HANUKAH PLAY, BET CLASS OF 5767

Cast

Teacher - Justin
Chanukiah ~ Ira
Menorah - Brandon
Dreidel 1 - Aaron
Dreidel 2 - Bryan

Torah - Charlie
Calendar - Jennifer
Hammer - Joseph
Latke/Jelly Donut - Jessica
Siddur - Natalie

Teacher - Justin: I'm the teacher of the Bet Class. I am giving a Chanukah test tomorrow and I haven't even written it yet. What should the test look like? I want it to be a fun test because, after all, it's about Chanukah. I'm sure I could think of a whole bunch of questions, but the students will think I am soooo boring. I know!! What if it's a test where the students have to identify pictures and tell me what it has to do with Chanukah and tell me some facts about them? Yes, I like that idea. Here are some pictures!!

(All of the children line up with the pictures around their necks)

Teacher - Justin: A Chanukiah. That should definitely be on the test.

Chanukiah - Ira: As you can see, I have eight branches of equal height and an additional ninth branch of a different height. I am a Chanukiah, the candelabra lit each night of Chanukah, near the window to show everyone the miracle of the Festival of Lights. Although only one of my branches needs to be lit each night, today Jews add an additional light each night, beginning with one the first night and ending with eight on the last night, to beautify the Mitzvah. My Shamash. or helper candle, is a different height so everyone knows that it serves a different purpose than the other candles. It is used to light the other candles.

Teacher - Justin: Here is a tricky one. Let's see if my students can explain what this has to do with Chanukah.

Menorah - Brandon: At first, you may confuse me with the Chanukiah, but that is not who I am. Actually, many people call a Chanukiah by my name. But, I am really the Menorah. As you can see, I have six branches of equal height with an additional seventh branch. I am the Menorah of the Chanukah story, I am the one that miraculously remained lit for eight days. Unfortunately, when the Greeks came to power, they took me away and the Jewish people had to build a new Menorah. As you all know, there was a problem with the oil, but once again G-d provided a miracle.

Teacher - Justin: I know what my students will write about this one, They all know what it is, and they probably own one, but they didn't know its connection to Chanukah until I taught it to them. Let's see who remembers...

Dreidel 1 - Aaron: Spin us around! Come on, play with us! Everyone knows that we are an important symbol of Chanukah. The letters on us remind everyone of the miracle. My letters are Nun, Gimel, Hay and Shin. The letters stand for "Nes Gadol Hayah Sharn" which means "a great miracle happened there" in Eretz Yisrael. People all over the world play with me, while those in Eretz Yisrael play with HIM, (point to Dreidel 2)

Dreidel 2 - Bryan: My letters are Nun, Gimel, Hay and Pay. These letters stand for "Nes Gadol Hayah Poh" which means "a great miracle happened HERE". The miracle of the Chanukah story took place in the Eretz Yisrael, so my letters are different.

Dreidel 1 - Aaron: Do you know why we are played with on Chanukah? You see, one of the things that the Jewish people were forbidden to do during the time of the Greeks was learning the Torah. Jews used to go and learn despite this rule. When they would see the Greeks coming, they would take me out and spin me around, pretending that they were playing with me all along.

Dreidel 2 - Brvan: So, next time you give me a spin, think of the people who used me as a way to learn Torah even though it was against the law.

Torah - Charlie: As the Dreidel said, Torah study was forbidden by King Antiochus. He had no problem with people learning stories of the Torah, like learning from history books. But, what was forbidden was the study of the Torah the way it should be done which is to teach us the way to live and for us to understand the lessons G-d placed for us in this holy book. Many Jews were not willing to obey this law and they were killed.

Calendar - Jennifer: Another thing King Antiochus made illegal was the blessing of the new moon, or Rosh Chodesh. While this may seem like a little thing, it was much more than that. This rule meant that the Jews would not be able to know when each holiday was. You see, a formal calendar, like me, did not exist back then. It was decided that the start of each month would be based on the sighting of the new moon and then people calculated the days until the Jewish holiday of that month, For example, if Antiochus said the Jews couldn't know when the new month of Nissan was, then there was no way for them to know when Passover was. Again, many Jews were not willing to obey this law, and they were killed.

Hammer - Joseph: I am a big piece of the Chanukah story. Do you need a hint? Think of a Hebrew name for me. You've got it! I am a Maccabi. The Jews who fought against the Greeks were named after me because their leader, Yehudah, was called Yehudah HaMaccabi or "Judah the Hammer". Yehudah fought the Greeks like a hammer, attacking a nail to bang it in place. Also, the name Maccabi is the initials for the letters "Mem, Chaf, Bet, and Yud, which is the abbreviation for "Mi Chamocha B'Elim Hashem" which means "Who is like you among the mighty ones, Hashem" which was their battle cry when they fought against the Greeks.

Teacher - Justin: That should get them thinking. Here's an easy one.

Latke/Donut - Jessica I represent two foods of Chanukah.
Latke - Jessica: I am a potato pancake or latke. Many people eat me on Chanukah because I am fried in oil. They eat me to remember the miracle of the oil. It became a custom to eat latkes made out of potatoes because potatoes were easy to find, easy to store and usually not expensive.
Donut - Jessica: I am also a Sufgania or jelly donut. I am also eaten on Chanukah because I am fried in oil. The custom to eat me originated in Israel, where I am considered a special Chanukah treat.

Teacher - Justin: Here's my last picture clue. This one should also get my students thinking.

Siddur - Natalie: I am a siddur, a prayer book. Jewish people pray from me every day. However, on Chanukah, special prayers are inserted to remember the miracles of Chanukah. Hallel, a song of praise to G-d, is included in our prayers. Also, we say Al Ha-Neesim to praise and thank G-d for the many miracles he did for us at the time of the Chanukah story.

Teacher - Justin: Well, that's it! This should be a good test. It will really tell me if my students understand the reasons behind the symbols of Chanukah.

ALL: We hope YOU learned something too!!

SONG - EIGHT DAYS OF CHANUKAH

CHORUS
Eight days of Chanukah, Eight happy nights
Eight days to celebrate, the festival of lights
Eight gifts at Chanukah, what memories they raise
Of those eight wonderful days
Let us count, count, the ways.

"ONE" is for the Temple walls that didn't fall.
"TWO" is for the men who fought, G-d bless them all.
"THREE" is for the oil they found enough for just one day.
"FOUR" is for the miracle that came their way, it burned for eight days.
"FIVE" is for the hope and faith that wouldn't die.
"SIX" is for the Torah scrolls that still survive.
"SEVEN" is for all the songs in honor of them.
Number "EIGHT", (PAUSE) a prayer and AMEN!

CHORUS
Eight days of Chanukah, Eight happy nights
Eight days to celebrate, the festival of lights
Eight gifts at Chanukah, what memories they raise
Of those eight wonderful days.

(Slowly) Of those eight wonderful days!!

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