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Tuesday, December 12, 2017

THE HISTORY OF HANUKKAH or THE CHISTORY OF CHANUKA

Hanukkah begins tonight!!




Hanukkah, the Jewish festival of lights, dates back to 167 BCE. The story is based largely of legend, as few historical details remain.

At the time, the Jews were living in Israel, under the control of the Syrian-Greek king Antiochus Epiphanes. Antiochus' reign brought with it a violent attempt to force the Jews in the kingdom to assimilate to Greek cultural norms. The breaking point came in 165 BCE, when Antiochus placed an altar to Zeus in the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. A group of brothers, called the Maccabees, led a revolt against Antiochus and liberated the temple, getting rid of the idols that Antiochus had installed there.

When the Maccabees took the temple, they cleansed it, building a new altar to replace the old one. The menorah was to be lit and stay lit continuously through the night, but there was only enough olive oil to last a single day. Miraculously, the single day's worth of oil burned over the course of 8 days, long enough for new oil to be brought to the temple so the menorah could stay lit, and the temple was rededicated to Judaism.

Upon the temple's rededication, the Maccabees decided to celebrate (belatedly) the harvest festival of Sukkot; due to Antiochus' having defiled the temple, the temple had been unusable for that year's Sukkot. They then instituted an annual winter holiday to commemorate the rededication of the temple and the miracle of the oil. The oil plays a big role in the traditional foods of Hanukkah; foods cooked in oil (often olive oil, but chicken fat in parts of Eastern Europe where olives were hard to come by) are a major part of the celebration. A mainstay of Hanukkah food is the latke (a potato pancake fried in oil).
(foodnetwork.com)


FISHDUCKY'S BUBBE'S (GRANDMA'S) POTATO LATKES

6 large potatoes, peeled
1 heaping tablespoon baking powder
1/2 c. flour
Vegetable oil

If you use a grater rub the potatoes on the smallest (diamond-like) points.  It is easier to use a food processor.  Process them until they are mushy, but not creamy, with no chunks of potato left. Add baking powder & flour & mix well with a spoon.  The most important thing about these latkes is how they are cooked.  Put about 1/4" of oil in large cast iron (or other heavy) pan & preheat it.  It is the right temperature when a very slight amount of the potatoes on the edge a spoon will sizzle when dipped into the oil.  Spoon 1/3 to 1/2 cup for each latke into the oil making sure the sides do not touch.  Fry about 5 minutes per side over medium heat.  Test for doneness by lifting one edge of a latke to look at it.  (I don't know why, but that's what my grandmother told me.  I don't think she knew why, either.) Do not turn over until brown.  Latkes should be turned over only once.  Drain on cake rack or paper towels.  Keep in 140 degree oven until you are finished.  Serve plain or topped with sour cream and/or applesauce.
 I have no idea how many latkes this makes but extra ones store very well in the freezer.  Reheat in a 350° oven, fry or even microwave.  (Nuking makes them less crisp.)


THE DREIDEL


The dreidel is a Jewish variant on the teetotum, a gambling toy found in many European cultures. Each side of the dreidel bears a letter of the Hebrew alphabet: נ‎ (Nun), ג‎ (Gimel), ה‎ (He), ש‎ (Shin), which together form the acronym for "נס גדול היה שם‎" (Nes Gadol Hayah Sham – "a great miracle happened there").

Playing with the dreidel is a traditional Hanukkah game played in Jewish homes all over the world, and rules may vary. Here’s how to play the basic dreidel game:
1. Any number of people can take part.
2. Each player begins the game with an equal number of game pieces (about 10-15) such as pennies, nuts, chocolate chips, raisins, matchsticks, etc.
3. At the beginning of each round, every participant puts one game piece into the center “pot.” In addition, every time the pot is empty or has only one game piece left, every player should put one in the pot.
4. Every time it’s your turn, spin the dreidel once. Depending on the side it lands on, you give or get game pieces from the pot. For those who don’t read Hebrew, some dreidels also feature a transliteration of each letter. If yours doesn’t, use the photo below as a cheat sheet:

a) Nun means “nisht” or “nothing.” The player does nothing.
b) Gimel  means “gantz” or “everything.” The player gets everything in the pot.
c) Hey means “halb” or “half.” The player gets half of the pot. (If there is an odd number of pieces in the pot, the player takes half of the total plus one).
d) Shin (outside of Israel) means “shtel” or “put in.” Peh (in Israel) also means “put in.” The player adds a game piece to the pot.

5. If you find that you have no game pieces left, you are either “out” or may ask a fellow player for a “loan.”
6. When one person has won everything, that round of the game is over.










You might be interested in this.






A word of advice; don't give it----fishducky

 






   

21 comments:

  1. No advice is frequently the safest.
    Mmmm latkes.

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  2. Now; what is the translation of Oy Vey? I hear it a lot on the golf course.

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    Replies
    1. Literally, I think it's "Oh, woe". It's commonly used if the phrase, "Oy, vay iz mir" Which translates to "Oh, woe is me"!!

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    2. That explains it, on the golf course I always assumed it meant "Oh Crap!" Not that far off.

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  3. Thanks for the interesting info. I was especially interested in the Dreidel. My niece is a party planner and I saw on Facebook she has added a Dreidel to her cast of characters. He has to do a bunch of spinning. Wonder if he is just use to it like the ice skaters.

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    Replies
    1. Not according to the cartoon above with the dreidel at the doctor's!!

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  4. Dear Fishducky, thanks so much for the recipe, for the song, and for the explanation of the game. We got all that besides an explanation of the celebration. So many wonderful traditions in every spiritual path. And all can bring us closer to being One. Peace and blessings this week.

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    Replies
    1. Peace to you & blessings this week (& far beyond)!!

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  5. Latkes sound delicious! I never knew what they were. I have a better idea now--yummy fried potato pancakes--OMG!! :)

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  6. Another fun post. I always wonder why there are so many ways to spell this holiday.

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    Replies
    1. That's because it's a phonetic translation of חנוכה!!

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  7. I'm confused, or perhaps just a bit stoooopid, is there an actual difference between Hanukkah and Chanuka?
    I remember my dad making latkes, but we called them potato pancakes and spread them with jam.
    I always thought a Dreidel was some sort of baby toy, like a rattle.

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    Replies
    1. 1. No difference.
      2. I've never heard of putting jam on them but it sounds good!!
      3. It IS a toy, but not for babies.

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  8. The latkes sound delicious, but I'm not sure about the applesauce topping.

    Who knew that the Dreidel can be used for gambling? Not this old Val! I didn't know there were rules. I thought it was like a top, just for spinning fun.

    Let the record show that I never knew that dominoes had rules, either. I thought they were for building and knocking over.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. 1. I prefer using sour cream, but applesauce is good, too!!
      2. In my family, at least, ANYTHING can be used for gambling!!
      3. Why do you thing they have numbers on them?

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  9. Thank you for this very interesting post. I love to learn about different cultures and, talk about that, today Dec. 13 is Santa Lucia day in Sweden. I completely forgot. Maybe I can whip up a little post or repost. With that adorable picture of me as a child. Later.....

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    Replies
    1. If you have time I'd love to see that post!!

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  10. And Happy Hanukkah to you, Bud, and your family.

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    Replies
    1. And to you (you don't have to be Jewish to have a happy Hanukkah)!!

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Your comments make my day, which shows you how boring my life has become.