The origins of Hanukkah can be traced all the way back to the 2nd century B.C. At that time, Jerusalem, which was originally ruled by Egypt, passed into the hands of Antiochus III—the Greek ruler of Syria—when he defeated the Egyptians in battle. Hoping to establish good relations with his new Jewish subjects, the king allowed them to practice their religion in peace. But things changed when his son Antiochus IV took the throne. He not only outlawed the Jewish religion, but also forced the Jews to worship Greek gods, even erecting a statue of Zeus in their holy Temple.
Not long afterward, a group of Jews called the Maccabees rose up against the king and recaptured Jerusalem. To rededicate the Temple, they built a new altar and lit the Eternal Lamp, which was supposed to be kept burning at all times. Although there was only one day’s worth of oil remaining, the lamp burned for eight days—just enough time to prepare a new supply of oil.
To celebrate this miracle, the Jewish priests established the festival of Hanukkah (“dedication” in Hebrew), a tradition that has continued to this day. On each night of Hanukkah, prayers are sung and one more candle on a menorah is lit, until eight candles are lit on the final night.
defeat (v.) 戰勝，擊敗
erect (v.) 豎立，建設
dedicate (v.) 奉獻，使聖化，rededicate 即「再奉獻」
eternal (adj.) 永恆的，永久的，無休止的
取材自Norman Lewis教授著作Word Power Made Easy中文版《英文字彙解密：語言、事件與個人特質 字源及衍生字完全記憶法》（EZ叢書館）