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Chapter 139:1(b)

1. (b). These [eight] days are referred to as "Chanukah" - which can be divided into "chanu" "chof-hay," "they rested ("chanu") from their enemies on the twenty-fifth (the numerical value of the letters "chof hay"). Also, [the word "Chanukah" means "dedication," for it was at this time that] the Jews rededicated the Temple after their foes had defiled it.

For these reasons, some authorities say that it is a mitzvah to feast slightly more than usual on Chanukah. Another reason [for celebration] is that the work of building the [different parts] of the Sanctuary ("Mishkan") [in the desert] was completed during these days [although the Sanctuary was not actually dedicated until the month of Nissan].

The head of the household should relate to his children the story of the miracles that occurred to our ancestors during these days (see Josephus). Nevertheless, these feasts cannot be considered to be feasts associated with a mitzvah unless songs of praise are also recited.

It is customary to give generously to charity during Chanukah, for a unique potential is granted during these days to correct the blemishes of our souls through gifts to charity. In particular, this charity should be directed to the support of poor Torah scholars.


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