Chanukah Days on December, 2021: What if I miss the first couple days lighting candles for Chanukah?
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Greg, I tried to enter the site and could not, however, Judaism is a faith of reason. Reasonably speaking I wouldn't worry too much about it. Hanukkah is not a very important religious holiday. The holiday's religious significance is far less than that of Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, Sukkot, Passover, and Shavu'ot.
It is a time of celebration over the defeat of Antiochus by the Maccabees.
According to tradition as recorded in the Talmud, at the time of the rededication, there was very little oil left that had not been defiled by the Greeks. Oil was needed for the menorah (candelabrum) in the Temple, which was supposed to burn throughout the night every night. There was only enough oil to burn for one day, yet miraculously, it burned for eight days, the time needed to prepare a fresh supply of oil for the menorah. An eight day festival was declared to commemorate this miracle. Note that the holiday commemorates the miracle of the oil, not the military victory: Jews do not glorify war.
It is the celebration of the miraculous! The discovery of the oil in the desecrated Temple and the oil intended for 1 day's use lasted 8 days!
Thinking about this, I ask what about the Jews who for centuries were at times unable to observe it?
Crypto-Jews, Marranos, the victims of forced conversions due to persecution of the Roman Catholic Church. Or the Jews of the Holocaust imprisoned in the camps. We know the Nazis did not encourage or accommodate the celebration of this important victory. I don't believe that God would punish anyone eternally for being unable to light the candles or say the prayers before each lighting.
Jewish belief is that once a person has died they go to Sheol which is a place of purification until the time they are ready to enter Gan Eden ("the Garden of Eden"), referring to a heavenly realm where souls reside after physical death. God is just, righteous and compassionate and understands our human limitations.
In Christ, gatita
Apostolic Believer In One God, Jesus
What event does Chanukah memorialize?
Chanukah, the 8 day celebration also known as the festival of lights, is the Jewish re dedication festival beginning the 25th day of the Jewish month of Kislev.
It really started with the reign of Alexander the Great. he conquered a bunch of lands, but let the people of the lands he conquered to practice their own religions with a relative degree of autonomy.
A century later, Antiochus IV was in control. he began to heavily persecute the Jewish people.
At the time of the rededication, there was very little oil left in the Temple that the Greeks had not spoiled. Oil was needed for the menorah in the Temple, which was supposed to burn throughout the night, every night. There was only enough oil for one day, but miraculously, it lasted for eight days, long enough for fresh oil to be prepared.
An 8-day festival was declared. Note that Chanukah memorializes the miracle of the oil, not the military victory.
How many days until Hanukkah starts?
24 days. Chanukah begins at sunset on December 15th and lasts until sunset of December 22nd.
Jews begin their celebrations at sunset the night before, so the first full day of Chanukah actually falls on December 16th. Since that is also the Sabbath, most Jews light the Chanukah candle just ahead of the Shabbat candles, which many traditionally light about eighteen minutes before sunset. Same for the last day of Chanukah, which also falls on a Saturday (Shabbat).
I hope that makes sense.