Ask Victoria: Where is the Cruse of Oil Mentioned?


I watched your 8-lights of Chanukkah series videos and was fascinated by the things I learned. Can you tell me where is the cruse of oil is mentioned in the Bible?


The story of the divine victory that God supernaturally asserted over the Greeks is recorded in the Apocryphal book of 1 Maccabees 4:36-59. The Greek ruler Antiocus Ephiphanes defiled the Temple on the 25th of Kislev in 161 BC. Just three years later the Temple was reclaimed and rededicated on the very same day. The word for dedication in Hebrew is chanuke (Chanukah). Therefore, the commemoration of dedicating the Temple along with remembering the overwhelming victory is celebrated each year.

The story of the cruse of oil is mentioned in Shabbat 1a in the Gamara portion of the Talmud. The story tells that there was only one cruse of undefiled oil found when the Temple was reclaimed. This amount of oil would only allow the Temple menorah to burn for one day. According to Torah, it would take eight days to produce ritually sanctified oil. To the amazement of the priests, the menorah continued to burn supernaturally for the eight days needed.

The Gamara is a collection of teachings of the ancient rabbis redacted and combined with the oral laws (Mishnah) passed down over the centuries since Moses. This combined book is called the Talmud. Some question the validity of the ancient sermons of the religious teachers as well as the oral instructions. We must remember, however, that at the time of Moses much was taught and memorized. There was little ability to document in this ancient time. Most everyone memorized the teachings and passed them down to their children, as the Lord commanded them to do. We must look at these books, at the very least, in the same way we see history books that give accurate accounts of historical record and even more regard to God receiving credit and glory for the miracles these stories contain.

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