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It's (still) Hanukkah!

צילום: פלאש90

Translation by Yehoshua Siskin

Happy Hanukkah! Yes, today it's still Hanukkah. Hanukkah did not end yesterday evening, with the lighting of the candles, because in Judaism the day begins at night. Here are several facts regarding the special last day of Hanukkah in front of us.
1. The words Zot Hanukkah represent the last day of Hanukkah, which is considered Hannukah's most important and holiest day, the day when our final judgment is sealed. Since the beginning of the month of Elul, through Rosh HaShanah, the Ten Days of Repentance, Yom Kippur, Sukkot, Simchat Torah, through the months of Cheshvan and Kislev, the process that began on the 1st of Elul ends. It is said that whoever did not finish doing teshuvah during the Ten Days of Repentance can mend his ways on "Zot Hanukkah." There is even a custom to greet each other on this day with "gmar chatimah tova" (may you have a good sealing or final judgment).
2. And why do we call this day "Zot Hanukkah"? Because these words are found in the Torah reading for today which includes the words "Zot Hanukkat HaMizbeach." Translation: "This was the dedication offering for the altar" ([in the Mishkan or desert sanctuary] on the day that it was annointed [Numbers 7:84]).
3. There are Chasidic groups that hold a holiday tisch (feast at the table of a rebbe), with special songs and foods, and there are also families accustomed to holding a joyful family feast (and not only because the children are going back to school the next
4. There are those who have the custom of burning leftover wicks, instead of just throwing them away, in recognition of separation from their cherished Hanukiyah. There are those who keep the leftover wicks until the burning of chametz on Erev Pesach, connecting the two holidays in this manner.
5. This is considered a day of exalted prayer. It's a day to pray that we will know how to distinguish between light and darkness all year long, and not become confused between good and evil. Rebbe Yisrael of Rozhin, among the giants of the Chasidic movement, said: "What the tzadikim can make HaShem do on Rosh HaShanah, a simple Jew can make HaShem do on Zot Hanukkah."
Have a happy Zot Hanukkah.


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