thumbnail of Hanukkah
Hide -
<v Speaker>[Hebrew prayer] <v Speaker>Praised Art Thou, o lord, our God, king of the universe, who has sanctified <v Speaker>us by thy commandments and bidden us to kindle the Hanukkah lights. <v Speaker>A family lights the first candle in the menorah, the traditional Jewish <v Speaker>lamp. Begins the Hanukkah service. <v Speaker>A joyous holiday that has been celebrated by Jews for over two thousand years. <v Speaker>Hanukkah, the Festival of Lights, the festival of the rededication of the Jewish Temple, <v Speaker>celebrated every year in December, Hanukkah recalls the bravery, tenacity and historical <v Speaker>circumstance. Some call it miracle that permitted the ancient Israelites
<v Speaker>over two thousand years ago to preserve their freedom. <v Speaker>And with it, the spiritual source from which Judaism draws its meaning. <v Speaker>The fight for freedom that Hanukkah recalls is not unlike that of our own American <v Speaker>Revolution. In both cases, patriots rose up to overcome <v Speaker>overwhelming odds in defense of their freedom. <v Speaker>Though celebrated by a tiny minority of the world's population, Hanukkah <v Speaker>has universal implications or any people whose love for freedom <v Speaker>makes it necessary to turn from the path of least resistance. <v Speaker>[Hebrew prayer] <v Speaker>Praised Art thou Lord our God, king of the universe, who did wondrous things <v Speaker>for our fathers at this season in those days. <v Speaker>In every generation, the Jewish people have fought to maintain their cracky
<v Speaker>independence. That's remarkable tenacity has afforded them a unique role <v Speaker>in history. Sometimes the fight has been successful. <v Speaker>More often, the light of freedom has been dimmed and forced to burn in impatient <v Speaker>obeyance. <v Speaker>Hanukkah, the Festival of Rededication is a joyous holiday <v Speaker>because this time the freedom lost was retaken due to the audacity of <v Speaker>a few hardy Jews clinging to their already ancient heritage <v Speaker>in this crucible of history, Israel. <v Speaker>Israel has been variously designated Palestine or Judea, <v Speaker>but it is always figured in the minds of the makers of history <v Speaker>located at the crossroads of three continents. <v Speaker>Israel has endured vast armies sweeping back and forth across her, pursuing <v Speaker>endless dreams of world dominion. <v Speaker>And it happened after that Alexander, son of Philip the Macedonian,
<v Speaker>had smitten Derrius King of the Persians and meads that he reigned <v Speaker>in his stead. The first over Greece and made many <v Speaker>war and won many strongholds and slew the kings of the <v Speaker>earth and took spoils of many nations in so much that the <v Speaker>earth was quiet before him. <v Speaker>Whereupon he was exalted, and his heart was lifted up. <v Speaker>And he gathered a mighty strong host and ruled over countries and nations and <v Speaker>kings who became tributaries unto him. <v Speaker>Few came closer to realizing a world empire than the Macedonian. <v Speaker>Alexander the Great. <v Speaker>His realms reached from India to Egypt, absorbing and enriching <v Speaker>the greatest civilizations of the Western world. <v Speaker>Alexander was more than a Macedonian Mongol ignorant of the import of his <v Speaker>conquests. <v Speaker>He was a student of Aristotle and saw a civilizing his vassal lands
<v Speaker>as a sacred duty. <v Speaker>But the Jew, so often subjugated politically, has never allowed <v Speaker>his mind and his view of the universe to be legislated by imperial <v Speaker>decree. Alexander conquered the world. <v Speaker>When Alexander's heirs attempted to alter the Jews ancient division, <v Speaker>they struck the nerve center of Judaism. <v Speaker>So Alexander reigned 12 year and then died <v Speaker>and his servants ruled everyone in his place. <v Speaker>And after his death, they all put the crowns upon themselves. <v Speaker>So did their sons after their many years and evils were multiplied <v Speaker>in the earth. And there came out of them a wicked root Antiochus <v Speaker>surnamed Epiphanes. <v Speaker>And he reigned in the one hundred and thirty and seventh year of the Kingdom of the <v Speaker>Greeks. <v Speaker>Israel was situated midpoint between the two mightiest empires of Alexander's
<v Speaker>apportioned realm, Egypt bordered her to the south <v Speaker>and Syria ruled her from the north. <v Speaker>When Antiochus ascended the Syrian throne in 175 B.C. <v Speaker>he set out to strengthen his hold on strategic Israel. <v Speaker>The first step would be to standardize all culture and religion throughout <v Speaker>the empire. <v Speaker>Antiochus outlawed all Jewish customs and traditions. <v Speaker>The statue of Zeus was placed on the temple altar. <v Speaker>Syrian soldiers enforced the edict in village after village. <v Speaker>Those who refused fled to the hills or died. <v Speaker>Whereupon the city was made and habitation of strangers <v Speaker>and became strange to those that were born in her and her own <v Speaker>children left her.
<v Speaker>Her sanctuary was laid waste like a wilderness, for feasts <v Speaker>were turned into mourning, her Sabbath into reproach, <v Speaker>her honor into contempt, as had been her glory. <v Speaker>So was her dishonor in priest. <v Speaker>And her highest state was turned into mourning and <v Speaker>tired, had assumed that the Jews would abandon their faith and <v Speaker>past as readily as all other peoples under Syrian source. <v Speaker>It would be, after all, so simple to succumb. <v Speaker>Mel carped the sacred duty of Concord Tire on the scene <v Speaker>was now conveniently identified as the Greek god, Heraklion. <v Speaker>Ancient ascalon. Now a Syrian province erased generations <v Speaker>of worship to her as stati as she became Aphrodite. <v Speaker>It would not be so difficult for these stubborn Jews with their peculiar idea
<v Speaker>of one God to call upon Zus as their master. <v Speaker>But then Tiresias had not reckoned on that strange devotion to truth and freedom that has <v Speaker>been the watchword of the Hebrews. <v Speaker>The Jews were never a mighty nation, rich with art and swelling with armies, but as art <v Speaker>decayed and legions changed allegiance, truth remained unaltered, as did the <v Speaker>Jews devotion to it. <v Speaker>But that attack is threatening to destroy their freedom of thought. <v Speaker>He aroused the Jews deepest sense of justice and religious destiny. <v Speaker>This was something the Syrian had not foreseen. <v Speaker>It is one of the quirks of history. <v Speaker>Call it miracle that Judaism has survived much stronger death <v Speaker>blows than entire caucus could muster. <v Speaker>The Jew has been driven from Asia to Africa to Europe and <v Speaker>back again. <v Speaker>And I hope that he would intermingle with all the other nations of the Earth and so <v Speaker>disappear the you survive diaspora, an exile to Babylon.
<v Speaker>He survived dark ages consigned to inbreed and ghettos. <v Speaker>He emerged horribly scarred, but still alive <v Speaker>from the ovens of the Third Reich. <v Speaker>Jews have never been noted for cathedrals or works of art designed to endure <v Speaker>for centuries. The Jews knew from experience. <v Speaker>At their temples and homes would be destroyed and they would be driven from <v Speaker>sight of even the rubble. <v Speaker>The Jew has always had to carry his faith in his heart and pass <v Speaker>along the ancient wisdom through prayer and prayer books. <v Speaker>Perhaps the Jews continuing exile from continent to <v Speaker>continent has bred within them their love of knowledge and freedom. <v Speaker>The knowledge can be carried into the farthest exile. <v Speaker>And freedom is never taken for granted. <v Speaker>[Hebrew prayer]
<v Speaker>Praised Art Thou, o lord, our God, king of the universe, who has granted us <v Speaker>life, sustained us and permitted us to celebrate this joyous <v Speaker>festival. <v Speaker>Israel today stands as a symbol of the Jews miraculous endurance <v Speaker>and as a citadel, the wonderings you can rest a bit before beginning, <v Speaker>perhaps another journey the Jews journey through. <v Speaker>History has always been one of difficult decision in the time <v Speaker>of Antiochus. <v Speaker>Many Jews sought to appease their Syrian overlords. <v Speaker>They adopted the fashionable Greek customs and prepared to blend <v Speaker>comfortably into the Syrian empire. <v Speaker>With this assimilation will come economic advantages, plus an opportunity to abandon the <v Speaker>troublesome demands that maintaining a Jewish identity presented. <v Speaker>In those days.
<v Speaker>Went there out of Israel, wicked men who dissuaded many saying, <v Speaker>let us go and make a covenant with the heathen that around about us, <v Speaker>since we departed from them, we have had much sorrow, whereupon <v Speaker>they forsook the holy covenant and joined themselves to the heathen <v Speaker>and sold themselves to do mischief. <v Speaker>This was the process through which countless now nameless nations have dissolved. <v Speaker>More or more Jews adopted the Greek customs and civilization that the Syrians spread <v Speaker>by sword. More and more other ways of the fathers were forgotten. <v Speaker>Those willing to submit remained in the cities, but Jewish fugitives <v Speaker>began organizing guerilla bands in the hills. <v Speaker>At the nucleus was the family of Matthias. <v Speaker>Rebels gathered throughout Judea around Matthias until the Jews had formed <v Speaker>a swift army in the field.
<v Speaker>And then came under him, a company of mighty men of Israel. <v Speaker>Even all such has offered themselves willingly for the law. <v Speaker>Also, all they fled for persecution, joined themselves and to them, <v Speaker>and were a stay on to them. <v Speaker>So they joined their forces and smote sinful men in their anger and wicked <v Speaker>men and their wrath. <v Speaker>Then Matthias and his friends went round about and pulled down the altars <v Speaker>they pursued also after the proud men and the work prospered <v Speaker>in their hands, so they recovered the law out of the hand of kings. <v Speaker>Neither suffered they the sinner to triumph. <v Speaker>Mega-fires, it seemed that the coin had only two sides to submit <v Speaker>or fight for him. <v Speaker>The choice was clear he had struck the first blow in a battle that was to become <v Speaker>one of the miracles of history. <v Speaker>Now, when the time drew near that matter, Matthias should die,
<v Speaker>he said unto his son. <v Speaker>Thou hath pride and rebuke gotten strength and the time <v Speaker>of destruction and the wrath of indignation. <v Speaker>Now, therefore, my sons, these help us follow <v Speaker>the law and give your lives for the covenant of your fathers. <v Speaker>Be valiant and show yourselves men in the behalf <v Speaker>of the law whereby it shall ye obtain glory. <v Speaker>As for Judah Maccabee, he had been mighty and strong, <v Speaker>even from his youth. <v Speaker>Let him be your captain and fight the battle <v Speaker>of the people. <v Speaker>Judah Maccabee. <v Speaker>Juda the hammer. <v Speaker>Was the greatest military hero the Jews have ever known. <v Speaker>In the year 1 67 B.C., he became the general of the Jewish Army and continued
<v Speaker>the work his father metathesis had begun. <v Speaker>And all his brethren helped him. <v Speaker>And so did all they that held with his father. <v Speaker>And they fought with cheerfulness. The Battle of Israel. <v Speaker>So he got his people great honor and put on a breastplate as a giant and <v Speaker>gurt, his warlike hardness about him. <v Speaker>And he made battles protecting the host with his sword <v Speaker>in his acts. He was like a lion. <v Speaker>I'd like a lion's whelp roaring for his prey. <v Speaker>But the Syrians heir to the might of Macedonia <v Speaker>gathered their armies and marched through the desert. <v Speaker>The first Syrian force that Judah Maccabee met was led by apollonius <v Speaker>military governor of the province of Samaria. <v Speaker>Desert skirmishes and midnight raids were one thing, but was this
<v Speaker>rag tale army of idealistic Jews equal to a pitched battle? <v Speaker>The army's met. <v Speaker>The Judah's band overcame the Syrians. <v Speaker>Juda killed Apollonius, general of the Sumerians and took his sword and used <v Speaker>it thereafter. <v Speaker>After Apollonius came Ceara, another general <v Speaker>with a larger force. <v Speaker>Judah Maccabee, moving swiftly with his army, surprised him at Beth Huron, <v Speaker>north of Jerusalem. <v Speaker>The armies met.
<v Speaker>And Judas band overcame the Syrians. <v Speaker>Such ready victories by a fledgling army seem unlikely. <v Speaker>But Judah's small band benefited from the dictates of history. <v Speaker>Rome, a growing force in the Mediterranean, was even then seeking world mastery. <v Speaker>There are many indications that Rome found it advantageous to weaken Syria by <v Speaker>secretly supplying the Maccabees with arms and military advisers. <v Speaker>When news of these defeats reached Antiochus, he was enraged <v Speaker>and he called up two huge armies <v Speaker>and sent them south to destroy the rebels. <v Speaker>Judah Maccabee knew that his small band would be overwhelmed by a direct confrontation
<v Speaker>with this huge enemy force. <v Speaker>Swiftly, Juda mobilized his men, Judah <v Speaker>was fighting for the land he had explored as a child. <v Speaker>He knew every twisted path of hilly Judea. <v Speaker>Swiftly and silently, Judah's small mobile force moved toward their approaching enemy <v Speaker>along these familiar paths. <v Speaker>Judah Maccabee, ranging ahead saw from afar the <v Speaker>armies of his enemy. <v Speaker>They covered the horizon. <v Speaker>And as the Syrian legions with elephants dragging the war machines of a war <v Speaker>making nation blinded the desert with clouds of dust, <v Speaker>Judah Maccabee turned to the God of his fathers. <v Speaker>Blessed art thou o savior of Israel, who didst quell <v Speaker>the violence of the mighty man by the hand of thy servant David,
<v Speaker>and gave us the host of strangers into the hands of Jonathan, the son <v Speaker>of Saul and his armor bearer. <v Speaker>Shut up this army and the hand of thy people Israel, <v Speaker>and let them be confounded in their power and Horsemen <v Speaker>make them to be of no courage, and cause the boldness <v Speaker>of their strength to fall away and let them quake <v Speaker>at the destruction. Cast them down with the sword of them that <v Speaker>love thee. And let all those that know thy name. <v Speaker>Praise thee with Thanksgiving. <v Speaker>Judah looked up, and suddenly his strategist's mind saw what he had <v Speaker>been waiting for a division in the enemy's forces. <v Speaker>Judah's men swept forward into the breach and fell upon their enemies.
<v Speaker>They attacked one legion of the divided Syrian hosts. <v Speaker>Cut off from reinforcements to Syrians from. <v Speaker>They were put to flight and the armies of the oppressor were reduced. <v Speaker>And in term, Juda attacked the other leaders of the divided Syrian hosts. <v Speaker>Their numbers diminish. <v Speaker>They're huge. Elephants use this the closest, but again, Syria.
<v Speaker>And they were put to flight and the armies of the plus. <v Speaker>The field was quiet. <v Speaker>Judah Maccabee and his tiny band of stubborn Jews had defeated the legions <v Speaker>of an empire. <v Speaker>And Juda set out to recapture the holy city, Jerusalem. <v Speaker>If a miracle may be defined as a fortunate coincidence <v Speaker>and truly Hannukah may be said to commemorate a miracle. <v Speaker>Three defeats notwithstanding, the angry Syrian force was so mighty that they surely <v Speaker>would have crushed Judah's upstart army in the next encounter. <v Speaker>But history here seems to have been written for the Jews, just <v Speaker>as Antiochus was readying a huge army to crush the rebels. <v Speaker>He was compelled to divert a huge expedition to Partha in an
<v Speaker>executive attempt to manage his far flung empire. <v Speaker>Behold. Our enemies are just comforted. <v Speaker>Let us go to plans and dedicate the sanctuary and unopposed, <v Speaker>Judah Maccabee marched into Jerusalem. <v Speaker>Jews entered their beloved city, rejoicing and singing <v Speaker>in their pride. <v Speaker>But as they walk through the familiar streets, their songs still to Septimus, <v Speaker>three years of civil war have left Jerusalem marooned. <v Speaker>Judas friends had long since been exiled or killed by the Syrian. <v Speaker>He looked at their fallen houses that now held only memories <v Speaker>and when they saw the sanctuary desolate. <v Speaker>And they alter profaned and the gates burned up, <v Speaker>shrubs growing in the courts, as in a forest or in one of the mountains,
<v Speaker>yei in the priest's chambers pulled down. <v Speaker>They rent their clothes and made great lamentation and cast ashes <v Speaker>upon their heads and fell down flat to the ground upon their faces <v Speaker>and blew an alarm with trumpets. <v Speaker>Judah's men removed all signs of pagan occupation. <v Speaker>They were particularly infuriated by the stone altars that the Syrian <v Speaker>and their Judean convents had used for sacrifices to the alien <v Speaker>God. <v Speaker>The altars were removed. <v Speaker>The statue of Zeus was removed. <v Speaker>The temple was rebuilt. <v Speaker>A holiday was proclaimed and celebrated on the 25th day <v Speaker>of the Jewish month of Kislev. <v Speaker>The third anniversary of the destruction of the temple.
<v Speaker>For eight days, the Maccabees celebrated hummin. <v Speaker>The festival of dedication. <v Speaker>And so they kept the dedication of the altar eight days and offered burnt offerings with <v Speaker>gladness and sacrifice, the sacrifice of deliverance and praise. <v Speaker>Thus was their very great gladness among the people. <v Speaker>For that, the reproach of the heathen was put away. <v Speaker>Moreover, Judah and his brethren with the whole congregation of Israel ordain <v Speaker>that the days of the dedication of the altar should be kept in their season from year to <v Speaker>year by the space of eight days from the five and twentieth day <v Speaker>of the month. Kislev with mirth and gladness. <v Speaker>Today, Hanukkah is celebrated by Jews everywhere as the festival of Rededication <v Speaker>and Light. <v Speaker>It is a joyous time. <v Speaker>The first night one candle is lit by the Shamash, I help. <v Speaker>The second night, two candles lit and so on for eight nights <v Speaker>until all eight candles blaze in commemoration of the Maccabees,
<v Speaker>first triumphant Thomma. <v Speaker>When the menorah flame was rekindled and the spirit of Judaism <v Speaker>was rededicated. <v Speaker>History seems to have bent over backwards to prevent the Jews to survive. <v Speaker>And the story of Hanukkah is rich with miracles. <v Speaker>The Talmud, the ancient Jewish Book of Wisdom, offers an explanation of why the holiday <v Speaker>is celebrated for eight nights, commencing with <v Speaker>the 25th day of the month. Kislev There are eight days upon which there shall be neither <v Speaker>morning nor fasting. <v Speaker>Or I'll be at the Greek center, the temple and defile. <v Speaker>The oil was when the might of the Jews overcame and vanquished them. <v Speaker>That upon search, a single cruise of undefiled oil sealed <v Speaker>by the high priest was found, and it was oil enough for the needs of a solitary <v Speaker>day. <v Speaker>Then it was that a miracle was rocked. <v Speaker>The oil in the crews burned eight days.
<v Speaker>The miracle of the oil is a symbol of the Jews durability. <v Speaker>The light continued to burn in praise of the God who had granted the Jews life, <v Speaker>sustained them and permitted them to celebrate their joyous festival. <v Speaker>Praised Art Thou, O Lord, our God, king of the universe <v Speaker>for the inspiring truths of which we are reminded by these Hanukkah lights. <v Speaker>We kindle them to recall the great and wonderful D wrought <v Speaker>through the zeal with which God filled the hearts of you, wrote Maccabees. <v Speaker>He sleights. Remind us that we should ever look unto God <v Speaker>comes our help. <v Speaker>As the brightness increases for my tonight, let us more fervently <v Speaker>do praise to God for the ever present help he has been to our fathers. <v Speaker>Gloomy nights and repression and trouble. <v Speaker>The sages and heroes of all generations made every sacrifice
<v Speaker>to keep the light of God's truth burning brightly. <v Speaker>May we and our children be inspired by their example <v Speaker>so that at last Israel may be a guide to all men <v Speaker>on the way of righteousness and peace? <v Speaker>The Maccabees first, Hanukkah did not mean that troubles were at an end. <v Speaker>Judah and his sons continued to fight the Syrians, but a nation's <v Speaker>freedom to keep its faith had been preserved. <v Speaker>There is no better cause for celebration, and Hanukkah is a happy time <v Speaker>when the family gathers together and every member participates in the service. <v Speaker>Hanukkah celebrates important victories, <v Speaker>but to Jewish children, it also means spinning the dreidel. <v Speaker>A four-sided top inscribed with four Hebrew letters <v Speaker>Nun. <v Speaker>Gimel.
<v Speaker>Hey. <v Speaker>Shin. <v Speaker>Their initials spell. <v Speaker>A great miracle. <v Speaker>Happen there. <v Speaker>And for children, Hanukkah means presents. <v Speaker>Each of the eight nights the children of the family are given a present so <v Speaker>that they may echo that ancient joy of faith, vindicated and <v Speaker>prayer answered. <v Speaker>I will lift up mine eyes and to the mountains. <v Speaker>From whence shall my help come? <v Speaker>My help cometh from the Lord who made heaven and earth. <v Speaker>He will not suffer thy foot to be moved he that keepth thee will not slumber. <v Speaker>Behold, he that keepth Israel doth neither <v Speaker>slumber nor sleep. <v Speaker>The Lord is thy keeper.
Producing Organization
Mississippi Educational Television
Contributing Organization
Mississippi Public Broadcasting (Jackson, Mississippi)
The Walter J. Brown Media Archives & Peabody Awards Collection at the University of Georgia (Athens, Georgia)
If you have more information about this item than what is given here, or if you have concerns about this record, we want to know! Contact us, indicating the AAPB ID (cpb-aacip-60-439zw9m7).
Program Description
A special production of the Mississippi Center for Educational Television, 'Hanukkah' describes and celebrates the ancient Jewish midwinter festival. A 30-minute color presentation, the program utilizes an on-camera narrator, graphics animation, dramatic presentation and the Hanukkah home religious service. "Narrator Edward Asner explores the historical basis for the holiday, and graphics from a variety of eras and artists allow the viewer to see the events through many different interpretations. Types of graphics used range from pictures of archaeological relics to modern cartoon representations, and innovative graphics animation brings the pictures to life to provide a feeling of the intensity of the times. "Hanukkah is a time of family unity, and the program uses the Hanukkah [home service] as the thread of continuity that links the historical exposition to modern practices and beliefs."--1973 Peabody Awards entry form.
Broadcast Date
Created Date
Asset type
Media type
Moving Image
Embed Code
Copy and paste this HTML to include AAPB content on your blog or webpage.
Narrator: Asner, Edward
Producing Organization: Mississippi Educational Television
AAPB Contributor Holdings
Mississippi Public Broadcasting
Identifier: cpb-aacip-de30a63cfdd (Filename)
Format: 1 inch videotape
Generation: Air version
Duration: 00:30:00
The Walter J. Brown Media Archives & Peabody Awards Collection at the University of Georgia
Identifier: cpb-aacip-cfbb2c84493 (Filename)
Format: U-matic
Duration: 00:30:00
If you have a copy of this asset and would like us to add it to our catalog, please contact us.
Chicago: “Hanukkah,” 1973, Mississippi Public Broadcasting, The Walter J. Brown Media Archives & Peabody Awards Collection at the University of Georgia, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed June 27, 2022,
MLA: “Hanukkah.” 1973. Mississippi Public Broadcasting, The Walter J. Brown Media Archives & Peabody Awards Collection at the University of Georgia, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. June 27, 2022. <>.
APA: Hanukkah. Boston, MA: Mississippi Public Broadcasting, The Walter J. Brown Media Archives & Peabody Awards Collection at the University of Georgia, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from