We began the eight day feast of lights yesterday. Today it is the second candle and I will be making sufganiot and latkes.
Here is a very nice summary of the different meanings of Hannuka, including the Maccabbee story but much more:
"C hanukah begins on the twenty-fifth of the Hebrew month of Kislev. This is the anniversary, some say, of the day the Israelites finished giving beautiful materials for the Tabernacle, the Shekhinah’s dwelling-place. The gifts represent the outpouring of the heart. Chanukah itself gives a gift of the heart—the promise of new light in the world. At the winter solstice, deep in the inwardness of winter, the season turns and the light begins to grow again. The Chanukah menorah begins with a single light and ends with many. So too, the sun begins as a distant, dull light and ends in the blazing warmth of spring. Chanukah represents the shoot that begins to emerge from the ground, using all of its inward energy to bring new life to the earth. On the Sabbath of Chanukah we read the story of how the prophet Zechariah prophesies to an exiled people that a shoot (tzemach) will come to lead them home." [-]
"There is a story about Adam (the first person), and the winter solstice. The story tells that when Adam saw the days growing shorter, he feared that God was angry and planned to destroy the world. He fasted for eight days and nights. Then the light began to grow longer. “This is the way of the world,” Adam said, and he spent eight days in celebration. The next year, he celebrated both the eight dark days and the eight days of light. The Talmud gives this story as the explanation for the Roman winter solstice festival of Saturnalia, but it is also an explanation for the eight days of Chanukah that we celebrate. Like Adam, we use the light of the physical world to give ourselves hope. "
Here is some music in honour of the holiday:
First off, via: Solomonia, Orrin Hatch's Hannuka song
Then The New Centrist regales us with some Indian-Jewish music from Israel
Adam Sandler's Hannukka Song
And here is an Iberian Hanouka, a medieval prayer
And "My tiny candles":
מה רבו הסיפורים
לי ילאט האור,
לי ילאט האור.
על גבורות לי יספרו,
על דמים שנשפכו,
על מלחמת דרור,
על מלחמת דרור
My tiny candles,
the light of flickering flames
whisper to me countless stories
of heroes who bravely fought
and spilled their blood
in a war for freedom
"Civilization is not self-supporting. It is artificial. If you are not prepared to concern yourself with the upholding of civilization -- you are done." (Ortega y Gasset)