Hanukah, the Festival of Lights, is one of the most beloved of the Jewish
holidays. It is celebrated almost universally by all groups and factions of the
Jewish people.
The infamous Antiochus Epiphanes issued decrees forbidding the Jews to
observe the laws of the Torah and forcing them to worship the Greek idols.
Matisyahu, the Hasmonean son of Yochanan the High Priest, and his sons rose
to battle against the armies of Antiochus. Led by Judah the Maccabee, they
emerged victorious, despite being outnumbered. On the twenty-fifth day of the
month of Kislev, 165 B.C.E. the victorious Maccabeans reconquered Jerusalem.
They found the Temple desecrated and all its sacraments defiled, except for one
vessel of pure oil with the seal of the High Priest upon it. This oil was used for
the lighting of the menorah. Although there was sufficient oil to burn for one
day only, it miraculously lasted for eight days.