a Miracle happened here

Blessings on this 1st Night of Hanukkah

Image result for Kislev rainbow painting

Kislev, the name of the Jewish month when Hanukkah the festival of Light is celebrated. The mazal (constellation) for Kislev is Sagittarius, the keshet (arching bow).  The arching bow reminds us of the rainbow & of our responsibility to be guardians of the earth. In Genesis 9:12-17, God places a rainbow in the sky as a covenant a promise never to destroy the earth with water again. The bow of Kislev also reminds us of the bows of the Maccabees.

Image result for maccabees temple oil painting

During the second century BCE, the Maccabees, fought against Antiochus & his army, who had a policy of stifling Jewish religious life, including banning Shabbat observance. Thanks to Judith (see below) the Hebrew people were victorious & reclaimed their religious life. To purify the Temple, they needed oil to rekindle the eternal flame. The story is told that they found only enough oil to last one day, but a miracle occurred, & the oil lasted for eight days. With this miracle of light the Temple was rededicated. Hanukkah means dedication.

Here are a few customs to celebrate:

Image result for lighting the hanukkah candles painting
  • Lighting the Hanukah Candelabra, the special eight flame menorah, with a ninth shamas or servant flame.
Image result for judith painting
  • Telling the story of Judith: Among the Sephardim women traditionally gather on the seventh night to tell Judith’s story (found in the apocryphal Book of Judith ) eat cheese blintzes, sing & dance, & receive special blessings. Some Ashkenazim tell the story of Judith on the eighth night of Hanukkah, in Yiddish.
Related image
  • Giving gifts to daughters: Some Sephardim call the end of Hanukkah the “New Moon of the Daughters” when parents give special presents to their daughters.
Image result for playing dreidel on hanukkah painting
  • Playing dreidel: Dreidel is a classic Hanukkah gambling game. The letters on the dreidel–nun, gimmel, hay, shin–stand for a Hebrew sentence that translates to mean, “A great miracle happened there.” Some say that the origins of the game are German, & that the letters correspond to the directions for playing the game: nichts (“nothing”); ganz (take “all”); halb (take “half”), and stell ein (“put one in”). It is also said that it was a way of remembering their religion when they were not allowed to practice.
Related image
  • Eating chocolate Hanukkah gelt (coins).
  • Eating salty foods, especially salty cheeses, are traditional because legend has it that Judith fed the enemy general Holofernes salty foods to make him thirsty for wine. As he lay in a drunken stupor she was able to slay him, thus saving Jerusalem from siege. And because of the miracle of the oil, oily foods are also traditional, including latkes & jelly doughnuts, which are a Hanukkah favorite in Israel.
Judith Painting - Judith by Gabriel Ferrier
Gabriel Ferrier

Here is the Story of Judith

Once upon a time a certain king came up against Jerusalem with forty thousand warriors and besieged the city for many days. The Israelites suffered tremendously during this siege and were in great distress. Now, there was a pious widow, Judith, daughter of a prophet, who devised a plan to help her people. She removed her mourning attire and dressed in beautiful clothes and jewels and went out with her maidservant.

When Judith and her maidservant reached the gates of Jerusalem she said to the watchmen: “Open the gates for perhaps God will perform a wonder for us, and I shall slay the king. Israel will be saved by me.” So the gatekeepers opened the gate and Judith and her helper left Jerusalem. They continued on and eventually entered the royal pavilion and came before the king, Now, Judith was an exceedingly beautiful woman and when the king saw her, she found favor in his eyes. He asked, “Who are you? Where do you come from and where do you wish to go?” And she answered, “I am one of the daughters of the prophets and from my father I heard that you will conquer the city and take possession of it, so I came to seek to save myself and my father’s household when you take the city,” The king replied, “I will do what you ask. I wish to take you as my wife.”

That night the king held a feast to celebrate his new bride-to-be. At the feast the king drank a -great deal of wine, became drunk and fell asleep. When all the guests left, only Judith and her maidservant remained. Judith turned her thoughts to God, lifted her sword and cut off the king’s head. Judith then took the king’s head and passed unnoticed through the camp until she reached the gates of Jerusalem. There she summoned the -gatekeepers and said to them, “Open the gates, for the Holy Blessed One has aided me and I have slain the foe.” But they did not believe her. Judith then showed the head she was carrying. The captain confirmed that it was indeed the head of the king. The gatekeepers opened the gate, Judith’s deed became known in Jerusalem. And the people shouted at the top of their lungs, “Hear 0 Israel, the Lord is our God, the Lord is One!” When the king’s men saw the Israelites they ran to the royal pavilion. Finding their king dead, they fled.

Stories of other powerful woman were also often told –

The 3 “Women of Light”:

Image result for hebrew woman Sarah painting
Sara Stein

Sarah lit candles at the beginning of Shabbat. Miraculously, the flame burned throughout the entire week, lighting the tents of Abraham and Isaac.

Image result for hebrew woman Rebecca painting
Simon Norton

Rebecca inherited the task of lighting these candles when Sarah died. Because Rebecca was also a righteous woman, her candle light shined throughout the entire week as Sarah’s had.

Esther haram.jpg
Edwin Long

Queen Esther was known as the Ayelet HaShachar (the morning star) who brought a bright, rekindled spirit to the Jews after the dark night of suffering at the time of King Ahashuaros. The king’s chief advisor, Haman, is offended by Esther’s cousin and guardian, Mordecai, and gets permission from the king to have all the Jews in the kingdom killed. Esther foils the plan, and wins permission from the king for the Jews to kill their enemies, and they do so. Her story is the traditional basis for Purim

Image result for hebrew woman Deborah painting
Malkah Devinski

Deborah was a wise and important Judge who lived in the twelfth century BCE. In the Torah Deborah is referred to as the “Woman of Lapidot.” In Hebrew, lapid means torch or flame, and so the Talmud refers to Deborah as a “woman of flames.” A contemporary midrash teaches that Deborah made candle-wicks which lit before fire ever touched them; the candles were illuminated from the light inside of Deborah, which grew as she grew.

The 3 “Women of Light” remind us that each one of us can share her light without diminishing it. They also invite us to remember the female ancestors in our own families every time we light the Shabbat and Hanukkah candles.

Related image
Deborah Ranstein

Chanukah Candle-Lighting Blessings

First night:

For the blessing of well-being and transformation that flows from this season, we light this candle for the health and wellness of our bodies.

Second night:

For the blessing of well-being and transformation that flows from this season, we light this candle for the health and wellness of our minds.

Third night:

For the blessing of well-being and transformation that flows from this season, we light this candle for the health and wellness of our souls.

Fourth night:

For the blessing of well-being and transformation that flows from this season, we light this candle for the health and wellness of our children.

Fifth night:

For the blessing of well-being and transformation that flows from this season, we light this candle for the health and wellness of our parents.

Sixth night:

For the blessing of well-being and transformation that flows from this season, we light this candle for the health and wellness of our communities.

Seventh night:

For the blessing of well-being and transformation that flows from this season, we light this candle for the restoration of health and wellness to those who are ill, suffering, or grieving.

Eighth night:

For the blessing of well-being and transformation that flows from this season, we light this candle for the health and wellness of our world.

Shamash:

For the blessing of well-being and transformation that flows through the Shekinah, the Source of Healing Wisdom and Inner Light.

Image result for menorah painting
Jodi Bonstan

First Blessing: Ba-ruch A-tah Ado-nai E-lo-he-nu Me-lech ha-olam a-sher ki-de-sha-nu be-mitz-vo-tav ve-tzi-va-nu le-had-lik ner Cha-nu-kah.

Blessed are You, Lord our G‑d, King of the universe, who has sanctified us with His commandments, and instructs us to kindle the Chanukah light.

Second blessing: Ba-ruch A-tah Ado-nai E-lo-he-nu Me-lech Ha-olam she-a-sa ni-sim la-avo-te-nu ba-ya-mim ha-hem bi-zman ha-zeh.

Blessed are You, Lord our G‑d, King of the universe, who performed miracles for our forebearers in those days, at this time.

May we all live into this season of light

~hag

***

Dear Friends –
We have a wonderful opportunity to continue the initiative started at our Michaelmas Festival of supporting the Spiritual Science of the Bio-Dynamics movement right in our own backyard:
On Sunday 29 December 2019 from 4 pm – 6 pm
You are invited to the Mandaamin Institute’s 2019 Open House!  
This year we intend to report on the great progress we have made with breeding, testing, and getting our high quality, nutrient efficient corn out together with our farmer, university, and company colleagues. However, we also need now to consider, does it make sense to do research and to breed crops for organic farmers if the farmers are going out of business? 

The last few years have been very tough for farmers and there is a real danger that we will lose the smaller scale farmers who practice biodynamic and organic farming.  It is increasingly clear that farmers cannot do it alone.  Consumer awareness and action are critical for ensuring the best food possible and a healthy planet.
 
Therefore, this year we will highlight Mark and Petra Zinniker, who run the oldest biodynamic farm on the continent in Elkhorn, Wisconsin.  They will share with us the amazing things they have been doing to produce the healthiest food possible, while at the same time, saving the planet through their farming methods. 
We will share with you our problems, our plans, and our hopes.  Please forward this invitation and the attached flier to anyone who is concerned about food and water quality, climate, and planet health.
 
Sunday, December 29, 2019
4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. 
7194 Madaus Street, Lake Geneva, Wisconsin

 
Drinks and snacks will be provided. 
 
Please RSVP by contacting Bente Goldstein at: (262) 642-9738 or benteg@centurytel.net
 
PLEASE CONTACT HAZEL IF YOU WANT TO CAR POOL

Then dear friends, from 6:30 pm – 7:30 pm We will hold the 6th Holy Night Online Holy Nights Gathering up there at the Mandaamin Institute hosted by The Rockford TN. GroupWilliam Rogers
 
For those who opt to stay in the City – Our study: Continuation of the Foundation Meeting. pg. 110 
 
Here is the Full Holy Nights 2019-2020 – Schedule:

We will gather at the Branch from 6:30 pm – 7:30 pm CST
to attend a new initiative with folks from around the world;
May Human Beings Hear It: An Online Holy Nights Gathering
Hosted by the Anthrophosophical Society in America with Organizers:
Laura Scappaticci, Angela Foster, and Hazel Archer-Ginsberg.


Each gathering will begin with an opening verse and acknowledgment of the zodiac constellation corresponding to that night.  Then a special offering will be shared by different friends representing many North American groups, branches, and regional councils.  These unique contributions will range from meditative readings and thoughtful poems, to enlivening eurythmy and artistic activities, to insight into the cosmic script of the zodiac.  This will be followed by work with the Foundation Stone Meditation and concludes with a closing verse.

December 24           12 noon CST
December 25 – 30    6:30 PM CST
December 31           “Hidden Night” – No Meeting
January 1 – 5            6:30 PM CST

Register for the Holy Nights Gatherings ›

The gatherings will be recorded for later viewing if you are not able to join us live. 
Register using the button above to access both the live presentations and recordings.


Then from 7:30pm – 8:30pm CST
The Rudolf Steiner Branch will take up our own study of the ‘Laying of the Foundation Stone’
from The Christmas Conference 1923/1924
. (There are copies of ‘The Red Book’ in the Library)

Most Nights are from 6:30 pm – 8:30 pm CST except:

24 Dec. Zoom Call at NOON CST (no meeting at the branch)
*26 Dec. The Rudolf Steiner Branch is Hosting this Nation-wide event.
  Meet in the Upper Room at 6 pm CST.

*28 Dec. Olaf Åsteson practice 3 pm – 5 pm CST – Performance at 7 pm CST
29 Dec. The Mandaamin Institute’s 2019 Open House (carpool leaves at 2 pm, returns 8:30 pm)
 
The New Mysteries of the ‘Christmas Conference’ Renewed!

1st Holy Night: Tuesday 24 December 2019 – Christmas Eve, Adam & Eve’s Day (no meeting at the branch) Zoom call at NOON CST – A Goethean Conversation

2nd Holy Night: Wednesday 25 December 2019 – Christmas Day. 6:30 pm – 8:30 pm. 1st hour hosted by ‘The Sophia Holding Group’. Our study: Rudolf Steiner’ Opening Lecture. pg. 43

*3rd Holy NightThursday 26 December 2019 – Boxing Day – Feast of St. Steven. 1st hour hosted by us the Rudolf Steiner Branch, Chicago: “The Vast & Holy Night” a liminal performance of spoken word & eurythmy honoring the dark from which the light is born. Our study: The Laying of the Foundation Stone of the General Anthroposophical Society through Rudolf Steiner. Pg. 68

4th Holy Night: Friday 27 December 2019 – Feast of St. John -1st hour hosted by Mary Stewart Adams. Our study: Continuation of the Foundation Meeting pg. 98

*5th Holy NightSaturday 28 December 2019 – The Dream Song of Olaf Åsteson with Debbie Barford & Mary Tom 3pm – 5pm practice 7 pm – 9 pm performance. Come gather to work with the Legend of Olaf Åsteson in the afternoon to be part of the community ensemble 3pm – 5pm with a dinner break returning for the performance open to all from 7 pm – 9 pm.  $10 Donation Encouraged. Contact Debra Barford for more info.

or Zoom Call: 6:30 pm – 7:30 pm hosted by The Dallas Maitreya BranchLisa Dalton

6th Holy Night: Sunday 29 December 2019 – 1st hour hosted by The Rockford TN. GroupWilliam Rogers

4 pm – 6 pm You are invited to the Mandaamin Institute’s 2019 Open House!  This year we intend to report on the great progress we have made with breeding, testing, and getting our high quality, nutrient efficient corn out together with our farmer, university, and company colleagues. 
However, we also need now to consider, does it make sense to do research and to breed crops for organic farmers if the farmers are going out of business? 

The last few years have been very tough for farmers and there is a real danger that we will lose the smaller scale farmers who practice biodynamic and organic farming.  It is increasingly clear that farmers cannot do it alone.  Consumer awareness and action are critical for ensuring the best food possible and a healthy planet.

Therefore, this year we will highlight Mark and Petra Zinniker, who run the oldest biodynamic farm on the continent in Elkhorn, Wisconsin.  They will share with us the amazing things they have been doing to produce the healthiest food possible, while at the same time, saving the planet through their farming methods. 
We will share with you our problems, our plans, and our hopes.  Please forward this invitation and the attached flier to anyone who is concerned about food and water quality, climate, and planet health.

Sunday, December 29, 2019
4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. 
7194 Madaus Street, Lake Geneva, Wisconsin

Drinks and snacks will be provided. 
Please RSVP by contacting Bente Goldstein at: (262) 642-9738 or benteg@centurytel.net


Then dear friends, from 6:30 pm – 7:30 pm We will hold the 6th Holy Night Online Holy Nights Gathering up there at the Mandaamin Institute hosted by The Rockford TN. GroupWilliam Rogers

for those who opt to stay in the City – Our study: Continuation of the Foundation Meeting. pg. 110 

7th Holy Night: Monday 30 December 2019 – 1st hour hosted by The Eastern Regional Council. Our study: Continuation of the Foundation Meeting. pg. 138

***

– NYE–The 13th Hidden Night Tuesday 31 December 2019-2020
7:30 pm – 1 am – $20 + Potluck Food & Drink to Share
Live Music & Folk Dancing with Jutta & the Hi-Dukes ™ 8 -9:30pm
Biography Playshop
Spacial Dynamics & the Loving Kindness Meditation with Deborah Rogers
Cut Away & Call in – A Ritual of Renewal
Seeking the Holy Grail Within – with Hazel Archer Ginsberg
Lead (Wax) Casting Divination for the NY
More TBA…

***

8th Holy Night: Wednesday 1 January 2020 – 1st hour hosted by Tess Parker, Abigail Dancey & The Youth. Our study: Continuation of the Foundation Meeting. pg. 183

9th Holy Night: Thursday 2 January 2020 – 1st hour hosted by The Western Regional Council. Our study: Continuation of the Foundation Meeting. pg. 192

10th Holy Night: Friday 3 January 2020 – 1st hour hosted by The Portland Branch. Our study: Continuation of the Foundation Meeting. pg. 204

11th Holy Night: Saturday 4 January 2020 – 1st hour hosted by Brian Gray. Our study: The Envy of the Gods – the Envy of Human Beings, Looking back to the burning of the Goetheanum, by Rudolf Steiner. Pg. 231

*12th Holy Night: Sunday 5 January 2020 – Epiphany, ‘Three Kings’ – 1st hour hosted by The Central Regional Council. Alberto LoyaMarianne FieberLisa DaltonHazel Archer Ginsberg. Our Study: On the Right Entry into the Spiritual World – The responsibility Incumbent on us, by Rudolf Steiner. Pg. 260

for more info. contact Festivals Coordinator Hazel Archer-Ginsberg

2 thoughts on “a Miracle happened here

  1. Thanks for the Chanukah information. I was not aware of the specific meanings of the eight candles, but was aware of what the Shamash means.

Comments are closed.