Mission Statement: To train, educate and equip for study both the Jew and the non-Jew in the rich Biblical/Hebraic Heritage.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS:
Answers to your questions:
These are the questions that WE were asking when we began our studies. As you can see we asked many of the same questions that you have. We hope this will guide you as you read our book.
What can you find in the celebration of Hanukkah that will make a difference in your life? What you may find in Hanukkah will be Jesus or as his mother called Him, Yeshua. He will show you a new depth and improve your relationship with Him as you spend eight days communing with Him. We pray that you will rededicate your life to serve Him only as the Messiah.
What does the word
This word means "dedication." The root of the word is "education" (Strong's Concordance Number 1456). This is a festival that educates or teaches about dedicating your "temple" or "life" to God. We all want to learn about the preparation of our "temples" where Yeshua haMashiach ( Jesus the Messiah) lives. Our living "temples" are just as important to God today, as His Holy Temple that once stood in Jerusalem.
Our prayer is that through this festival you can draw closer to God through His established lesson of this festival which teaches about "rededicating God's Temple".
Why do you use the term Yeshua ha Mashiach instead of Jesus the Christ? The use of the term Yeshua instead of Jesus is calling Him by the name that is Hebrew. The translators changed the name, and we prefer calling Him what His mother and friends would have called Him. After all, we are close members of the family! We also use the term Messiah or haMashiach instead of Christ. This is calling him what He is--the Hebrew Messiah. This does not in anyway take away from those terms, but adds the Jewishness back to the study.
Where does God command us to
light the Hanukkah candles?
The Jewish Sages (Wisemen or Learned Rabbis) saw the Hanukkah festival as the Rededication of the Dwelling Place of the Most High. In the Tabernacle in the wilderness they were instructed about the festivals in Leviticus 23:1-44. Immediately following in Leviticus 24:1-9, they were instructed to light the Tabernacle lamps to burn continuously. This indicated to them that whereever the Dwelling Place of the Most High was, that lamps must be lit. Festivals and lamps were acknowledged as going hand in hand. Thus God commanded that the lamps always be lit when they observed festivals.
I don't understand the term
"Kislev 25". What does this mean?
Kislev 25 is the date of Hanukkah. The Jewish people were given a different calendar by God. It was lunar. They actually used four different calendars at the same time 2000 years ago. We use different calendars today at the same time. We talk of "the school calendar (9 months)," our sports season calendars, our date calendar (Roman calendar based on the sun-January, February, etc..), and more. When you see a date in the Bible you should see a red flag in your mind's
eye, and think, "look at my festival chart". Usually a date means "festival talk".
Where else is Kislev 25
found in the Bible?
Kislev 25 (around November/December on our calendar) is also found in Genesis 9 where Noah saw the rainbow upon exiting the ark. This was seen by the Sages as a promise of some greater event in the future happening on Kislev 25 (Ecc. 9:1). On Kislev 25 the Tabernacle in the Wilderness was finished. We also see Kislev 25 as the day that the Babylonian exiles dedicated the foundation of the Temple. Thus the pattern is set and we must look then to Yeshua for our judgement whether to keep the festival or not. Did He keep Hanukkah? Yes! Did He condemn the people for keeping Hanukkah? No! Reread the passage from John 10:22. He kept the festival and was angry because they wanted to argue with Him about His claim as the Messiah! He declared the festival acceptable just as the sages had established it. The men could not see Him as the Messiah, therefore they could not see the future Kislev 25 when Yeshua would rededicate the Temple. This is perhaps why you have not understood Hanukkah; you could not see Yeshua Messiah in Hanukkah. He was there all the time! We just haven't been trained to understand the pictures that the festivals present.
Are we to celebrate Kislev
25 today as believers?
We believe that we are. The festivals teach of Yeshua in His First Coming and His Second Coming. Even Hanukkah was so important that Yeshua made a point of being remembered in John 10:22 for all of us to see. It is very important that we understand that what He did was pass judgement on the festivals and whether we were to keep them or not was evident by His presence. Yeshua did not present Christmas or Easter or Halloween. These are all man-made celebrations that Yeshua never attended. You would have been seen as a pagan if you kept these in the First Century, (look these up in an encyclopedia for your own information). They presented Hanukkah, Passover, Sukkot, and the other festivals as permitted celebrations or "kosher".
"The early Christians
celebrated the resurrection of Jesus and called it 'pascha'. It
was observed at the same time the Jews observed Passover.
Epiphanius said, 'As long at least as the first 15 bishops of
Jerusalem (those of Jewish descent) continued, the pascha was
celebrated everywhere by all (Christians), or by a great majority
of them, according to the lunar computation and method of the
Phillip Goodman. The Passover Anthology page 15 Jewish Publication Society 1961. (Note: This was written by a Jew.)
"Contrary to what some believe, the first fifteen bishops of the original Church at Jerusalem were Jewish. In his Ecclesiastical History, Eusebius tells us that "the church at Jerusalem, at first formed of the circumcision (Jewish), came later to be formed of Gentile Christians, and the whole church under them, consisted of faithful Hebrews who continued from the time of the apostles, until the siege of Jerusalem."
Yeshua: A Guide to the Real Jesus and the Original Church by Dr. Ron Moseley of Arkansas Institute of Holy Land Studies (see association listing for the address of this college)
I've noticed that I will be
encountering some strange words. Help!
Yes, you will be taught some Hebrew words in this book. We will try to put the English word in front of the Hebrew word for you. We feel that these words are necessary so you can look at this festival through new eyes. In our studies we have had to learn these words just to survive when we are reading in Jewish books. We do not include them to confuse you, but simply to add the flavor of the festival. Hopefully you will want to order some of the resource materials that we have included to enrich your Hanukkah celebration, and you will probably encounter these words yourself later. Don't worry about pronouncing them correctly right off the bat. We've tried to spell them the way that they would sound in English, and sometimes speech patterns vary from parts of the country. Just enjoy the festival, and use the English word if you prefer.
How many candles?
Nine! Eight candles represent the eight nights and the Servant Candle or the Shammash, is the ninth. How many gifts of the Spirit are there? NINE! Interesting, huh?
Why is Hanukkah spelled so
many different ways?
That is because Hanukkah is a Hebrew word, and the Hebrew alphabet is very different from the English alphabet. So when writers translate this word in to English, they use different methods. Some other ways of spelling Hanukkah are: Chanukkah, Hanukkah, Chanukah, Hanukkah, Channukah, Chanuka. But most use Hanukkah. One set of grandparents have a granddaughter whose name is Hannah! They started calling it "Hannah-kah!" But it is pronounced "Hon-a- Kahn."
Do I have to buy a fancy
No! You can make your own as a family project. We have included several ideas.
How many candles will I need
to supply light for eight nights?
Forty-five one-hour Hanukkah candles. Each night the candles you light will burn for about an hour and you will replace the candle that is burned down for the next night. Hanukkah candles can be bought in sets at Target or other supply places. But you may use any candles that you wish. Colors don't matter but usually the Shammash is white.
If my candles burn longer than one hour do I have to throw the stubs away? No. In fact, we have learned that if you freeze your candles before you use them they will have an amazing life span and--most importantly, they won't drip. Remember that they are a decoration. You may reuse them. (I like long tapers the best. They last several nights....but Jewish custom is not to reuse the candles, but to start fresh each night.)
Where does the Shammash
candle go in the candle arrangement?
We have seen it in two different positions. One is in the center of the arrangement elevated over the candles and the other position was in the extreme right candle holder. Both are acceptable.
Who lights the candles?
We take turns. Some night the children light the candles -- according to their age. Family tradition is yours to set., Some like the smallest child to light the first night while others chose the head of the house to mark the importance of the celebration. But with the candles, as with the entire festival, you are setting your own family traditions.
Where do I put the candle?
Tradition is that you place the candle holders in the window or by it. Many people have more than one Hannukkiah (festival candle holder) in their homes and use the candles as decorations. Children sometimes have their own candles in their room but always remember "SAFETY FIRST"!
That's the first thing you do and the timing is soon after nightfall. On Friday it precedes the kindling of the Sabbath lights. On every night one more candle is added, beginning on the right-hand side of the lamp and marching one candle at a time toward the right. The first candle lit each night, however, is the new one representing the new day-- that is the candle furthest from the right--and thus the candles are lit in sequence from left to right as you face them.
What do I do with the
The Shammash candle is lit first and used to kindle the other candles. The first night you will light the Shammash candle and then light the first candle on the extreme right of the arrangement as you face. After using the Shammash to light the other candle return it to its place. (Don't be too upset if you don't do this perfectly the first time--it took us three years of study to learn the correct way. We provided a drawing for you!)
What if the first night of
Hanukkah begins on a Friday night?
This can be confusing, so we will lay it out as simple as possible. Don't panic! We included these directions and the prayers in the Sabbath section so you will have it all in one place when the time comes. You can look at the page called "The Absolute Minimum" for all the prayers at any time. On each day we have the appropriate prayers and directions given.
Sabbath is held on Friday night and we have included plans for the entire evening, and for Saturday, too. Read over them and decide ahead of time if you want to participate. The Lord spoke to me long ago, and said that if I could give you just one thing from His Heart it would be Sabbath.
How long of a ceremony do we
have to do?
There is no set time. Usually you would simply gather as a family, light the Shammash, and then say the other two blessings and then you light the other candle(s). Then the entertainment is up to you. You may not be up to a party every night, but do try to do the candle lighting and a short story or Bible lesson.
Do I have to keep each night?
No. The whole purpose of the celebration is for you and your family to spend time with God, marveling in the wonders and miracles that He provides every day in our lives. If your schedule does not allow you the luxury of setting time aside each night then try to pick one or two special evenings. For many people the first Hanukkah that they celebrate is a sampling--an evening joined in the celebration activities of another family or friend.
How much time should I allow to plan my Hanukkah celebration? Hanukkah, like Sabbath, is a choice. With the choice comes planning and preparation. We encourage you to start planning your celebration with your family--ordering resources, music, reading books, studying-- long before it is time to begin the celebration. With planning and fore thought your observance will be a special and meaningful experience for you and your loved ones. We start planning ours about mid-September, following Yom Kippur (High Holy Day).
What is the main theme of
The main theme is one of Rededication--not just of the Temple of 2000 years ago, but of our lives. If you can present eight days of rededication of yourself as the Temple of God, then you have accomplished what God intended to teach you. Ask yourself each day, "What can I do to draw nearer to God today?" Look for little things that open your eyes to the bigger thing. The goal is not merely of celebration or having a party, but open our hearts to redemption and rededication.
Doesn't Hanukkah commemorate
Not really. The Jews aren't a warrior people. Most Jews in all ages thought that war was stupid. The heros of the Jews are lawgivers, scholars, and prophets. Yes, there was an uprising against the evil King Antiochus but not just to have a war. The Jews accepted his taxes--even when he taxed the Temple. But they would not accept his interference with their worship, their belief, or their religion. They would not compromise when it came to the things of God. So this war was one of the first time that they stood up to a king who demanded that they give up their religion. The festival does not take place on the day of a great battle or victory, but during the week of the rededication of the Temple. The Temple was cleansed and a new fire was lit in the Menorah (large lamp inside the Temple)--just as we hope that the Temple in your heart will be cleansed and a new fire will be kindled to serve Yeshua.
What does the term
Messianic literally means "believer in Messiah." One who believes that Yeshua is the Messiah is known as a Messianic Jew or as a Messianic Non-Jew.
What about dancing?
Yes! You may dance! Dance has always been an important part of the Hebrew culture. Many of these dances have been handed down from generation to generation. They were an important part of the festival. In the USA our army marches for exercise. In Israel they dance. Sabbath in Israel is full of singing and dancing! There are some excellent videos available from our resource list but most people learned the Hora dance in school. The Hora was a dance done in the Temple by everyone to express joy and thanksgiving. There are other traditional dances that you may want to learn. Remember that these dances are not done in couples, but are set patterns that teach principles of God. You may need an audio tape of music to help, but you can also hum a tune as you dance.
If I celebrate Hanukkah does
that mean that I'm to become a Jew?
No. More than likely it just means that you are searching for something to enhance your relationship with your Messiah. If He chose you as a Non-Jew or a Jew, then HE must need you in the body for a purpose. If HE wooed you as a finger or toe, so to speak, why would you want to change? He must need you as that finger or toe.You just want to become the best one for HIM in whatever place that HE wants you to be.
How do you close the
There is no set way to close the evening. As the games and prizes, presents and festivities come to a close, or bedtime approaches, sometimes the simple act of a family holding hands and praising God is a simple and beautiful way to conclude your observance. We've included some suggested closing prayers if you would like to include them in your celebration then we would consider it an honor to be part of your family prayer time.
We have organized this like a workbook. We hope that you will feel free to write in the book, and to create your own special family book. Dont be legalistic in the keeping of this rabbinical feast. Relax! Lightning will not strike you if you do something wrong! HE SEES YOUR HEART and knows that you only want to be with HIM at this special time of the year. Learn to laugh at your mistakes and enjoy the time of rededication!