Olive Tree


In the early period of the Return to Zion, the prophet Haggai delivers a prophecy of hope on the day of the foundation of the Second Mikdash: It is not too late for economic fortunes to improve:  God will send blessings and olive trees will bear fruit, now that the foundation has been laid for the Mikdash (Haggai 2, 10-23).  This date happens to be the 24th of the ninth month (Kislev). The 25th was later established as the first day of Hanukka. 

Watch a video mini-shiur about Haggai and Hanukka by Rabbanit Shani Taragin.


Zekharya, a contemporary of Haggai, also delivers prophecies of encouragement that relate to the time of the inauguration altar of the Second Beit HaMikdash.  He too, recounts the troubles which befell the returnees before they began to build the Mikdash. Zekharya, like Haggai, gives the people a message of strength (Zechariah 8, 9-17). 

Listen to a shiur by Rabbi Ezra Bick about the connection between Hanukka and the Return to Zion, and

learn more about the Return to Zion from a series by Rabbi Tzvi Sinensky.


Zekharya also recounts a vision of a fantastic seven-branched menorah flanked by two olive trees with connecting tubes flowing oil with oil. The prophetic words that follow explain the vision as one of excitement and hope about the future success of then-governor Zerubavel’s attempts to establish the Second Beit HaMikdash (Zechariah 4). 

Read articles by Rabbi Yoel Bin Nun and Rabbi Rabbi Menachem Leibtag about the Biblical connection to Hanukka,

and learn more about the Haftarah of Hanukka in a short piece by Rabbi David Silverberg.


The Divine message of “not by might and not by force, but by my spirit” (Zechariah 4, 6) evokes the subtle nature of a “hidden miracle” and underscores the message that God is present in the midst of the people of Israel.

The Hanukka candles, reminiscent of the Menora of the Mikdash, are lit on the anniversary of the foundation of the Beit HaMikdash after the Exile. This additional dimension of Hanukka can provide an even greater atmosphere of hope, light, strength, and renewal during the Festival of Lights.


More articles relating to Hannukah:

 The Dedication of the Mikdash - by Rabbi Alex Israel

 Yosef and Chanuka -  by Rabbi Mordechai Friedman

 The Haftora for Shabbat Chanuka - by Rabbi Yehuda Shaviv

Chanuka and the Prophecies of the Second Temple Period - by Rabbi Menachem Leibtag

The Miracle of the Oil and the History of Chanuka - by Rabbi Yaakov Medan

Two Reasons for Reading Zekharya’s Vision as the Haftara of Shabbat Chanuka - by Rabbi Mosheh Lichtenstein

Historical Uniqueness and Daily Service - by Rabbi Mosheh Lichtenstein

 The Function of the Temple Menora - by Rabbi Moshe Taragin

Chanukah's Biblical Roots- Part II - by Rabbi Menachem Leibtag