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8 Facts About Hanukkah That You (Probably) Didn't Know, Maybe (SLIDESHOW)

Posted: 11/30/10 02:52 PM ET

Most people are familiar with the miracle of oil, chocolate gelt, and dreidel fun. Here are 8 informational nuggets of a lesser known variety:

(Written by Matisyahu with Simcha Levenberg. Simcha Levenberg is a stand-up comedian searching for the meaning of life in Los Angeles.)

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1. Chanukah - What does it even mean?


The eight day Festival of lights is called Chanukah. The word Chanukah means dedication. After Judah Maccabee and his band of revolutionary Jews defeated the Assyrian/Greek Empire they discovered that their beloved Holy Temple had been defiled and rendered spiritual impure. It was on the 25th of Kislev (the first day of Chanukah) that the Temple was purified and rededicated.

Alternatively the word Chanukah can be deconstructed to be, חנו כ"ה, which means, "they rested on the 25th." The 25th of Kislev (the first day of Chanukah) was the last day of the war against the Greeks and the beginning of a pretty sweet holiday vacation week.
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