Chanukah in June!

Image: The cycle of the Jewish Year, depicted as a wheel. The spring holidays are at the top, the fall months are at the bottom. (source, provenance uncertain.)

The Jewish year is not just a big circle that goes around and around. It is full of echoes and connections across the year, and this week’s Torah portion is an excellent example of those connections.

The Torah reading for Parashat Naso in the book of Numbers contains readings that we will read again during Chanukah. Why? This portion contains the description of the consecration of the Mishkan [tabernacle.] Chanukah is the holiday when we celebrate the reconsecration of the Temple in Jerusalem, after the victory of the Maccabees.

We don’t have a full description of the reconsecration of the Temple, but it was almost certainly echoed the consecration ritual outlined in Numbers 7.

The Wikipedia article Naso (parsha) lays it all out so succinctly that I’m just going to quote it here:

Numbers 7:1–17 is the Torah reading for the first day; Numbers 7:18–29 is the Torah reading for the second day; Numbers 7:24–35 is the Torah reading for the third day; Numbers 7:30–41 is the Torah reading for the fourth day; Numbers 7:36–47 is the Torah reading for the fifth day; Numbers 7:42–47 is the second Torah reading for the sixth day of Hanukkah, which, because it falls on Rosh Chodesh, has Numbers 28:1–15 as its first reading; Numbers 7:48–59 is the Torah reading for the seventh day when it does not fall on Rosh Chodesh; and Numbers 7:48–53 is the second Torah reading for the seventh day when it does fall on Rosh Chodesh, in which case Numbers 28:1–15 is the first reading; and Numbers 7:54–8:4 is the Torah reading for the eighth day. When a day of Hanukkah falls on a Sabbath, however, the regular weekly Torah reading for that Sabbath is the first Torah reading for that day, and the following readings from Parashah Naso are the maftir Torah readings: Numbers 7:1–17 is the maftir Torah reading for the first day; Numbers 7:18–23 is the maftir Torah reading for the second day; Numbers 7:24–29 is the maftir Torah reading for the third day; Numbers 7:30–35 is the maftir Torah reading for the fourth day; Numbers 7:36–41 is the maftir Torah reading for the fifth day; Numbers 7:42–47 is the maftir Torah reading for the sixth day of Hanukkah, which, because it falls on Rosh Chodesh, has Numbers 28:9–15 as its sixth aliyahNumbers 7:48–53 is the maftir Torah reading for the seventh day; and Numbers 7:54–8:4 is the maftir Torah reading for the eighth day.

Naso (parsha) Wikipedia

A word about Jewish Wikipedia: Some writer/editors have put a lot of work into the articles about Judaism in Wikipedia. I find them to be generally reliable, but that’s because I double-check anything I find there. Wikipedia is not a bad place to look for sources about Jewish topics – but the real meat is in the footnotes and references. I don’t recommend quoting it without checking the source. Mistakes happen, typos happen, and I have seen errors there from time to time. Some of the writers include all movements of Judaism in their articles, and some have “attitude” about whichever movement isn’t theirs.

To bend a familiar saying a bit, Caveat lector! Let the reader beware! Or if you prefer it in Hebrew:

!קורא, תיזהר

Published by

rabbiadar

Rabbi Ruth Adar is a teaching rabbi based in San Leandro, CA. She has many hats: rabbi, mom, poodle groomer, and ham radio operator K6RAV. She blogs at https://coffeeshoprabbi.com/ as the Coffee Shop Rabbi.

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