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Rav Nissim Gaon postulates in his Hakdamah Le'mafteach Hatalmud that information on the holiday was so commonplace that the Mishna felt no need to explain it.A modern-day scholar Reuvein Margolies suggests that as the Mishnah was redacted after the Bar Kochba revolt, its editors were reluctant to include explicit discussion of a holiday celebrating another relatively recent revolt against a foreign ruler, for fear of antagonizing the Romans.I suppose the reason was because this liberty beyond our hopes appeared to us; and that thence was the name given to that festival.Judas also rebuilt the walls round about the city, and reared towers of great height against the incursions of enemies, and set guards therein.בָּתַר דְּנָּא עָלוּ בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל לְבֵית מַקְדְּשָׁא וּבְנוֹ תַּרְעַיָּא וְדַכִּיאוּ בֵּית מַקְדְּשָׁא מִן קְטִילַיָּא וּמִן סְאוֹבֲתָא.
There was in it [enough oil] to light [the lamps therewith] for one day, but the God of heaven whose name dwells there put therein his blessing and they were able to light from it eight days.This unique candle is called the shamash (Hebrew: Other Hanukkah festivities include playing dreidel and eating oil-based foods such as doughnuts and latkes.Since the 1970s, the worldwide Chabad Hasidic movement has initiated public menorah lightings in open public places in many countries.), and neither of those sounds is unambiguously representable in English spelling.Rashi, in a note to Shabbat 21b, says their purpose is to publicize the miracle.
The blessings for Hanukkah lights are discussed in tractate Succah, p. The Jewish historian Titus Flavius Josephus narrates in his book, Jewish Antiquities XII, how the victorious Judas Maccabeus ordered lavish yearly eight-day festivities after rededicating the Temple in Jerusalem that had been profaned by Antiochus IV Epiphanes."Now Judas celebrated the festival of the restoration of the sacrifices of the temple for eight days, and omitted no sort of pleasures thereon; but he feasted them upon very rich and splendid sacrifices; and he honored God, and delighted them by hymns and psalms.The festival is observed by lighting the candles of a candelabrum with nine branches, called a Hanukkah menorah (or hanukkiah).