"How To" Guide
- Chanukah begins on the 25th Kislev (evening of November 30th,
2001). The eight days following are days of rejoicing and praise.
- On every night lights are lit to commemorate and publicize the miracle performed for Israel some 2000 years ago.
- During Chanukah, it is desirous to partake of more beautiful meals, to increase one's good deeds, and generally to talk of the ancient miracles.
- All manner of work may be carried out on Chanukah, but people generally refrain from household duties while the Chanukah lights are lit.
The dreidel is a spinning top with Hebrew letters "nun", 'gimmel", "heh" and "peh" (or "shin") inscribed on one of four sides respectively. After the lights are lit, family members customarily play with the dreidel, winning or losing counters or nuts, according to the value ascribed to the letters. One reason given for the custom was the ban on any work being performed by the light of the menorah.
Learn more about the Dreidel.
It is also customary during the holiday for members of the family to eat oily delicacies such as doughnuts, pancakes and "latkes." These remind us of the miracle of the flask of oil that was found in the Temple and the miracle that followed.
Try out our Chanukah recipes - more than just Latkes!
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Traditionally, Chanukah is a time when children are encouraged and rewarded for their Torah studies. Consequently, it became fashionable to give the children Chanukah money and presents during the holiday. This is a popular custom today.
During the eight days of Chanukah, the entire Hallel (psalms of praise) is said.
During the eight days of Chanukah, the passage "Al Hanissim", expressing thanks to God for the miracles of Chanukah, is inserted into the prayers.
The Torah is read every day in the synagogue. The readings recall the offerings brought by the heads of the Twelve Tribes of Israel at the time of the dedication of the altar in the Tabernacle.