The canonically approved story of Hanukkah is an exceedingly strange one.
The Talmud explains the holiday as a commemoration of the rededication of the Temple after the Maccabean revolt. The triumphant Jews possessed only a one-day supply of consecrated oil. Yet when lighted, the oil miraculously lasted for eight nights. Hence: menorahs, latkes, etc., etc., etc.
Pause to reflect. Jews believe that the God of the Torah created the known universe, not only Earth and our solar system, but the Milky Way and all the millions of galaxies beyond our own. But the miracle to which we devote this long and joyous festival is the miracle of … the discovery of some unusually long-lasting olive oil. It seems somehow piddly, does it not?
But of course, the miracle of the oil is not the reason for the holiday. It’s a revision compiled six centuries after the fact, at a time…
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