The classical story of the “Miracle of Hanukkah” as found in the Talmud and an alternate version of the rededication of the Temple in Midrash Pesiqta Rabbati. We conclude with a reading of a classical Midrashic homily on the Torah Reading for Hanukkah.
With Hanukkah not mentioned in the Bible, the series begins with a brief survey of Scriptural antecedents to the holiday and its historical context in Second Temple Times. This leads to a summary of the Books of the Maccabees, the leaders of the Jewish rebellion against the Seleucid Empire (312–64 BCE) that were preserved in Christian sources. We continue with a survey of Hanukkah in Rabbinic Literature, focusing on the Torah Readings and Haftarot for Hanukkah as reflected in Liturgy and Midrash. We conclude with a look at the medieval Jewish retellings of the story of the Maccabees and a more recent “Sicha” (discourse) in the Chabad tradition based on a Rabbinic Hanukkah midrash.