It’s no surprise that winter holidays around the world have light as their central theme. So too is the case with Hanukkah where we celebrate the miracle of the olive oil that fueled the Menorah at the rededication of the Temple of Jerusalem by the Maccabees in 164 B.C.E.
But as you might expect, the story of Hanukkah is a lot more complicated than one might imagine. Getting to that olive oil is a journey through the dissolution Alexander the Great’s empire and the first clash between Greece and Rome. The events in ancient Israel are just a small part of an extended regional war.