|National Geographic, Sam Kittner|
The History I Should Know More About
Hanukkah (or Chanukah) is an eight-day celebration which commemorates the reclaiming of the Second Temple in Jerusalem during the second century by the Maccabees from the tyrannical monarch led by Antiochus IV Epiphanes. He was not quite as compassionate as his father when it came to the Jewish religion. His father permitted the faith to be practiced, but his son outlawed it, and when his soldiers came to Jerusalem, the murders of thousands occurred. The soldiers then moved to the Second Temple and further defiled it by setting up statues of Zeus and sacrificing pigs.
Judah Maccabee and his small group rose up against Antiochus IV Epiphanes and was able to push them out of Jerusalem. The Second Temple was then cleansed and the Menorah was lit.
When they went to light the candelabra, they only had enough oil for one day, but by a miracle, the oil lasted for eight days. The Menorah holds nine candles -- eight for each night that the oil lasted, and the 9th (center) candle that represents the shamash (servant) candle. The shamash candle is used to light the others, one on each of the eight nights.
Did you know that Hanukkah means "dedication" in Hebrew?
This picture to the right is from my honeymoon to Italy last year, and the Arch of Titus depicting the Menorah. You can see a Menorah being carried by the Roman soldiers which was part of their stolen spoils of war of the Temple of Jerusalem. When I came across my picture tonight, I was reminded of a book I read last year that covered the Arch of Titus and this particular relief in detail.
Daniel Levin's The Last Ember. I had a chance to meet Daniel Levin last year at our local independent bookstore (he was also introduced by Steve Berry of the Cotton Malone series). Levin had such wonderful insight to share on the research for this book, and the room was spellbound by his stories.
From the website
An Italian antiquities squad discovers a woman’s preserved corpse inside an ancient column. Pages torn from priceless manuscripts litter the floor of an abandoned warehouse. An illegal excavation burrows beneath Jerusalem’s Dome of the Rock, ground sacred to three religions.
Jonathan Marcus, a young American lawyer and a former doctoral student in classics, has become a sought-after commodity among less-scrupulous antiquities dealers. But when he is summoned to Rome to examine a client’s fragment of an ancient stone map, he stumbles across a startling secret. The discovery reveals not only an ancient intelligence operation to protect an artifact hidden for 2000 years, but also a ruthless modern plot to destroy all trace of it by a mysterious radical bent on erasing all remnants of Jewish and Christian presence from the Temple Mount.
Daniel Levin has created an anxious page-turning thrill ride through legends and rumors, faith and culture, and it's one that I absolutely could not put down. The Last Ember -- it will not disappoint.
Coffee and a Book Chick