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During the Second Temple, the Greek empire reigned (over Israel),1 and they (the Greeks) passed decrees against the Jews and (tried) to erase their religion, and did not allow them to carry out Torah (study) or the commandments. They put their hands on their property and their daughters. They entered the Temple, destroyed and made the pure unclean. The Jews were in great distress because of them and were much oppressed, until the G-d of their fathers had mercy on them, delivering them from their hands and saving them. Then overcame, the sons of the Hasmonean High Priest, (the Greeks) and killed them and saved the Jews from their hands. They appointed a king from the Priests, and the kingdom of Israel was restored for more than 200 years until the destruction of (the) second (Temple). When the Jews overcame their enemies and destroyed them, it was the 25th of Kislev2 when they entered the Sanctuary (inner room) and did not find pure (olive) oil in the Temple, except one jar sealed with seal of the High Priest, and it did not contain enough to light except for one day only. But they lit from it the lamps of the Menorah3 for eight days, until they could crush olives and produce a (new quantity) of pure oil. For these reasons, decreed the Sages of that generation that these eight days that begin on the 25th Kislev, will be days of joy and praise. One lights on them lamps at evening at the entrance to the houses, every evening of the eight nights to show off and demonstrate the miracle. These days are called ''Hanukah'' that is to say ''they rested'' (chanu) on the ''25'' ('th of the month) because on the 25th they rested from their enemies. and also because of those days they (re)-dedicated the house (Temple) which their foes had defiled. Also some say that it is a commandment to increase slightly the festive meals on Hanukah. Another reason is because the work of (building) the Sanctuary (in the desert) was completed in these days. One should tell one's children the story of the miracles that were done for our fore-fathers in those days, (see Josephus) However, these meals are not considered as part of the commandment unless one says at the meal songs of praise. One should increase charity in these Hanukah days, for this can help mend any defects in our souls. This charity, should be given particularly to poor Torah scholars. (KSA 139:1)
1) 352 BCE until 70 CE
2) 139 BCE
3) The Menorah was made of gold and had seven branches.
My nephew, Yisroel Meir Shonek, who was celebrating his aufruf exactly five years ago, along with his wife Miriam welcomed a new baby girl into the family this week whom they named Tzirel Nechama, after my mother.
On a closely related note, our own (Tzirel) Nechama is celebrating her Bas Mitzvah this coming Sunday evening. Special Mazal Tovs to the Tzirel Nechamas and their families.
When Eisav comes back from the field, he is so wiped out that he is on the verge of death. He demands of Yaakov, who was cooking up a lentil soup, "Pour me some of that red stuff!" The pasuk continues to say that for this, he was called Edom (red). This name has endured as a reference to Eisav throughout the generations. Why would we designate an eternal name for Eisav based on this seemingly insignificant exchange? And why is the focus on the colour of the soup? It would seem more appropriate to refer to them as "hal'iteini-niks."
Daniel Scarowsky, z"l, explained that we are taught (Rashi 26:34) that Eisav is compared to a pig. A pig has split hooves but does not chew its cud. When it sleeps, it sleeps with its hooves stretched out as if to show the world, "look at me, I'm kosher" when, in fact, it is not. The pig symbolizes superficial and external obsessiveness, a misguided focus on outer appearance and neglect of the importance of inner essence. It is this very trait that is being illustrated here by Eisav. Even in this most desperate time, when he was in such dire need of sustenance, the lentil soup was nothing more to him than "red stuff." This exchange, therefore, is a significant indication of Eisav's character and thus, he was given the name Edom which would go on to be his national identity