Tonight we light the full Hanukkah menorah. Jewish homes are filled with brightness. Yet, the eighth night was not always the culmination of Hanukkah.

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2000 years ago, one rabbi said we should begin with eight candles, and end with one. He contended that we have moved farther away from God.

The past was glorious, with Moses ascending to the top of Mount Sinai. The future looks bleak, he said, as people turn away from God’s law. The Hanukkah candles should symbolize this decline.

A Brighter Flame

Another rabbi named Hillel disagreed. The past was glorious, he conceded. Yet, even as we struggle, the future will be greater still. To symbolize his hope and vision of the future, Hillel ruled that we begin with one candle and build up to eight. 

Jewish tradition sided with Hillel. The past was wonderful, and the future will be brighter still.

Rabbi Evan

I show the way Jewish wisdom make our lives richer and happier. In particular, I help Jews appreciate their heritage and Christians uncover the Jewish roots of their faith. Get my FREE Jewish holidays cheat sheet by clicking here.

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