Tuesday, Dec. 20, 2011

The Real Hanukkah Miracle

Hanukkah commemorates the 165 B.C. victory of the Maccabees, a Jewish rebel army, over the Syrians and the subsequent rededication of the holy temple in Jerusalem. The Maccabees found enough consecrated oil inside the temple to light its eternal flame for a single day, but miraculously the lamp burned for eight. This is not only why Hanukkah is an eight-day holiday, but also why there is always talk of a Hanukkah miracle. The problem is, the real miracle here is that the oil burned for seven more days than it was expected to, not that it burned for a total of eight. After all, if the oil was supposed to last one night, it was only miraculous for seven.