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Message on the Observance of Hanukkah, 1996

December 05, 1996

Warm greetings to everyone celebrating Hanukkah.

In this season of joy, we remember the story of Judah Maccabee and his steadfast followers who freed Jerusalem from its oppressors and rededicated the Temple to God. Although they had only a small supply of consecrated oil with which to rekindle the temple's Holy Light, the courage and faith of the Maccabees were rewarded as the oil burned miraculously for eight days and eight nights until a new supply could be prepared.

Today, more than two thousand years later, families around the world celebrate this Festival of Lights by coming together in prayer, giving thanks to God for His many blessings, exchanging gifts, and lighting the eight candles of the menorah, one candle for each night that the sacred oil burned.

Steeped in ritual and rich in meaning, Hanukkah imparts profound lessons to us: that faith in God can sustain us through any adversity; that peace ultimately comes to those who persevere; and that, just as the shammas passes its light to each candle in the menorah, so too must we share our hope and faith and joy with one another. In this way, we can ensure that the light kindled on that first Hanukkah so many centuries ago will continue to burn brightly for the generations to come.

Hillary and I extend best wishes to all for a wonderful holiday celebration.


William J. Clinton, Message on the Observance of Hanukkah, 1996 Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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