Olive-pressing workshop gives glimpse into history

Demonstrating the message of Hanukkah

December 21, 2005

Yanky Baron, 10, dressed as Judah the Maccabee, and his brother, Avramy Baron, 8, dressed as Matityahu the high priest, helped their father, Rabbi Hillel Baron, press olives to make olive oil Sunday at the Lubavitch Center for Jewish Education.

The rabbi demonstrated pressing olives to make olive oil at an open house and menorah factory. The oil is used to light a Hanukkah menorah for eight nights, celebrating the miracle of the victory of the Maccabees over the Greek Syrians in 165 B.C.E. The Holy Temple had been occupied and defiled by idol worship, but a small amount of pure oil, enough for one day, was found to light the temple menorah.

"The only pure oil they could find, enough for one day, lasted for eight days, until more oil could be made. That was the miracle of Hanukkah -- a spiritual victory," the rabbi said. The demonstration showed that most of what is pressed is juice, and only a small amount is oil.

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