Number 8 in Judaism
– on the eighth day
When Abram was 99 years old, God appeared before him.
He was given the name Abraham and a covenant was made between God and Abraham. This is to be found at Genesis 17:1-14
“Every male among you shall be circumcised. You shall be circumcised in the flesh of your foreskins, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and you. He that is eight days old among you shall be circumcised; ….” Genesis 17:10-12
Also in Leviticus 12:3: “And on the eighth day the flesh on his foreskin shall be circumcised.”
Isaac’s circumcision – Israel Museum, Jerusalem
The Jewish religious rite of Brit Milah, commonly known as circumcision, is held on a baby boy’s eighth day of life.
The Festival of the Lights lasts eight days.
This festival is a celebration of the Jewish victory over the first battle for religious liberty and the rededication of the Holy Temple.
It dates back to the Hellenistic period. Antiochus IV had become king over the Hellenistic Syrian Kingdom. He reigned from 175 – 164 B.C.E. Antiochus had orders sent out that every person in his empire was to serve the Grecian gods and become Greek.
In Palestine it became forbidden, under the penalty of death, to practice the Jewish religion. Sadly many became martyrs. The Holy Temple was filled with statues of Greek gods. Pigs were sacrificed to the Greek god Zeus on the altar.
A small Jewish “army” under leadership of Judah Maccabee fought to regain control of the Temple. The Maccabees were successful and cleansed the Temple.
According to the Talmud, the menorah was required to burn throughout the night every night.
They only had enough olive oil for the menorah to burn for one day. Miraculously the oil burned for eight days. This was the exact time it took to prepare new oil for the menorah.
During Hanukkah the eight candles are lit in memory of the menorah in the Temple. The Hanukkah menorah has a place for eight candles.
In addition there is a place for a ninth candle, the shamash (the servant). The shamash is used to light the other candles. One candle is lit each day of the festival, until all eight are burning the last day.
During the Hanukkah the Jewish families sing songs and eat special foods. The food will often be fried in oil, for example latkes (potato pancakes) or sufganiot (doughnuts).
Playing the dreidel is also popular.
Children may receive Hanukkah gelt (money gifts) or other gifts, often one for each evening of the festival.
Hanukkah is a post biblical festival. Work obligations are not cancelled on account of this festival, though often work is reduced.
Hanukkah starts on the 25th day of the Hebrew month of Kislev (from late November to late December in the Gregorian calendar).
The Eight Laws of Charity – The Tzedakah
In Judaism, Tzedakah is the religious requirement of charity regardless of a person’s financial status.
Maimonides has Eight Laws of Giving.
These are listed in the Mishneh Torah.
Moses Maimonides (1138 – 1204) was a major Jewish rabbi, philosopher, doctor, mathematician and astronomer.
|1.||Giving an interest-free loan to a person in need; giving a grant to a person in need.|
|2.||Giving tzedakah anonymously to an unknown beneficiary via a person (or public fund) who/which can be trusted.|
|3.||Giving tzedakah anonymously to a known receiver.|
|4.||Giving tzedakah publicly to an unknown receiver.|
|5.||Giving tzedakah prior to being asked.|
|6.||Giving adequately after being asked.|
|7.||Giving willingly, but insufficiently.|
|8.||Giving “in sadness” – giving because of the distressing feelings one gets seeing somebody in need.|