When I was a kid, I was always a little puzzled by the practice of adding a new candle each night of Hanukkah. If the light in the temple was static – that is, the same amount of oil burned for the whole time – why do we add more and more each night?
(I should note that Hanukkah was pretty much the only holiday we celebrated when I was a kid, and even then, “celebrating” usually meant wrapping presents in blue and white paper. This says a lot about American Jewish culture.)
Here’s one interpretation of the accumulation of candles: hope builds. Sure, the original light was just one lamp, but imagine what it must have felt like to gradually realize, as the nights went on, that they were going to make it.
Filed under: judaism