Third day of Chanukah
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 Kislev 25 was then "compensated" 12 centuries later -- when the miracle of Chanukah occurred and the Beit HaMikdash was rededicated.
In commemoration, the Sages instituted the 8-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.
c 2105 BCE- The forty days and nights of rainfall that covered the face of earth with water during the Flood in Noach's time ended on this date. (According to Rav Eliezer). The flood itself lasted a full year, as related in Genesis 6-8. (According to others it was 29 Kislev).
December 12, 1479- The Jews were expelled from Schlettstadt, Alsace by Fredrick III.
December 10,1966- Israeli writer, Shmuel Yosef (Shay) Agnon (1888-1970), was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature. Agnon's writings deal with the conflict between traditional Jewish life and language, and the modern world.
Agnon, a religious Jew, also attempted to capture the fading traditions of the European shtetl (village). Agnon was born in Ukraine, the son of an ordained rabbi. At age 20 he moved to Eretz Yisroel. In his speech at the Nobel Prize ceremony, Agnon spoke in Hebrew: "As a result of the historic catastrophe in which Titus of Rome destroyed Yerushalayim and Israel was exiled from its land, I was born in one of the cities of the exile. But always I regarded myself as one who was born in Yerushalayim." Today, Agnon's image is featured on the Israeli 50-shekel bills.