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Lesson Transcript

Hello, and welcome to the Culture Class- Holidays in Israel Series at HebrewPod101.com. In this series, we’re exploring the traditions behind Israeli holidays and observances. I’m Eric, and you're listening to Season 1, Lesson 12, Hanukkah.
Chanukah - חנוכה (cha-nu-kah) is a Jewish holiday that lasts for eight days, and is dedicated to the memory of the victorious insurrection led by the Hasmoneans - חשמונאים (hash-mo-na’yim), the purification of the Holy Temple - בית המקדש (beit ha’mikdash), and the restoration of religious rites. Hanukkah begins on the twenty-fifth day of the Hebrew month of Kislev - כסלו. In 2015, it began on December 6th, and in 2016, it will begin on December 24th.
On Hanukkah, Israel fills with light.
Now, before we get into more detail, I've got a question for you-
One of the holiday symbols is the Dreidel - סביבון (Sevivon). How are Israeli Sevivons different from the ones that people play with in other countries?
If you don't already know, keep listening! The answer will be revealed at the end of this lesson!
In the year 167 BCE, the Hasmonean family led an uprising against the foreign rulers of the Land of Israel, who prohibited the practice of Jewish commandments. The uprising was termed “the Hasmonean uprising”. The rebels managed to liberate Jerusalem and the Holy Temple from Greek rule, which had brought activities at the Holy Temple to a three-year halt. According to tradition, the holiday of Chanukah was designated to mark the victory over enemies, and to remember the inauguration of the altar.
The Jews rushed to the Holy Temple to continue the temple services. One of the most important of these services was to light the seven-branched candelabra, or menorah - מנורה. When they came to light it, they found out that there remained only one cruse jug of oil, which could keep the Menorah lit for only one day. However, a miracle occurred, and the oil lasted for eight days. To commemorate the miracle, the holiday of Chanukah lasts for eight days. On each evening of the holiday, people light one candle of the Chanukiah - חנוכיה, and set the Chanukiah by the window, to publicize the miracle.
To remember the miracle of the jug of oil, people have the tradition of eating foods fried in oil, like latkes—potato pancakes, doughnuts and sfinj—special fried doughnuts eaten by Jews of North African origin. Another tradition meant to symbolize the miracle is playing with the Sevivon, the Israeli dreidel.
Chanukah has several other names, which are less popular: the Holiday of lights - חג האורים (hag ha’urim), the Holiday of Miracles, and the Holiday of Courage.
Now it's time to answer our quiz question-
How are Israeli Sevivons different from the ones people in other countries play with?
Sevivons have four sides, which have the letters nun, gimmel, heh and peh written on them. This is an acronym for the words “a great miracle occurred here” or in Hebrew Nes Gadol Hayah Poh. With Sevivons sold outside of Israel, the letter peh is replaced with the letter shin, to create the acronym for “a great miracle happened there”.
How was this lesson? Did you learn something interesting? Which victory do you celebrate?
Leave a comment letting us know at HebrewPod101.com, and we'll see you in the next lesson!


Please to leave a comment.
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HebrewPod101.com Verified
Monday at 06:30 PM
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Which victory do you celebrate?

Saturday at 10:23 AM
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oh no! I think I must have misunderstood a comment you made to me a few days ago and reversed it in my mind. So now I understand that you use the yuds instead of the quotation marks. ok so your reviews are correct in using the yuds. By now you will have received three or four confused notes. Sorry for the misunderstanding.

Hebrewpod101.com Verified
Friday at 10:07 PM
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Hi Shelley,

Thanks for posting!

Good work! one note - Jewish = יהודיים - you used " instead of two yud (י).



Team Hebrewpod101.com

Thursday at 12:34 PM
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Most Jewish children look forward to the holiday of Hanukah.

רוב הילדים היהוד"ם מצפים לחג ההנוכה