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- Author JW (goldsmith)
- Date of production 1932–1939
- Place of creation Kraków, Poland
- Dimensions height: 47.5 cm, width: 38.6 cm
- ID no. MT.IV.1240
- Branch Main Building
- Object copyright District Museum in Tarnów
- Digital images copyright public domain
- Digitalisation RDW MIC, Małopolska's Virtual Museums project
Chanukah — the eight-day Jewish festival of lights – in its historical aspect commemorates the victorious Maccabean Revolt against the Greeks under Antiochus IV Epiphanes, whereas in its ethical aspect refers to the salvation of Judaism, the only existing monotheistic religion based on the coherent system of moral values in the 2ndcentury BC.more
Chanukah — the eight-day Jewish festival of lights – in its historical aspect commemorates the victorious Maccabean Revolt against the Greeks under Antiochus IV Epiphanes, whereas in its ethical aspect refers to the salvation of Judaism, the only existing monotheistic religion based on the coherent system of moral values in the 2ndcentury BC.
Interestingly, none of the books of the Tanakh, being canonical for the Jews, gives any information on the course and consequences of the Maccabean Revolt. These events are only mentioned in the two Books of the Maccabees, canonical merely for the Christians. Let it be reminded that in 169 BC. Antiochus IV seized the treasures of the Temple in Jerusalem on account of outstanding tributes. This act resulted in riots. The response of Antiochus was merciless: he seized Jerusalem and ordered to destroy the city walls. By his order the statue of Olympic Zeus, the worship of whom was ordered, was erected in the Temple. Two years later he passed the edict forbidding Jewish celebrations. These acts sparked a violent reaction from the Jews who were faithful to their God; they fomented the uprising, initially headed by Mattathias and after his death — by his son Judah Maccabee. In 164 BC. Judah Maccabee triumphantly entered conquered Jerusalem and reconsecrated the Temple of Jerusalem. According to legend, a miraculous event took place then: the supplies of oil for the menorah to burn were sufficient only for one day; however, thanks to the miraculous multiplication of oil, the fire was maintained for eight days – exactly the amount of time the priests needed to prepare a new, kosher oil.
To commemorate this event, Chanukah lasts eight days, and the most important ritual is lighting the candles in a special, eight-branched candelabrum, lighting one candle each day of the holiday. The lamp has a separate ninth branch called the shamash [servant] from which the remaining candles are lit. The candelabrum is lit after the sunset, beginning from the right side, in the accompaniment of prayers. Hanukkah lamps are similar to the menorah, but they differ with the number of branches (the menorah has 7 branches) as well as their symbolical meaning.
For contemporary Jews, Chanukah has additional values. The religious Jews remember that the term of “Hasidim” – “pious” was used for the first time to describe the Maccabees, whereas those for whom the secular state of Israel is closer interpret Chanukah from the military and patriotic aspects and recall the victorious Jewish uprising.
The Maccabees gave their names to contemporary sports clubs. They are especially known by basketball and football fans, as the clubs of Maccabi Haifa and Maccabi Tel Aviv are important brands in the sports world, and in the past the “Maccabiah Games” were organised by the pre-war Zionistic parties, also in Poland.
Elaborated by Janusz Kozioł (District Museum in Tarnów), © all rights reserved