The two most common questions I hear about Hanukkah are

  • When is Hanukkah this year?
  • What is the proper spelling of Hanukkah?

After I answer these questions, I would like to explain that we are asking the wrong questions. The question we ought to ask about Hanukkah is something completely different. But, first, my answers.

Wise-ass answers

When is Hanukkah this year?

Hanukkah will be on the 25th of Kislev, just like it is every year.


What is the proper spelling of Hanukkah?

The proper spelling is chet, nun, kaph, hay – like this חֲנֻכָּה


Better answers

When is Hanukkah this year?

This year, it starts Saturday evening, December 24. Why? Last year wasn’t it so much earlier? Yes. The 25th of Kislev moves around as the Hebrew calendar is a lunisolar calendar that cycles and only aligns with the Gregorian calendar every 19 years.

From Wikipedia: “The Hebrew lunar year is about eleven days shorter than the solar cycle and uses the 19-year Metonic cycle to bring it into line with the solar cycle, with the addition of an intercalary month every two or three years, for a total of seven times per 19 years.”


What is the proper spelling of Hanukkah?

The Hebrew letters (all valid in scrabble) chet, nun, kaph, and hay don’t all have one-to-one equivalents in English. The initial phlegm-sounding chet is often written as “ch” or “c.” The kaph is k or c – and it probably should be doubled because in Hebrew there is a dot in the letter, which is a holdover from a more ancient Hebrew when the letter was repeated. Finally, the final “h” is not needed in the English rendition, which leads to more options.


Better questions

We ought to be asking is “to what are we dedicated?” – that’s the better question.

The Hebrew word Hanukkah means (re)-dedication. The holiday commemorates the Macabees reclaiming the Temple in Jerusalem from Antiochus IV Epiphanes in the 2nd century B.C.E..

The holiday is about re-dedication.

So, the question I have is, to what are you dedicated?

The answer might be found by listening to the words of your mouth.

Would your checkbook or your calendar agree with your mouth? In other words, are you really committed to that which you say you are?

Or, might this be a good time to rededicate yourself?


This week’s #wisdom_biscuit: Question to what you are dedicated.

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