Fifth 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 2104 BCE- The rains of Noah's Flood stopped.
December 5, 1496- Manuel I ordered the expulsion of the Jews of Portugal.
December 17, 1914- In 1914, Jews of Tel Aviv were expelled by the Turkish authorities and sent to Egypt. Just three years later, the Turks would order the remaining 9,000 Jews out of Jaffa, in advance of the British military offensive. The Jews fled north, where they suffered from disease and starvation. They were allowed to return when the British ousted the Turks in 1917.