In 167 BCE, the Syrian King Antiochus IV began openly persecuting the Jewish people. In Jerusalem, the Syrian king appointed a Hellenistic high priest to the temple. This new high priest prohibited the study of Torah and desecrated the temple altar by requiring pigs to be sacrificed on it. Two years later, Judah Macabee, the son of the High Priest of the Jews organized a revolt that drove out the Syrian-Greeks from Israel, thus the temple was liberated. This meant the temple needed to be rededicated for Jewish worship. However, there was a problem. There was only a small amount of oil that was not contaminated by the Syrian-Greeks.
It was enough oil to burn for one day. So they needed to make more. The problem was that it took eight full days to make a fresh batch. The menorah light was sure to go out. However, God performed a miracle. He caused the one day of oil to burn for a full eight days. This is the reason there are eight days of Hanukkah to remember this miracle.
As a congregation, we celebrate this great miracle. It’s a time of fun for the children who play with dreidels and receive gold chocolate coins. It’s also a time when we all share the joys of rededication, not only outwardly, but inwardly, as well.