Long ago in the land of Israel, inthe center of the walled cityof Jerusalem, there stooda beautiful Temple.Outside of Israel, though, there liveda very wicked man name Antiochus,the king of Syria.The king did notlike people who had beliefs differentthan his own and so he went aroundthe world forcing his religionon all the people he conquered.When Antiochus and his armyInvaded Israel and took it over,he decreed that only his godscould be worshipped.He made the Jews swear that theywould give up their religion andcustoms and follow his instead.
He also commanded that all ofthe Jewish temples be convertedor destroyed, including the beautifulone in Jerusalem.Those who refused to followAntiochus' commands were to beseverely punished.Some Jews obeyed Antiochus out offear, but others were brave enoughto refuse.Judah Maccabee was onesuch man.Judah and his brothers were allstrong fighters who formed an armyof their own to fight King Antiochusand his men.
Although they were greatlyoutnumbered, the Maccabees foughtthe Syrian army with all their might.With the strength that only comesfrom fighting for something youtruly believe in, Judah andthe Maccabees defeated Antiochusand his army and triumphantlyreclaimed the Temple in Jerusalem.However, when they enteredthe Temple for the first time,they were shocked to see it inshambles.The golden pitchers wereall tarnished, the marble floorswere cracked, and there was no oilto light the Menorah.They began cleaning the temple,removing every sign and symbolof the religion that had been forcedupon them by their invaders.As they worked, they found a smallcontainer of oil.
They all knew the little oil they hadwould only be enough for one night,but then a miracle took place:instead of going out, the lampskept burning and burning.They burned for eight daysand eight nights, and this waythe Maccabees knew Godwas with them.That is why we celebrate HanukkahEvery year, and why we light eightcandles in our menorahs.
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