A brief history of Chanukah and olive oil

As the sun sets on the first night of Chanukah, thousands of menorahs will be lit in households across the country signifying the miracle of the holiday and recalling the first menorah, lit by the Maccabees in the Second Temple of Jerusalem over two thousand years ago. Recently, while reading about the origins of the holiday, I came across a minor but interesting detail of the historical account. In the Talmud’s telling of the story, the only oil permitted to be used in the Temple’s menorah was “unadulterated and undefiled pure olive oil with the seal of the high priest”, this explains why only one flask remained after the looting of the Temple.

While in the current day many families use candles in their menorahs, for those who still use an oil-burning menorah, the Orthodox Union’s Rabbi Akiva Tendler has provided a guide for selecting the correct type of oil. However you light your candles tonight, we at FoodMatch would like to wish you a most happy holiday.

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