Posts Tagged ‘Hanukkah’

Fifth Night of Hanukkah

From the study guide, “Yeshua in His Father’s Feasts.”

Fifth Night of Hanukkah – Oil

“So he said to me, “This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel: ‘Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,’ says the Lord Almighty” (Zechariah 4:6).

Family Study:

On the fifth night of Hanukkah, light the most separate candle on the Hanukkiah.  From the shamash, light the fifth night’s candle.  After you light your Hanukkiah, place it in a window to show that only through the Spirit of God does Israel have victory over her enemies.

In Scripture oil is symbolic of the Ruach HaKodesh or the Spirit of God and was used to anoint priests, kings and articles for the Tabernacle.  The main ingredient of the consecrated anointing oil was pure olive oil from the first pressing. Numerous spices were added to it to make it holy and fragrant for Temple purposes.

“Then the Lord said to Moses, “Take the following fine spices: 500 shekels of liquid myrrh, half as much (that is, 250 shekels) of fragrant cinnamon, 250 shekels of fragrant cane, 500 shekels of cassia—all according to the sanctuary shekel—and a hin of olive oil. Make these into a sacred anointing oil, a fragrant blend, the work of a perfumer. It will be the sacred anointing oil” (Exodus 30:22-25).

Once the Temple was cleansed and restored, a story in the Talmud says there was only enough oil to burn in the Menorah for one day.  While it took eight days to consecrate more holy oil, the one day’s portion lasted the eight full days allowing the Temple and its articles to be sanctified and re-dedicated to the God of Israel.

“Take the anointing oil and anoint the tabernacle and everything in it; consecrate it and all its furnishing and it will be holy” (Exodus 40:9).

1.  Research the different spices used in making the anointing oil. What do think were the reasons these spices were chosen by God?

a. myrrh

b. fragrant cinnamon

c. fragrant cane

d.  cassia

Dig Deeper:

God instructed the holy oil was not to be created and used for common purpose, however, it is possible to buy myrrh and frankincense candles or incense.  Purchase some and enjoy the aroma.

2.   What is the difference between ‘virgin’ olive oil and other olive oils?  Read Jeremiah 31:4, 21.  What is symbolic of  ‘virgin’ olive oil?

3.  Why did the Tabernacle/Temple articles need to be anointed with oil?  What did it signify?

4.  Some people doubt the miracle of the oil.  Read 2 Kings 4 and explain why the miracle of the oil at Hanukkah was possible.

5.  Read Matthew 25:1-13. In this parable there are lamps and oil.  Psalm 119:105 says the Word of God is the lamp.  What is the oil?  Why is it important to have oil in a lamp?

6.  What happened to the virgins with oil in their lamps?  What happened to those without? 

7.  Who do you believe the virgins represent? Why do you believe only half were prepared to meet their Bridegroom?

8.   Read John 4:24.  How does this verse apply to what happened to the virgins? Which ones were true worshippers of God?

Family Activity:

1. Eating foods made with oil are traditional for Hanukkah. Latkes or potato pancakes are fried in oil and eaten with applesauce. Sufganiot or jelly-filled donuts are also eaten at Hanukkah.  A recipe for latkes may be found in the Study Helps at the end of the study guide.

2. Research how olive oil is made and the different pressings.  Buy different grades of olive oil and taste them.  

3. Research to find the lifespan of an Olive Tree.  Why do you think Yahweh compares Israel to an Olive Tree?  (Jeremiah 31:34-36)

©2019 Tentstake Ministries Publishing, all rights reserved.  No copying or reproducing of this article without crediting the author or Tentstake Ministries Publishing.For a hard copy of this portion of the study guide or the complete study guide, please purchase “Yeshua in His Father’s Feasts.”©

Hanukkah Word: Hammer

The dictionary defines a ‘hammer’ as “a tool with a heavy metal head mounted at right angles at the end of a handle, used for jobs such as breaking things and driving in nails.”

The noun ‘hammer’ is found only a few times in Scripture. The first time is in Judges when Ya’el, the wife of Heber, uses a hammer to pound a tent stake into the head of Sisra piercing his skull and crushing his temple. With this act, she sets Israel free from God’s judgement for worshipping idols. The second time is in the book of First Kings where it is recorded that the stones for building the Temple were prepared at the quarry so that no ‘hammer’ was heard while it was being built.

Though the days of the Maccabean Revolt were before the days of King David, Psalm 74 reveals how the sanctuary of Elohim was destroyed when Israel was taken captive as judgement by God for disobeying His commands and worshipping idols. Hammers were used by the enemies of Elohim to destroy the Temple, specifically, to smash the intricately carved woodwork.

“If a prophet has a dream, let him tell it as a dream. But someone who has my word should speak my word faithfully. What do chaff and wheat have in common?” asks Adonai. “Isn’t my word like fire,” asks Adonai, “like a hammer shattering rocks?” (Jeremiah 23:28-29).”

The Word of God is like a hammer that shatters rocks. Through His Spirit, Elohim changes the heart of stone into a heart of flesh; He shatters the rock-hard heart so that it desires to obey His commandments. However, the prophet Jeremiah speaks about shepherds who lead the people of Adonai astray – shepherds like the false priests who succumbed to the Hellenization of their faith and began to worship many ‘other’ gods.

The Hebrew word for ‘hammer’ is maqqebeth or מקבות or in English, Maccabee. This word is significant to the celebration of Hanukkah as the leader of the revolt against the Syrian armies of Alexander the Great was called Judah ‘Maccabee’ or ‘the Hammer.’ As an army of ‘hammers,’ the Maccabees fought against the Syrian armies of Alexander the Great who wanted to Hellinize Israel.

Rather than assimilating into the Greek culture around them and the worship of foreign gods, Judah and his ‘hammer’ rebels fought for their freedom to worship the Elohim of Israel. With faith in the ‘Word’ of Elohim, and the help of the ‘Commander of Elohim’s Armies,’ they ‘hammered’ against the enemies Israel for four years in order to live as commanded by Elohim and regain control of the Temple in Jerusalem and restore it to its original glory and worship.

©2019 Tentstake Ministries Publishing, all rights reserved.  No copying or reproducing of this article without crediting the author or Tentstake Ministries Publishing. 

Helper: Hebrew Shammes

The Hebrew words shamash שמש or the Yiddish shammes שמש (spelled identically but with a different vowels) mean ‘helper’ and is used to describe the person who looks after the synagogue.

Hebrew Word Pictures

ש  shin is a picture of a ‘tooth’ and means to ‘destroy’ or also corresponds to the Shekinah or glory of Elohim

 מ Mem is a picture of ‘water’ and means ‘chaos’

ש  shin is a picture of a ‘tooth’ and means to ‘destroy’ or also corresponds to the Shekinah or glory of Elohim

The word pictures can mean ‘destroying the chaos with the glory of Elohim’

The shamash or shammes is the ‘set apart’ candle on a Hanukkiah that is used to light the rest of the candles.

Some suggest that because the word shamash has ties to the Babylonian/Assyrian god known for truth and justice, that Hanukkah is rooted in a pagan festival and should not be celebrated. It is interesting when looking at the god Shamash: he was responsible for maintaining the order of the universe, nothing could be hidden from his bright light which banished darkness and revealed lies. It was said that his ‘eye’ could see everything.

The Jewish people had by the time of the Feast of Dedication been sent to live in foreign cultures. They had been dispersed to Babylon and Assyria and could very easily have incorporated ‘foreign’ words into their vocabulary just as we have with the days of the week. Thursday for Thor, Wednesday for Odin, even Saturday for Saturn. Perhaps even to worship the God of Israel, they used the term ‘shamash’ in order to just stay alive. I don’t know; I wasn’t there. What I do understand is the struggle to find ways to express dearly held beliefs in order to fit into an intolerant culture.

From a different perspective, perhaps the multi-god cultures of Babylon and Assyria saw the power of the God of Israel in the Jewish people around them. Perhaps they saw how He helped His chosen people, remained a light in their midst, and lived lives based on Truth. Perhaps they chose the Hebrew word shamash for their god. Remember that Sha’ul saw in Athens idols with names for all manner of gods, but there was one unnamed that they worshipped in ignorance. Of course, he revealed the name of that God, the yod hey vav hey.

In either scenario, one word that means ‘helper’ in Hebrew does not a pagan practice make. With its Hebrew word pictures possibly depicting the ‘destruction of chaos by the glory of Elohim’ presents an extraordinary view of Hanukkah that fits the description found in Maccabees. There was great chaos caused by the Syrians (Assyrians) who murdered the Jewish people for their faith and destroyed the Temple in Jerusalem. The Temple and its altar had to be rededicated back to Elohim and according to the commands in Torah, that dedication must last eight days. For these reasons alone should Hanukkah be commemorated in support of the people and nation of Israel.

©2019 Tentstake Ministries Publishing, all rights reserved.  No copying or reproducing of this article without crediting the author or Tentstake Ministries Publishing. 

Bubbe’s Hanukkah Poem

Bubbe’s Hanukkah Poem