Dear Kid,

Happy Hanukkah! DearKidLoveMom.comJust in case you weren’t sure about the story of Hanukkah (or Chanukah), I have decided to summarize it for you. I’m just that kind of mom.

Once upon a time it was a really long time ago. We know it was a long time ago because the years were still counting down to zero.

In Syria there was a king. This is not surprising since pretty much everywhere had a king. But this particular king was lacking in both some of his marbles and all of his manners. King Antiochus IV (for that was his name), demonstrated both lacks by trying to convince everyone that his religion was the Only Religion. This didn’t work out really well for the Jews who were quite happy remaining Jewish thank you very much.

Antiochus IV responded by employing the time honor diplomatic tactic of killing thousands of Jews. The Jews responded by objecting and inventing latkes. No, that came later.

Intrigue, murder, murder, intrigue.

Eventually, a gaggle of Antiochus’ bad guys betook themselves to the village of Modin where they built an altar and demanded that everyone offer sacrifices to the Greek gods. Enter Mattathias the Hasmonean, his sons (including Judah Maccabee), and a bunch of other folks. Mattathias and his sons killed the bad guys, destroyed the altar, and invented latkes. Nope, still later.

Mattathias and his sons et al. fled to the hills where they bought condos and established a revolutionary outpost. Without latkes because we haven’t gotten to that part of the story yet.

War, battles, ridiculous odds, and after Judah and Company won despite being outrageously outnumbered, they liberated Jerusalem.

The temple in Jerusalem was a disaster. The Maccabees et al. cleaned and rededicated it. But they found only a tiny bit of oil that hadn’t been defiled. Catastrophe! And it would take 8 days to press and prepare more oil. (Math note: 8 days needed is greater than 1 day available supply.)

Then—wonder of wonders, miracle of miracles—the oil lasted for all 8 days. And latkes were invented.Happy Hanukkah!

You may note that nowhere in the story are presents mentioned. That’s just a modern day bonus.

Love, Mom