The White House Twitter announced today (Dec. 6) that President Trump delivered celebratory remarks at the annual Hanukkah White House reception.
The Jewish celebration of Hanukkah commemorates the victory of the outnumbered Maccabees over a tyrant king as well as the rededication of the Second Temple of Jerusalem.
The nine-branched menorah holds candles that are lit each night of the eight-day festival. (The ninth candle is used for lighting the others.)
The annual White House Hanukkah reception is a tradition initiated by President George W. Bush in 2001.
But there is a belief that a Hanukkah tradition can be traced to George Washinton at Valley Forge in the winter of 1777-1778.
According to Rabbi Susan Grossman in a post called "The Truth about George Washington's Hanukkah,"
"The story is told that Washington was walking among his troops when he saw one soldier sitting apart from the others, huddled over what looked like two tiny flames. Washington approached the soldier and asked him what he was doing. The soldier explained that he was a Jew and he had lit the candles [to] celebrate Hanukkah, the festival commemorating the miraculous victory of his people so many centuries ago over the tyranny of a much better equipped and more powerful enemy who had sought to deny them their freedom. The soldier then expressed his confidence that just as, with the help of God, the Jews of ancient times were ultimately victorious, so too would they would be victorious in their just cause for freedom. Washington thanked the soldier and walked back to where the rest troops camped, warmed by the inspiration of those little flames and the knowledge that miracles are possible."
The Hanukkah festival begins on December 2 and ends on December 10 this year.
May the lights of Hanukkah remind our readers, as perhaps they reminded George Washington, that even on the darkest, coldest nights, miracles can happen.
Watch President Trump's remarks @WhiteHouse.
Read more about George Washington and Hanukkah at Rabbi Susan Grossman's post at beliefnet.com.