Hanukkah: the ‘miracle of the oil’ (Advanced English Lesson)

Essas aulas de inglês são para alunos intermediários e avançados de inglês como segunda língua. Eles incluem “Ler”, “Ouvir” e “Escrever”. Basta seguir a lição respondendo às perguntas à medida que as encontra.

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Todas as vagas em negrito devem ser traduzidas para seu próprio idioma para ajudar na compreensão do novo vocabulário.

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Welcome to your beginner English lesson. When the lesson is over I would like you to practice as much as possible before our next lesson. You can do this by reading the sections again and listening to the audio at the same time. This way you can see the words you are reading and listen to the words.


This lesson is called:

Hanukkah: the ‘miracle of the oil’


Hanukkah is an eight-day Jewish festival, also known as the Festival of Lights or its traditional name Chanukah. It sees Jews around the world light one candle on a nine-branched menorah – or ‘hanukiah candelabrum’ – each day.

NEW VOCABULARY:  Hanukkah,  Jewish, Festival of Lights,  Chanukah, Jews,  candle
nine-branched menorah, candelabra


“Years and years ago, there were these people called the Maccabees!” Yes, Ross from Friends does try to tell the story correctly. The Jewish festival marks the recovery of Jerusalem and the later rededication of the Second Temple at the start of the Maccabean revolt against the Seleucid Empire during the 2nd century BCE.

NEW VOCABULARY: Maccabees,  recovery,  Jerusalem,  rededication, Temple,  
Maccabean revolt,  Seleucid Empire


The holiday begins on the 25th day of Kislev, which is the ninth month of the ecclesiastical year on the Hebrew calendar. In the western calendar, Hanukkah is celebrated in November or December. This year, it began on Sunday, November 28, and continues until tonight, Monday 6 December.

NEW VOCABULARY: Kislev,  ecclesiastical, Hebrew


Monday 6th December marks the last day of Hanukkah.

How many Hanukkah candles are lit?

The eve of Monday 6 December marks the eighth night of Hanukkah. Every evening, a candle is lit by the shammash – until there are eight candles lit together for the final night of the festival.

NEW VOCABULARY: lit, shammash,  eve


What is the meaning of Hanukkah?

The word Hanukkah means ‘rededication’ and commemorates the Jews’ struggle for religious freedom, when the leaders of a Jewish rebel army called the Maccabees rose up against their Greek-Syrian oppressors in the Maccabean Revolt of 167 BC (BCE).

King Antiochus had taken over the Second Temple in Jerusalem and soon after ordered an altar to Zeus to be erected. Judaism was prohibited, circumcision was banned and pigs were ordered to be sacrificed at the altar.

NEW VOCABULARY:  'rededication', commemorates ,  struggle,  Greek-Syrian, oppressors
Revolt, ordered, altar, Zeus, erected, Judaism, prohibited, circumcision,  banned 


The Jewish rebellion that followed was led by Judah Maccabee, (or Y’hudhah HaMakabi, meaning “Judah the Hammer“). The uprising spanned three years until the Maccabees gained control of Jerusalem.

Judaism’s central text the Talmud, dictates only pure olive oil with the seal of the high priest can be used for the Hanukiah.

They wanted to rededicate the desecrated temple, but could find only one container of the sacred oil needed which had the seal of the high priest still intact.

NEW VOCABULARY:  rebellion, Hammer,  uprising,  spanned, gained control, Talmud,
 seal of the high priest, rededicate,  desecrated, sacred oil, high priest, intact


The candelabrum is required to burn throughout the night every night but, according to legend, although there was only enough oil for one day the candles miraculously stayed alight for eight days – the time needed to prepare a fresh supply of kosher oil for the menorah.

This event became known as ‘the miracle of the oil’ and is now marked with this eight-day festival.

NEW VOCABULARY:  candelabrum, to burn, according to legend, miraculously, alight 
kosher, menorah


Now, watch the ten minute video about the great fire of London and then answer the five questions below.


        1. Who fought against the king?
        2. How much oil was left?
        3. What is Hannukah?
        4. What is another name for Hanukkah?
        5. Who long did the oil last?
        6. How many arms does the candleabra have?
        7. What kind of oil was used to keep the lamp burning?
        8.  What is the exchange of gifts called
        9. What is the holy text of the Jews called?
        10. Where is the Jewish homeland?
NEW VOCABULARY: Soloman, Service, Lamp, Burning, Ride, Battle, Celebrate, candleabra
march, Jewish bible, holy, 
  1. homeland


Write a 150 word summary about what you have learned during this lesson.


In your text please use two examples of the present progressive tense. I have put my present progressive video lesson below to help you. 


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