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    Chanukah Torah readings – Ask the Rabbi

    Q. Why are the Chanukah Torah readings about the princes of the Israelite tribes and not specifically about the festival itself?

    A. Because Chanukah is not Biblical, there cannot be any direct Scriptural readings about the festival. However, the sages (see Mishnah M’gillah 3:6) chose passages from Parashat Naso which deal with the gifts the princes brought to the dedication of the Tabernacle. The gifts are stated as being for chanukat ha-mizbe’ach, “the dedication of the altar”. The key word, “dedication”, is of course the theme of the festival, which marks the rededication of the sanctuary after the enemy had been defeated.

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