficial similarities: Two thousand years ago in ancient Israel under the occupation of an oppressive foreign power, a small family stands up for itself and launches a spiritual revolt. Armed with the belief that G-d Is On their side, they succeed in establishing a new religious identity. As a symbol of the miraculous nature of their victory, a new holiday is instituted that revolves around candles and light. Not merely one night of celebrations, but more than a week of joyous, glowing, holiday lights. Once again, the Jewish people proves that it is a Light Unto The Nations.

You see what I mean? It's easy to confuse the Maccabees with the early Christians. So much for the history. For many young Jews today, Chanukah is joyously combined with Xmas to produce such observances as Chanukah Bushes, Christmas menorahs, Xmas Chanukah gifts, Chanukah Xmas parties and celebrations. As more and more Jews intermarry, these things become accepted as the norm and the true meanings and origins of both religions are completely ignored.

A nice, happy connection is made where none ever existed. Consider the facts:
For two thousand years, there was never a connection between Xmas and Chanukah because they were celebrated by two different religions. Christians somehow saw Jews as Christ-killers (not saviors) and heretics; hence the blood-baths of the Inquisition, blood libels, pogroms, and finally, the Holocaust. Way before the American 'melting pot', - the European 'beheading pot' existed with mostly Jewish skulls floating around in it.

The strongest argument against mixed Jewish and Christian celebrations comes from modern day, Chanukah-like occurences. As American Jews enjoying the greatest liberties ever enjoyed by Jews in their 2000 year exile from their true homeland in Israel, we should ponder well the fate that awaits us if we choose to emulate the 'mainstream' as opposed to the message of the 'few against the many.' This Chanukah, make sure you move into the correct light.

Happy Chanukah!


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