Dec. 2 is the first day of Hanukkah in 2018. To learn more about the meaning and history of Hanukkah, watch the video below:
Hanukkah is a Jewish celebration lasting eight days, which commemorates events surrounding the reopening of the Temple in Jerusalem following its desecration by King Antiochus IV. You may have noticed that Jewish holidays change their dates every year, but that’s only true if your reference is the Gregorian calendar. The first day of Hanukkah is always the 25th of Kislev, and it lasts for eight days. The Jewish calendar follows the moon, rather than the sun, and every 19 years gets realigned so that it doesn’t get too far off. Controlling the calendar is one of the functions of governments. There is a lot of dispute about what sort of things the government should do, and where is should stay out. Clear, however, is that in areas where markets don’t function properly, the government might need to step in. Setting a uniform calendar, along with weights and measures, is one such area. What areas are necessary for government intervention, however, change over time. Until the advent of the railroad, each town set its own time, based loosely on when it was noon. This didn’t work when transportation sped up and switching stations needed to know where to send the trains. It was first applied in 1840 by the Great Western Railroad in England. In the United States, Railway time was introduced at noon on 18 November 1883.
- Hanukkah is a commemoration of a rebellion and the restoration of a holy place. How important are such similar occasions in your life? Do you celebration personal, religious, or family occasions with symbolic observances?
- The burning of the menorah candles remembers a miracle. Does your worldview still allow for the occurrence of miracles? What might count as a modern miracle today?
- Can you imagine a world in which everyone set their own watch and ran their life according to their own time? What would result?
- Today, time is set by very precise atomic clocks and coordinated through satellites. With cell phones, we no longer even need to change our clocks for daylight savings time. Do you think the world is a better place, with such accurate timekeeping? What are the down-sides to uniform time?
- Express Magazine. Hanukkah [Photograph]. Retrieved from http://expresszine.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/hanukkah-2015-hero-E.jpeg