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The Rabbis teach that the precept relating to the lighting of a candle at the Feast of Dedication applies to a whole household, but that those who are particular light a candle for each individual member, and those that are extremely particular light up eight candles on the first day, seven on the second, decreasing the number by one each

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day. This is according to the school of Shammai; but the school of Hillel say that he should light up one on the first day, two on the second, increasing the number by one each of the eight days of the fast. . . . What is the origin of the feast of Dedication? On the twenty-fifth day of Kislev (about December), the eight days of the Dedication commence, during which term no funeral oration is to be made, nor public fast to be decreed. When the Gentiles (Greeks) entered the second Temple, it was thought they had defiled all the holy oil they found in it; but when the Hasmoneans prevailed and conquered them, they sought and found still one jar of oil stamped with the seal of the High Priest, and therefore undefiled. Though the oil it contained would only have sufficed for one day, a miracle was performed, so that the oil lasted to the end of the week (during which time more oil was provided and consecrated for the future service of the Temple). On the anniversary of this occasion the Feast of Dedication was instituted.

Shabbath, fol. 21, col. 2.

The Feast of Dedication is annually celebrated by all Jews everywhere, to commemorate the purifying of the Temple and the restoration of its worship after its desecration by Antiochus Epiphanes, of which an account may be found in 1 Maccabees iv. 52-59. it is very probable that some of our Christmas festivities are only adaptations of the observances of this Jewish feast in symbolism of Christian ideas. During the eight days of the festival they light up wax candles or oil lamps, according to the rubric of the school of Hillel. Previous to the lighting, the following benedictions are pronounced:--

"Blessed art Thou, O Lord, our God! King of the universe, who hath sanctified us with Thy commandment, and commanded us to light the light of Dedication."

"Blessed art Thou, O Lord, our God! King of the universe, who wrought miracles for our fathers in those days and in this season!"

"Blessed art Thou, O Lord, Our God! King of the universe, who hath preserved us alive, sustained us, and brought us to enjoy this season."

After the lighting, the following form is repeated:--"These lights we light to praise Thee for the miracles, wonders, salvation, and victories which Thou didst perform for our fathers in those days and in this season by the hands of Thy holy priests. Wherefore by command these lights are holy all the eight days of the Dedication, neither are we permitted to make any other use of them, but to view them, that we may return thanks to Thy name for Thy miracles, wonderful works, and salvation."

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Another commemorative formula is repeated six or seven times a day during this festival; viz, during morning and evening prayers and after each meal.

Rabbi Yoshua ben Levi has said a man should never utter an indecent word, for the Scripture (Gen. vii. 6) uses eight letters more rather than make use of a word which, without them, would be indecent.

P'sachim, fol. 3, col. 1.

In the passage referred to, the words "that are not clean" are used instead of "unclean"; but see verse 2; there another word for not is used, which brings down the excess to five letters.

When the doors of the Temple were opened the creaking of the hinges was heard at the distance of eight Sabbath days' journeys.

Yoma, fol. 39, col. 2.

It may be proper to remark that the journey is about nine furlongs, or a mile and one-eighth, so that the distance alluded to is nearly ten miles.

The eight princes alluded to in Micah (v. 5) are Jesse, Saul, Samuel, Amos, Zephaniah, Zedekiah, the Messiah, and Elijah.

Succah, fol. 52, col. 2.

It is related of Rabbi Shimon, the son of Gamaliel, that at the rejoicing during the festival of the drawing of water on the Feast of Tabernacles, he threw eight flaming torches, one after the other in quick succession, into the air, and caught them again as they descended without suffering one to touch another. He also (in fulfillment of Ps. cii. 14) stooped and kissed the stone floor, supporting him self upon his two thumbs only,--a feat which no one else could perform. And this is what is termed stooping properly.

Ibid., fol. 53, col. 1.

Levi once in the presence of Rabbi (the Holy) conjured with eight knives. Samuel in the presence of Shavur the king (of Persia, Sapor 1, 240-273) performed the same feat with eight cups of wine. Abaii in the presence of Rava did likewise with eight eggs; some say with four only.


Eight prophets, who were priests as well, were descended from Rahab the harlot, and these are they:--Neraiah, Baruch, Seraiah, Maaseiah, Jeremiah, Hilkiah, Hanameel,

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and Shallum. Rabbi Yehudah says Huldah the prophetess was one of the grandchildren of Rahab.

Meggillah, fol. 14, col. 2.

The last eight verses of the law (Torah) were written by Joshua.

Bava Bathra, fol. 14, col. 1.

There is a touching story in this very same tract, fol. 15, col. 1, which is repeated in Menachoth, fol. 30, col. 1, and noticed by Rashi in his commentary, to the effect that Moses himself wrote the verses which record his own death at the dictation of the Almighty. The account literally rendered is, "The Holy One--blessed be He!--spake, and Moses wrote in tears."

There are eight sects of Pharisees, viz, these:--(1.) The shoulder Pharisee, i. e., he who, as it were, shoulders his good works to be seen of men. (2.) The time-gaining Pharisee, he who says, "Wait a while; let me first perform this or that good work." (3.) The compounding Pharisee, i. e., he who says, "May my few sins be deducted from my many virtues, and thus atoned for" (or the blood letting Pharisee, i. e., he who for fear lest he should look by chance on a woman shuts his eyes and wounds his face). (6.) The Pharisee who so bends his back, stooping with his head toward the ground, that he wears the appearance of an inverted mortar. (5.) The Pharisee who proudly says, "Remains there a virtue which I ought to perform and have not?" (6.) The Pharisee who is so out of love for the reward which he hopes to earn by his observances. (7.) The Pharisee who is so from fear lest he should expose himself to punishment. (8.) The Pharisee who is born so.

Avoth d'Rab. Nathan, chap. 37.

Both Talmuds as a rule enumerate only seven sorts of Pharisees (T. Yerush, Berachoth, fol. 13, Soteh, fol. 20, T. Babli, fol. 22, col. 2, and elsewhere); but Rabbi Nathan, as above, adds a new species to the genus. The freehand sketches of Pharisees given in the Talmud are the reverse of complimentary. In the words of the late E. Deutsch, who was a Talmudist of no mean repute, "The Talmud inveighs even more bitterly and caustically than the New Testament against what it calls 'the plague of Pharisaism,' 'the dyed ones' 'who do evil deeds like Zimri, and require a goodly reward like Phinehas,' 'they who preach beautifully, but do not act beautifully.' Parodying their exaggerated logical arrangements, their scrupulous divisions and subdivisions, the Talmud distinguishes seven classes

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of Pharisees, one of whom only is worthy of that name. The real and only Pharisee is he 'who does the will of his Father which is in heaven because he loves Him.'"

He who neglects to wear phylacteries transgresseth eight commandments.

Menachoth, fol. 44, col. 1.

The following extract states the occasion when the wearing of phylacteries was prescribed as an equivalent that would be accepted instead of the observance of the law:-- "Rabbi Eliezer said the Israelites complained before God one day, 'We are anxious to be occupied day and night in the law, but we have not the necessary leisure.' Then the Holy One--blessed be He!--said to them, 'Perform the commandment of the phylacteries, and I will count it as if you were occupied day and night in the law.'" (Yalhut Shimeoni.) Phylacteries, fringes, and Mezuzah, these three preserve one from sin; as it is said (Eccl. iv. 2), "A threefold cord is not quickly broken;" as also in Ps. xxxiv. 7, "The angel of the Lord encampeth about them that fear Him, and delivereth them."

Ibid., fol. 43, col. 2.

The harp in the time of the Messiah will have eight strings; as it is written (Ps. xii. 1), "The chief musician upon eight," etc.

Eirchin, fol. 13, col. 2.

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