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“And the Lord shall be King over all the earth. In that day it shall be—“The Lord is one, ”And His name one.”
One of the main messages of Hanukkah is for us to examine our hearts and ask: What are we trusting in? Are we trusting in our own abilities or in God? We must be people who are utterly dependent and centered on God alone.
Another symbol of Hanukkah, besides the menorah, is the dreidel: a four-sided top, on which is inscribed “a great miracle happened there,” referring to the Maccabean miracle. Historically, it is believed the dreidel was chosen as an icon of this holiday when the Greeks ruled over the Jewish people. Through the Seleucid Empire, under the evil and wicked King Antiochus, the Jewish people were forbidden to study Torah and to obey many of the key mitzvot, the key commandments written in the Torah. When the children or people were studying, they would keep a dreidel nearby so that if the soldiers were to barge in, they would pretend that they were gathered not to learn but to gamble, which was popular among the Greeks in those days. After we light the Hanukkah candles, we play this dreidel game and sing the children’s rhyme…
“I have a little dreidel. I made it out of clay.
When it’s dry and ready, then dreidel I shall play.
Oh dreidel, dreidel, dreidel, I made it out of clay.
Oh dreidel, dreidel, dreidel, then dreidel I shall play.
It has a lovely body, with legs so short and thin.
When it gets all tired, it drops and then I win!”
As with most everything in Jewish life, there are more levels of meaning than meet the eye, even with the dreidel. Are you game for a mini-Hebrew lesson? On each side of the cube, there are four Hebrew letters: Gimel, Nun, Shin, and Heh. Every letter in Hebrew also corresponds to a number. If you add up the numerical value of each of these letters, they equal three hundred fifty-eight (358). Why is this significant? If you add up the letters in the word Mashiach, or Messiah, it also equals three hundred fifty-eight. The numerical value for the phrase “the Lord Reigns,” Hashem Melek, totals 358 as well. The dreidel is not just a top, but a symbol of our lives, spinning and circling around whatever we choose to place at the center, which should be Messiah.
The focus of Hanukkah is re-dedicating ourselves to God and re-centering our lives in close proximity to Him, which results in intimacy and connection. During this season of Hanukkah, we must take an honest inventory of what is central in our life. What does our world revolve around? What causes our life to spin? Is it our career? Is it our family? Do our possessions possess us?
If our life does not revolve around Messiah Yeshua, then we are being taken for a spin, just like the dreidel. If our life is built on any false axis, it will not spin forever but come tumbling down. Our deep desire should be to seek God above all else with reckless abandonment until He becomes our center again. Bobby Conner recently wrote, “Seekers will be finders, and finders will be sought.” God is seeking the seekers and will be found by them!
This course was designed for you. Filmed in the Holy Land, you will see God, His Word, and the celebration of Christmas in a new, transforming way, gaining a deeper understanding of the context of the first Christmas and all the prophecies and promises connected to it. Journey Deeper