Golden Oils Share Hanukkah Glory
Rabbi Sharon Stiefel took a moment Nov. 30 to inspect the olive oils available at the Olive Grove in Mendota Heights. Stiefel is the education director of the Jewish Community Center in St. Paul.
Dec. 1 at sundown marks the beginning of Hanukkah. Hanukkah is an eight-day celebration marking the defeat of the Assyrian-Greek army by the much smaller Judean nation of Judah Maccabee in 165 B.C.E.
After reclaiming their sacred temple, the Maccabees relit the sacred fire with the last remaining pure oil. The amount of oil that should have only burned for one day lasted eight days, according to the Hanukkah story, long enough to restore the supply and keep the sacred fire burning indefinitely.
Stiefel said the role of oil in the Hanukkah story is embodied in Jewish traditions such as the preparation of fried foods, including potato latkes and sufganiyot, or jelly doughnuts.
Sources: Jewish Outreach Institute, Sharon Stiefel