We were amazed at how focused the children were as we sat on the rug and introduced the upcoming holiday. At any given time you may hear Chanukkah songs, or see spinning dreidels, the yeladim placing candles on a Chanukiah, or a book being read about Judah the Maccabee. Our favorite has been listening to the yaladim retelling the story of the Maccabees.
Some of the things we have heard :
“A mean king named Antiochus told the Jewish they can’t do Shabbat in the temple.”
“No more celebrating Shabbat!
“No more going to the Temple, and no more Torah!”
“Temple was dirty with animals, you don’t bring animals in the temple”
“That they walked in with mud, stones, and put garbage in the Temple.” “They broke furniture and knocked things down; they smashed the jars of oil that were used to light the menorah.”
“Judah the Maccabee and all the others cleaned up the temple” “took the animals away”
Finally getting to the part that there was only a “tiny, tiny bit oil left and Judah the Maccabee was worried that it would only be enough for one day.” There was a Miracle, and how many days did the oil last ? “there was enough oil for 8 days!”
We set up the Chanukiah and talked about the Shamash, the helper candle. We explained how important it is to respect people who help us. Who helps you? Things we heard,”my ima helps me” “aba helps me go to the bathroom” “when I fall ima gives me a bandage.”
Then we thought what a great time to talk about “Mitzvot” doing something nice for someone who helped you. What are some things you can do to help someone? “When someone is sad give them a hug” How can we help ima and abba? “ I help wash table”, “I help put all my toys away”.
So as you can see Chanukkah leads to so much more than “ The Festival of Lights”
We also took the opportunity to learn about other things that light up, flashlight, some toys, candles with batteries (they don’t burn you). The yeladim also got to dance with a colored disco light, which illuminated the classroom with green, red, yellow and blue light.
Miri and Jennaba