First day of Chanukah

The second day begins at sundown.  Light the second candle.


3631 BCE-  Cain killed his younger brother, Hevel (Abel). The first murder of history occurred on the 25th of Kislev in the year 41 from creation, as recounted in the 4th chapter of Bereishit/Genesis.


c1312 BCE- Preparation of the Mishkan completed in the desert. The vessels, tapestries, wall sections and other components of the Mishkan (the portable sanctuary or "Tabernacle" built under Moshe Rabbeinu's direction to house the Shechina/Divine Presence during the Israelites' journeys through the desert) were completed on the 25th of Kislev in the year 2450 from creation.

The Mishkan was not assembled, however, until 3 months later, when, beginning on 25 Adar of that year, it was erected and taken down daily for a 7-day "training" period prior to its dedication on the 1st of Nissan.  The Sages tell us that the day of 25 Kislev was "compensated" 12 centuries later, when the Maccabees rededicated the Beit HaMikdash on 25 Kislev 3622.


140 BCE- Chanukah from 140 BCE and on.  In 140 BCE, the Maccabees defeated the vastly more numerous and powerful armies of the Syrian-Greek king Antiochus IV, who had tried to forcefully uproot the beliefs and practices of Judaism from the people of Israel.

The victorious Jews repaired, cleansed and rededicated the Beit HaMikdash in Yerushalayim to the service of Hashem.  All the Beit HaMikdash's oil had been defiled by the pagan invaders; and when the Jews sought to light the Beit HaMikdash's Menorah (candelabra), they found only one small cruse of ritually pure olive oil. They lit the Menorah with the one-day supply, which miraculously, burned for eight days, until new, pure oil could be obtained.

Also on this day -- 1,100 years earlier -- Moshe Rabbeinu and the Jewish people completed construction of the Mishkan, the portable sanctuary that accompanied them during 40 years of wandering in the desert.  The Mishkan was not dedicated, however, for another three months.

The Sages tell us that the day of 25 Kislev was then "compensated" 12 centuries later - when the miracle of Chanukah occurred and the Beit HaMikdash was rededicated.  In commemoration, the Sages instituted the eight-day festival of Chanukah, on which lights are kindled nightly by Jews around the world to recall and publicize the miracle of the oil, and its message that continues to illuminate our lives today.


November 26, 1095-  Proclamation of the first Crusade.


December 17, 1862-  General Ulysses S. Grant, in issuing his infamous Order 11, ordered all "Jews as a class" expelled from Tennessee during the Civil War.  In New York City, 7,000 Jews marched in protest against his decision.  President Lincoln rescinded his order.


December 6, 1882- Founding of the city Zichron Yaakov.


December 12, 1906- President Roosevelt nominated Oscar Strauss to be Secretary of Commerce and Labor.  Strauss thus became the first Jewish cabinet member. (He served from 12/17/1906 to 3/5/1909).


December 16, 1968- The order of the expulsion of the Jews of Spain (associated with Tish'a B'Av 1492) was officially voided on the first day of Chanukah.


Torah Portion




or view this week's triennial cycle reading.

Today is

Yom Shabbat, 26 Kislev, 5784 - 2nd day of Chanukkah

Saturday, December 09, 2023


Learn more about this date in history.