Chanukah, The Eight Day Festival Of Light, Why Celebrate It?


The Eight Day Festival of Light


Rabbi Cliff Maynard

Senior Rabbi – Rock of Israel Congregation

Vice President – National Jewish Fellowship


“And it was at Jerusalem the feast of the dedication, and it was winter. And Jesus walked in the temple in Solomon’s porch.”

– John 10:22-23



Did you know Yeshua (Jesus) celebrated Chanukah? During His earthly ministry, Chanukah was known as the Feast of Dedication. In fact, it is still known as the Feast of Dedication today. Nevertheless, most followers of Yeshua (Jesus) think of Chanukah as only a Jewish holiday – not something they necessarily should celebrate. Many believers think Chanukah is an added festival – and not mentioned in the Bible. Next time you hear that, just point to the Scripture at the top of this article.  Chanukah is a beautiful Festival commemorating G-d’s love for, and the deliverance of His people.


This year, Chanukah, the eight-day festival of light is November 27th through December 5th and celebrates victory of light over darkness. The word Chanukah means “dedication”.


More than 21 centuries ago, the Israel was ruled by the Seleucids (Syrian-Greeks), who sought to force the people of Israel to worship pagan gods. Against all odds, a small band of faithful Jews defeated one of the mightiest armies on earth, drove them from the land, reclaimed the Holy Temple in Jerusalem, and rededicated it to G-d.


When they sought to light the Temple’s menorah, they found only a single cruse of olive oil that had escaped contamination by the Greeks; miraculously, the one-day supply burned for eight days, until new oil could be prepared under conditions of ritual purity.


To commemorate and publicize these miracles, the sages instituted the festival of Chanukah. At the heart of the festival is the nightly menorah lighting: a single flame on the first night, two on the second evening and so on until the eighth night of Chanukah, when all eight lights are kindled.


On the first night of Chanukah (Wednesday, November 27), recite all three blessings. On all subsequent nights, recite blessings number 1 and 2.


1. Blessed are You, L rd our G d, King of the universe, who has sanctified us with His commandments, and commanded us to kindle the Chanukah light.

1. Ba-ruch A-tah Ado-nai Eh-lo-hei-noo Meh-lech Ha-olam A-sher Ki-deh-sha-noo Beh-mitz-vo-tav Veh-tzi-va-noo Leh-had-lik Ner Cha-noo-kah.


2. Blessed are You, L rd our G d, King of the universe, who performed miracles for our forefathers in those days, at this time.

2. Ba-ruch A-tah Ado-nai Eh-lo-hei-nu Meh-lech Ha-olam Sheh-a-sa Nee-sim La-avo-tei-noo Ba-ya-mim Ha-hem Bee-z’man Ha-zeh.

3. Blessed are You, L rd our G d, King of the universe, who has granted us life, sustained us, and enabled us to reach this occasion.

3. Ba-ruch A-tah Ado-nai Eh-lo-hei-noo Me-lech Ha-olam Sheh-heh-cheh-ya-noo Veh-kee-yeh-ma-noo Veh-hee-gee-a-noo Liz-man Ha-zeh B’shem Yeshua HaMashiach.



On Chanukah, Hallel and the Al HaNissim prayer are recited to offer praise and thanksgiving to G-d for ” delivering the strong into the hands of the weak, the many into the hands of the few… the wicked into the hands of the righteous. “


Chanukah customs include eating foods fried in oil — latkes (potato pancakes) and sufganiot (doughnuts); playing with the dreidel (a spinning top on which are inscribed the Hebrew letters nun, gimmel, hei and shin, an acronym for Nes Gadol Hayah Sham, ” a great miracle happened there “); and the giving of Chanukah gelt, gifts of money, to children.


Chanukah is a beautiful celebration of Adonai once again delivering the Jewish people from the destructive hand of the enemy. It is a picture of the faith of the people of G-d in the midst of terrible persecution.


To me, Chanukah is also a picture of The Menorah…Yeshua the light of the world, who endured horrific persecution and death, only to be raised again to Life by the power of the Holy Spirit, who is often represented by pure Oil in the Word. Yeshua is the One who stands in the midst of the seven candlesticks of Revelation and the One who contains the fullness of the Seven Spirits of G-d (the seven characteristics of the Holy Spirit) found is Isaiah 11:1-2. Is it any wonder Yeshua celebrated this Festival, when it painted such a beautiful picture of Him!


May all Israel come to see the Light of the World that burns brightly still today, Yeshua HaMashiach (Jesus the Messiah), as we celebrate Chanukah this season.


Camping With Angels?

Parshat Vayishlach

 (And He Sent)


Rabbi Cliff Maynard

Senior Rabbi,

Rock Of Israel Congregation,

Vice President,

National Jewish Fellowship of the AG


The name of this Parshat Vayishlach (and He sent), gives us insight to a dual message. The name implies that Jacob sent (and we will see he did), but I like to think it also implies Adonai sent. This is a very important point that needs mentioning. Finally, Jacob is free to go and live as he has dreamed of for the past twenty years. He has worked to gain his family and freedom and, to return to the land of his fathers; the Holy Land promised to Abraham and all Jewish people. As he finally packs up and heads out (I believe he has traveled and is getting ready to make camp), he has the first encounter on the road to“home” that must have set him back just a bit. We read in Genesis 32:1 So Jacob went on his way, and the angels of God met him. 2 When Jacob saw them, he said, “This is G-d’s camp.” And he called the name of that place Mahanaim. In the Hebrew makh·an·eh’ חָנָה (strongs #H2583) and it is used as (host/camp)

1. encampment, camp

A ) camp, place of encampment

B ) camp of armed host, army camp

C )  those who encamp, company, body of people).

LIttle Petra_321(BLR&C)

I believe Jacob camped there and received divine advice from G-d on what he was about to encounter. I love this verse as it gives us hope, knowing that even though trials may be waiting down the road ahead, an army may be coming towards us to destroy us, yet G-d will send his army of angels ahead of us to warn and assist us. The next verse proves this because we see Jacob is sending messengers’ out to meet with Esau. There is no mention of anyone else warning Jacob that Esau was on the way to meet with him. Let’s read on…3 Then Jacob sent messengers before him to Esau his brother in the land of Seir, the country of Edom. 4 And he commanded them, saying, “Speak thus to my lord Esau, ‘Thus your servant Jacob says: “I have dwelt with Laban and stayed there until now. 5 I have oxen, donkeys, flocks, and male and female servants; and I have sent to tell my lord, that I may find favor in your sight.”6 Then the messengers returned toJacob, saying, “We came to your brother Esau, and he also is coming to meet you, and four hundred men are with him.” 7 So Jacob was greatly afraid and distressed; and he divided the people that were with him, and the flocks and herds and camels, into two companies. 8 And he said, “If Esau comes to the one company and attacks it, then the other company which is left will escape.”

From the next few verses, we learn that G-d himself will speak to us, if we “camp” with Him, sit at his feet, pour out our heart to him and listen to His counsel. I like the fact that it mentions Jacob did not run back to the safety of his father–in-law, nor did he try to go around the problem, neither did he try and handle it on his own, but Jacob continued to “camp” right there with the Host of G-d. I believe G-d himself was in the camp, evidenced by the fact that we see that Jacob “said” not prayed, or cried out but “said.” Let this be a lesson to us, we should all learn to stay in the presence of G-d in the midst of trouble and allow Him to work it out for us, moving only when we are released to move.

9 Then Jacob said, “O G-d of my father Abraham and G-d of my father Isaac, the L-RD who said to me, ‘Return to your country and to your family, and I will deal well with you’: 10 I am not worthy of the least of all the mercies and of all the truth which You have shown Your servant; for I crossed over this Jordan with my staff, and now I have become two companies. 11 Deliver me, I  pray, from the hand of my brother, from the hand of Esau; for I fear him, lest he come and attack me and the mother with the children. 12 For You said, ‘I will surely treat you well, and make your descendants as the sand of the sea, which cannot be numbered for multitude.’13 So he lodged there that same night, and took what came to his hand as a present for Esau his brother: 14 two hundred female goats and twenty male goats, two hundred ewes and twenty rams, 15 thirty milk camels with their colts, forty cows and ten bulls, twenty female donkeys and ten foals. 16 Then he delivered them to the hand of his servants, every drove by itself, and said to his servants, “Pass over before me, and put some distance between successive droves.” 17 And he commanded the first one, saying, “When Esau my brother meets you and asks you, saying, ‘To whom do you belong, and where are you going? Whose are these in front of you?’ 18 then you shall say, ‘They are your servant Jacob’s. It is a present sent to my lord Esau; and behold, he also is behind us.’19 So he commanded the second, the third, and all who followed the droves, saying, “In this manner you shall speak to Esau when you find him; 20 and also say, ‘Behold, your servant Jacob is behind us.’” For he said, “I will appease him with the present that goes before me, and afterward I will see his face; perhaps he will accept me.” 21 So the present went on over before him, but he himself lodged that night in the camp.

May we all “lodge in the camp” of The L-RD!

As we end this parshat we learn that Jacob’s trouble is not just as a result of some bad blood between him and Esau. Yes, G-d could fix that, and we see that he does, yet that would not have fixed the “problem” for the problem was not found in an angry brother, but within Jacob himself. I have often discovered that when I have encountered G-d in times of trouble, it has brought to the surface things within myself that He wanted to correct. Many times, those things were a stumbling block to my becoming who He wanted me to be in Him, and even what He needed to accomplish through me.


The rest of the parshat deals with Jacob wrestling with G-d. The wrestling match definitely has a dual purpose, of which the outcome of his immediate life and future life would depend. Jacob goes into the wrestling match the “old Jacob”, then comes out of the contest with G-d blessing him to the life changing, New Name of Israel. It ends with the restoration of relationship with his brother and the establishment of “Israel.” What do we learn from this? No matter how bleak a situation may seem, G-d can change it!

Let me end with a few words of encouragement….ISAIAH 26:4 Trust in the L-RD forever, for the L-RD, the L-RD is the Rock eternal.

Psalm 9:9-12 The LORD also will be a refuge for the oppressed, A refuge in times of trouble. And those who know Your name will put their trust in You; For You, LORD, have not forsaken those who seek You. Sing praises to the LORD, who dwells in Zion! Declare His deeds among the people. When He avenges blood, He remembers them; He does not forget the cry of the humble.

Friends, May you find the angels of Adonai encamped around you….May you take lodging in the camp of The G-d of Hosts…. May you find peace in His presence and may the desire of your heart be for more of Him.

 IN Yeshua,

Rabbi Cliff Maynard

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Parshat Vayeitzei (And He Went Out)

Parshat Vayeitzei

(“And he went out”)

Genesis (Bereshit) 28:10-32:3

Brit Chadashah John 1:43-51


Rabbi Cliff Maynard

Senior Rabbi,

Rock Of Israel Congregation

Vice President,

National Jewish Fellowship of the AG


My teaching of this week’s Parshat Vayeitzei will not focus on the usual obvious course followed by most Rabbis’; no, I choose to look at this through Messianic eyes! Eyes that can see the wonderful tapestry of Scripture woven through the Old Covenant that point to Yeshua as Messiah, and the dilemma, we as believers face today.

What a wonderful parshat! Vayeitzei starts us off with a BANG! Yaakov (Jacob) is about to make the biggest transition of his life! He is leaving the Holy land and the Tents of learning that have occupied his life for 14 years day and night (Psalms1:2), and is about to make his entrance into the worldly land of his mothers family…Genesis 28:10 “ ” And Jacob went out from Be’er-Sheva and he went toward Charan. “

Talk about black and white! Be’er-Sheva and Charan were total opposites; as much as the 14 years of learning Jacob had just finished would be from the 20 years he was about to spend serving the evil Laban! Still Adonai was in it, and would give Jacob a dream to give him something to hang on to in the days to come. What am I referring to? The story of Jacobs’s ladder of course! This story has been told for generations without real understanding.

Jacob heads out for Charan, and walks until he comes upon “The Place” as the torah refers to it.  It is important that we pay close attention to Scripture here; as there are special things happening that are hidden in plain sight! We will also ask a few questions, and find the answers! Suddenly, the sun goes down, Jacob gathers rocks and makes with them a pillow for his head.

Genesis 28:10,11 And Jacob went out from Beer-sheba, and went toward Haran. 11 And he lighted upon the place, and tarried there all night, because the sun was set; and he took one of the stones of the place, and put it under his head, and lay down in that place to sleep.

So, what is “The Place” as this is certainly giving us a clue to something special that Adonai wants us to dig for!  If we search the word we will find the answer in

Genesis 22:4 On the third day Abraham lifted up his eyes, and saw the place afar off.  

“The Place” was Mount Moriah!  The great Rabbi Rashi agrees with this as do most of the sages.  Rashi mentions it as if everyone commonly knows it. I agree with with Rashi. I believe the verses following give credence to it as well.

Genesis 28:12,13 And he dreamed, and behold a ladder set up on the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven; and behold the angels of God ascending and descending on it. 13 And, behold, the L-RD stood beside him, and said: ‘I am the L-RD, the G-d of Abraham thy father, and the G-d of Isaac.

My friends, this is no ordinary place! This was definitely a place where the presence of G-d (bless His Holy Name) dwelt, and I believe Jacob knew it! I will add poetic license here and put on paper what is in my minds eye. I can just see and hear Isaac telling Jacob, “before you venture out into the world my son, go to Mount Moriah and seek the face of Adonai, maybe He will meet you there as He did me and your grandfather. It is the place where the world first came into existence, where your grandfather took me as an offering, where we were tested and found faithful. It was the place where Adonai provided the Ram and showed us the shadow of things to come. Stop there my son, and see HaShem’s face. Maybe He will speak to you and give you guidance for your life.” We know that Jacob did, and we know that Adonai did as well. We read the account of that in the following verses:

Genesis 28:12-15 And he dreamed, and behold a ladder set up on the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven; and behold the angels of God ascending and descending on it. 13 And, behold, the LORD stood beside him, and said: ‘I am the L-RD, the G-d of Abraham thy father, and the G-d of Isaac. The land whereon thou liest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed. 14 And thy seed shall be as the dust of the earth, and thou shalt spread abroad to the west, and to the east, and to the north, and to the south. And in thee and in thy seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed.

Baruch HaShem! In those verses there is hidden the Truth of the Ages!  That Truth has been hidden from the eyes of men blinded by tradition and human learning.  That Truth has been hidden for over 3000 years of peer pressure, yet has been right under the noses of the great sages, and great men even still today!  What is this Truth you ask?  Let us venture on and find this great treasure hidden from the eyes of so many chosen, yet found by so many who were not. We will find it just under the surface, shining, gleaming, it is worth all the riches of the world, and it contains the wisdom of the ages and the hope of the universe!  Enough already! Lets get to it!


1.     Vs.15 And he dreamed, and behold a ladder set up on the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven; and behold the angels of G-d ascending and descending on it.

(A)This verse is a prophetic vision of things to come!  It is a prophetic piece to the puzzle that would not be solvable until the time of Yeshua, but there are clues within it that will give us a shadow of the answer to come.  The ladder accomplished three things we must pay close attention to. The ladder was sent from Heaven and set up on Earth.  The ladder reached Heaven.  The Angels of G-d were traveling up and down on it; from Earth to Heaven and from Heaven to Earth.   What does it mean?  Why would HaShem show Jacob such a vision?

(B)The answer is in the ladder!  The ladder is a picture of Moshiach.  Moses  and future prophets will tell us about Moshiach, and that He would be sent from Heaven to earth and back to Heaven and back to earth in their prophecies.

BEFORE you begin reading further down, I will give you the answer to this prophetic puzzle’s location, it is found in the Brit Chadashah (New Covenant), in Yochanan (John) 1:43-51….43 The next day, having decided to leave for the Galil, Yeshua found Philip and said, “Follow me!” 44 Philip was from Beit-Tzaidah, the town where Andrew and Kefa lived. 45 Philip found Natan’el and told him, “We’ve found the one that Moshe wrote about in the Torah, also the Prophets — it’s Yeshua Ben-Yosef from Natzeret!” 46 Natan’el answered him, “Natzeret? Can anything good come from there?” “Come and see,” Philip said to him. 47 Yeshua saw Natan’el coming toward him and remarked about him, “Here’s a true son of Isra’el — nothing false in him!” 48 Natan’el said to him, “How do you know me?” Yeshua answered him, “Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you.” 49 Natan’el said, “Rabbi, you are the Son of G-d! You are the King of Isra’el!” 50 Yeshua answered him, “you believe all this just because I told you I saw you under the fig tree? You will see greater things than that!” 51 Then he said to him, “Yes indeed! I tell you that you will see heaven opened and the angels of God going up and coming down on the Son of Man!” CJB

Do you see it? There it is! The answer to Jacob’s ladder right before your eyes! Yeshua (Jesus) is the ladder! He was sent to Earth to atone for our sins as the perfect Lamb of G-d, G-d raised Him from the dead through the power of the Ruach HaKodesh, Yeshua went up to Heaven to serve as our King, Priest and Prophet. Moshiach is soon to Return! Oh mishpachah, can you see it? Yeshua is the Son of G-d, our Messiah! We pray through the Name of Yeshua and our prayers go up to HaShem in Heaven, and the answer is sent down to earth through Yeshua’s Name!

This is just ONE prophecy. I would understand why you would want to continue to believe tradition and the sages if there was only one, but there many, many more! Although some Bible Scholars attribute over 300 Old Covenant prophecies, I have only included 44 messianic predictions for your eyes to see for themselves.


 Come and See



NOTE:I have provided each Scripture verse as a link you can click on that will take you to the Scripture from the Complete Jewish Bible for your convenience.

44 Prophecies Yeshua Ha-Mashiach Fulfilled


Prophecies About Jesus

Old Testament

New Testament


Messiah would be born of a woman.

Genesis 3:15

Matthew 1:20
Galatians 4:4


Messiah would be born in Bethlehem.

Micah 5:2

Matthew 2:1
Luke 2:4-6


Messiah would be born of a virgin.

Isaiah 7:14

Matthew 1:22-23
Luke 1:26-31


Messiah would come from the line of Abraham

Genesis 12:3
Genesis 22:18

Matthew 1:1
Romans 9:5


Messiah would be a descendant of Issac

Genesis 17:19
Genesis 21:12

Luke 3:34


Messiah would be a descendant of Jacob.

Numbers 24:17

Matthew 1:2


Messiah would come from the tribe of Judah.

Genesis 49:10

Luke 3:33
Hebrews 7:14


Messiah would be heir to King David’s throne.

2 Samuel 7:12-13
Isaiah 9:7

Luke 1:32-33
Romans 1:3


Messiah’s throne will be anointed and eternal.

Psalm 45:6-7
Daniel 2:44

Luke 1:33
Hebrews 1:8-12


Messiah would be called Immanuel.

Isaiah 7:14

Matthew 1:23


Messiah would spend a season in Egypt.

Hosea 11:1

Matthew 2:14-15


A massacre of children would happen at Messiah’s birthplace.

Jeremiah 31:15

Matthew 2:16-18


A messenger would prepare the way for Messiah

Isaiah 40:3-5

Luke 3:3-6


Messiah would be rejected by his own people.

Psalm 69:8
Isaiah 53:3

John 1:11
John 7:5


Messiah would be a prophet.

Deuteronomy 18:15

Acts 3:20-22


Messiah would be preceded by Elijah.

Malachi 4:5-6

Matthew 11:13-14


Messiah would be declared the Son of G-d.

Psalm 2:7

Matthew 3:16-17


Messiah would be called a Nazarene.

Isaiah 11:1

Matthew 2:23


Messiah would bring light to Galilee.

Isaiah 9:1-2

Matthew 4:13-16


Messiah would speak in parables.

Psalm 78:2-4
Isaiah 6:9-10

Matthew 13:10-15, 34-35


Messiah would be sent to heal the brokenhearted.

Isaiah 61:1-2

Luke 4:18-19


Messiah would be a priest after the order of Melchizedek.

Psalm 110:4

Hebrews 5:5-6


Messiah would be called King.

Psalm 2:6
Zechariah 9:9

Matthew 27:37
Mark 11:7-11


Messiah would be praised by little children.

Psalm 8:2

Matthew 21:16


Messiah would be betrayed.

Psalm 41:9
Zechariah 11:12-13

Luke 22:47-48
Matthew 26:14-16


Messiah’s price money would be used to buy a potter’s field.

Zechariah 11:12-13

Matthew 27:9-10


Messiah would be falsely accused.

Psalm 35:11

Mark 14:57-58


Messiah would be silent before his accusers.

Isaiah 53:7

Mark 15:4-5


Messiah would be spat upon and struck.

Isaiah 50:6

Matthew 26:67


Messiah would be hated without cause.

Psalm 35:19
Psalm 69:4

John 15:24-25


Messiah would be crucified with criminals.

Isaiah 53:12

Matthew 27:38
Mark 15:27-28


Messiah would be given vinegar to drink.

Psalm 69:21

Matthew 27:34
John 19:28-30


Messiah’s hands and feet would be pierced.

Psalm 22:16
Zechariah 12:10

John 20:25-27


Messiah would be mocked and ridiculed.

Psalm 22:7-8

Luke 23:35


Soldiers would gamble for Messiah’s garments.

Psalm 22:18

Luke 23:34
Matthew 27:35-36


Messiah’s bones would not be broken.

Exodus 12:46
Psalm 34:20

John 19:33-36


Messiah would be forsaken by G-d.

Psalm 22:1

Matthew 27:46


Messiah would pray for his enemies.

Psalm 109:4

Luke 23:34


Soldiers would pierce Messiah’s side.

Zechariah 12:10

John 19:34


Messiah would be buried with the rich.

Isaiah 53:9

Matthew 27:57-60


Messiah would resurrect from the dead.

Psalm 16:10
Psalm 49:15

Matthew 28:2-7
Acts 2:22-32


Messiah would ascend to heaven.

Psalm 24:7-10

Mark 16:19
Luke 24:51


Messiah would be seated at G-d’s right hand.

Psalm 68:18
Psalm 110:1

Mark 16:19
Matthew 22:44


Messiah would be a sacrifice for sin.

Isaiah 53:5-12

Romans 5:6-8


If you have read for yourself, and have decided Yeshua is The Messiah, pray this prayer:

“Yeshua, I believe you are the Messiah!  I believe you are the Son of G-d, that you died for my sins, was buried and raised from the dead so that I might have eternal life. Father G-D, wash away all my sins with the blood of Yeshua, and apply the atonement You provided on the execution stake to my life.  Thank you for saving me, Amen.”

If you prayed that prayer, please contact me and let me know. You can contact me easily at

I will be glad to hear from you, and will be sure to include you in my daily prayers.

There is a whole lot more to say, but enough for now.  Join us this Shabbat at the Rock of Israel Congregation near Charlotte, NC to learn more.  Shabbat Service begins every Saturday at 10am; I hope to see you there.  Just click the link below for directions.,+S.C.+29710+&hl=en&sll=35.435696,-80.614093&sspn=0.016137,0.016994&hnear=1163+S+Carolina+274,+Clover,+South+Carolina+29710&t=m&z=17

We will be starting a Mid Week Midrash group in Hickory, NC on November 14th, 2013 Watch for details and directions coming soon!

May Adonai give you the desires of your heart, and may all your desires be found in Him!

IN Yeshua, Rabbi Cliff

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