Nu? News November 2009 – Why Yeshua Celebrated Hanukkah
Why Yeshua Celebrated Hanukkah
By Rabbi Barney Kasdan
There is definitely something special about the winter holiday season. The
lights and decorations remind us of the themes. The family gatherings, the
foods and even the weather contribute to the unique feel of this time of
year. Of course for the majority of people, it is the holiday of Christmas
that is the main focus and rightly so. Despite the debate over the exact
dating, it is the generally accepted date of the birth of Jesus for many.
The Jewish community has the self-designated “minor holiday” of Hanukkah at
this same season. Yet how ironic that Yeshua celebrated Hanukkah and didn’t
know about Christmas. It is recorded in the New Covenant that “the Feast of
Dedication/Hanukkah took place at Jerusalem…and Yeshua was walking in the
Temple.” (John/Yochanan 10:22-23). Not only did Yeshua celebrate Hanukkah
but he was in the most central celebration: in the very Temple that had been
cleansed by the Maccabees some 165 years earlier. We should ask the deeper
question, why did Yeshua join the celebration?
First, it should be affirmed that Yeshua strongly identified with the
message of the holiday. During the Greek occupation of Judea, there had been
a great miracle. Although Antiochus and his army sought to assimilate and
destroy our people, some faithful Jews arose to fight the oppressors. The
short story is that David (the small group) overcame Goliath (the impossible
challenge). The common saying at this season is “nes gadol hayah sham” (a
great miracle happened there!) Why was Yeshua in Jerusalem at this season?
Simply put, he affirmed the celebration because it acknowledges our God, the
God of miracles. As a faithful Jew among Jews, Yeshua joined in the Temple
services in praise to the Heavenly Father.
Second, Yeshua celebrated Hanukkah as a way of proclaiming his Messiahship
to Israel. It is well know that Hanukkah is a great type of the future great
redemption of God. Likewise, the Maccabees are seen as a type of messianic
deliverers. So the question posed to Yeshua by some of the rabbinic leaders
is quite logical: “How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the
Messiah, tell us plainly” (Yochanan 10:24). By now, many had heard his
teachings and seen his miracles. Are you the fulfillment of what the
Hanukkah season is all about? To this pointed question, Yeshua gives a
crystal clear response: “I told you but you do not believe” (10:25). It was
not that more evidence was needed but many refused to receive the clear
testimony of Yeshua’s words and actions. Likewise in our day, one has to
wonder if there is really a need for more evidence about the claims and
works of Yeshua. For many people, it is not that they can’t believe but that
they rather choose not to believe.
Third, Yeshua made it clear at that Hanukkah celebration that it is a
holiday of decision-making. In the days of the Maccabees the choice was
assimilate or fight for the faith. There was no middle ground. So too in the
Temple in the first century. With Yeshua proclaiming clearly that he is the
Messiah sent from the God of Israel, there is little room for complacency.
At that same service, we are told that some zealots took up stones to stone
him (v.31). It would have been natural to have a strong response to those
things taking place. Some concluded Yeshua could not be the true Messiah
because he did not match their pre-conceived definitions. But someday,
somehow the true Messiah must come to Israel. Could he be that true one? It
says shortly after this Hanukkah service that “many believed in Him” (v.42).
It seems it has always been the case when it comes to Yeshua. Many reject
but many also follow. As we celebrate this season of Hanukkah light, may we
reflect on its profound lessons; most importantly our relationship to the
One who claimed to be the Light.
Nov 14 Saturday, 6:00 pm. Kehilat Ariel Dinner Theatre. Mark this date
for this fun celebration as we reflect on G-d’s faithfulness to our
messianic synagogue over the years. A special evening is planned starting
with a Middle Eastern dinner (6pm) then a beautiful original drama (7:30pm)
entitled “Megillah of the Ten Almanot / The Scroll of the Ten Virgins.”
This original drama is based on the teaching of Yeshua and the ancient
Jewish wedding ceremony. Lively music, dance and teaching from a Jewish
perspective. $25 for both dinner and theatre or $5 for the theatre only.
Get your tickets at the KA services or call the office today to reserve your
seat. Invite a friend to this great event!
Nov 21 Saturday, 9:00-10:00 am. Children’s Hebrew School. This
15-week course is a requirement for all kids who wish to have a Bar/Bat
Mitzvah at KA. Covers Hebrew, cantillation and a spiritual life book.
Contact Rabbi Barney for details and fees.
Nov 21 Saturday, 9:00-10:00am. Adult Cantillation Class. All Hebrew
readers are invited to learn how to chant the Torah in the 6-week course.
Taught by Rabbi Kasdan. No fee.
Nov 22 Sunday, 6:00 pm. Community Thanksgiving Service. KA will be
joining 5 other congregations which meet at our location for this annual
event of praise. Special music and sharing by the diverse groups. Don’t
Dec 12 Saturday, 10:30 am. Hanukkah Service and Latke Luncheon. You won’t
want to miss this joyful time of music, children’s presentation and the
Menorah. There will also be an enlightening message (pun intended) on the
significance of this biblical holiday for all believers. Bring your favorite
dish, perhaps latkes, for the fellowship meal afterwards. Nes gadol hayah
Jan 16 Saturday, 7:30pm. Special Concert with Deborah
Kline-Lantourno and band. In their first SD appearance, this dynamic group
will be sharing their original messianic music which reflects Israeli, jazz
and Latin cultures. Love offering received. Great opportunity to bring a
Shabbat Morning Services: at 3219 Clairemont Mesa Blvd., in Clairemont,
Saturday, 10:30am. Join us for this uplifting time of worship, fellowship
and study. Our current sermon series is “The Messianic Jewish Walk” which is
a study of the New Covenant book of First Corinthians from a Jewish
Children Shabbat School: Our children join us for the first part of the
service, then break for different classes. Classes for ages 2 through High
School which include a Bible lesson plus background on Jewish studies and
Dance Ministry Dance workshop every other month at 1:30 pm meeting upstairs.
Contact our office for the latest information.
Midweek Minyan and Messianic Jewish Institute of San Diego: Corporate prayer
from 6:30-7:00 on Tuesday. From 7:00-8:30 Current class : “Biblical
Archaeology”. This fascinating study takes a look at the recent discoveries
in Israel and the Middle East and how they confirm the history of the Bible.
The MJISD classes can lead to a certificate of Messianic Jewish Studies.
Call for information.
Adult Shabbat Classes: Saturday 9:00-10:00am. This “Survey of the Torah”
class will take you through the Parsha in one year. Currently in
Bresheet/Genesis. A great way to learn the foundations of our faith!
There is also a Spanish Torah Study at his same time.
Rabbi Barney Kasdan
Audio: Gabe Pacheco
CD Duplication: David Stephens
Dance: Diana Martin
Facilities: Jim Scarborough
Jewish Community Liaison: Sharon Lynn
Library: John Dorsey
Music: Eric & Joanne Kragenbrink
Newsletter: David Kasdan
Office: Donna Jacobson
Oneg: Maria Montelongo
Resource Center: Alice Hoover
Singles: Ken Nilsen
Translation: Paty Garibay
Tzedakah Pantry: Elisabeth Sant’ana
Ushers: Mark Rantz
Youth/Education: Michael & Jeannie Stinton
Del Cerro, Tony & Joan Savarese, (619)501-7778, every Fri, 6:30 pm.
Carlsbad, Yrena Rollins, (760)931-1298, 1st & 3rd Thurs. 7:00 pm.
Encinitas, Michael & Jan Folb, (760)436-8828, 2nd & 4th Weds. 7:00 pm.
Escondido, Mark & Kathy Rantz, (760)294-9619, 2nd & 4th Fri, 6:30 pm.
Hitlakdut (age 18-25), Jami Robins, every other Thurs, 6:00pm.
Men’s Club (at KA), Rome Remigio, (858)279-4073, 1st & 3rd Mon, 7pm
Singles, Ken Nilsen, (619)618-9705, 1st & 3rd Fri, 6:30pm.
KA Youth Group: The KA Youth (All teens) meet weekly on Shabbat for study
and fellowship. They also meet on Tuesday nights, 6:30-8:30 pm, to hang out
and have Bible study. Talk to the Stinton’s about some great upcoming social
Messiah TV: Check out Kehilat Ariel outreach TV program which has been shown
from San Diego to New York! Mondays, 6:30pm. Check your local listings on
Time Warner cable.