Chag ha•U•rim is another name for the Feast of Dedication that is commonly used in Israel. ‘Urim’ is the plural of the word ‘oor.’ We’ll explain this word below.
We continue with our theme for the this season, encompassing different aspects of light, both physical and spiritual.
Chag ha•U•rim is said to emphasis the origin of the holiday: the jar of oil that was found in the Holy Temple after it was desecrated by the Greek. It commemorates the Miracle of the cruse of oil (Hebrew: nes pach ha•she•men) In its origin, the Miracle of Hanukkah or Chanuka is the traditional story depicted in the Babylonian Talmud, Tractate Shabbat, as one of the reasons for Hanukkah. The story of the Miracle is described in the Talmud to have occurred after the liberation of the Temple in Jerusalem during the Maccabean Revolt, and describes how the founding of a pure oil jug was meant to have been enough to light the lamp for one day, and in fact had lasted for eight days. This is the reason why the Festival of light is celebrated for eight days. This was just when the Temple was liberated and rededicated.
The word ‘oor’ is similar to the word ‘or,’ light. The difference is that ‘or’ is just light whereas ‘oor’ means light and heat which is radiated by some kind of fire. Burning oil is therefore ‘oor’ because it involves heat as well of light. The candles we light during Hanukkah are the ‘oo•rim’ the fill the homes with light and warmth.
If you like a touch of astronomy in the Bible, consider this verse:
‘To him who made great lights; for his loving kindness endures for ever;’
It’s interesting that this is the only time that ‘light’ appear in the Bible in plural in its noun form. In Genesis 1:15 we read about the lights but they form a word that means to ‘light giving solar system object,’ not merely ‘lighst’ as a nouns: ‘And let them be for lights in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth; and it was so.’ The word that is used here is ‘me•o•rot.’ In Psalm 136 above the word is ’orim’ which is an unusual plural form of ‘or,’ light.