Since Hanukkah is not mentioned in the TANACH (the Old Testament) it is not considered a Biblical holiday but rather, a traditional Feast. Let us check the what is the nature of tradition and how the concept behind the Hebrew tradition differs from tradition in other languages. In the next few days, we’ll also introduce some of famous traditions of Hanukkah.
Ma•so•ret (tradition) comes from the root M.S.R, (Mem, Samech, Reysh). Masar is the verb which means: to give, to transfer, to deliver. It is noteworthy to say that this verb indicates a one way direction – from the older generation to the new. The English word ‘tradition’ suggests a two way direction by the Latin source of the word: traditio – the action of handing over. The word ‘trade’ in ‘tradition’ indicates the back and forth direction.
Ma•so•ret, Tradition is a culture – customs, rituals, opinions and beliefs, values and rules of behavior – handed down from generation to generation in a group or in a particular company. Most tradition is actually the basis for the definition of the group, both outward and inward.
Another word that directly relates to this root is me•si•root (devotion), and ma•sur (devoted, dedicated). This is what signifies tradition. Traditional is conservative by nature as it suggest keeping the old (customs, teachings, foods, etc.,) without time-related alterations. People that keep tradition are devoted to assets of the past and are keen to keep the above intact, namely, not trading them for anything new.
The Oral Torah which includes the Tal•mud, is the main source of Jewish tradition but it is also considered as an equal source of authority to the Bible itself. Although many do not favor the comparison, it still resembles the level of importance of the Catholic Sacraments and traditions for Catholicism. For Protestant Christians for comparison, the only source of faith authority is the Bible itself. There is a similar Jewish denomination that declines the Rabbinic authority of the Talmud and the Oral Torah and sees only the Bible as a source of religious authority. This group is named Karaite Judaism.
There are several types of traditions: National tradition, Religious tradition, and Regional tradition.
The word Ma•so•rti is the name for Jews who are not fully orthodox but follow part of the commandments and the Halacha (interpretation of Jewish law to daily life). This practice usually includes keeping the Sabbath, the Kosher dietary laws, lighting the candles on Shabbat Eve (on Friday night) and celebrating all Jewish holidays and feasts.