A daily study of the Network’s diverse faiths
Hanukkah (Chanukah, Festival of Lights). First day of eight-day Jewish festival, from the evening of 28 November to 6 December, commemorating the rededication of the Temple after the Maccabean rebel Jewish capture of Jerusalem in 164 BCE from the occupying Seleucid Greek armies and the subsequent cleansing of the Altar on 25 Kislev, the third month of the civil year and the ninth month of the ecclesiastical year on the Hebrew calendar, in Babylonian Araḫ Kislimu. Marked by the lighting of candles in a menorah (chanukiah, special candle holder), one on the first night, two on the second et cetera. Although not a major Jewish holiday, its popularity has increased in recent years, especially amongst American Jews. Traditions include a game involving the spinning of dreidels (tops), eating potato latkes (pancakes) and gift-giving. Image: vecteezy.com.
Noah. Lutheran Commemoration of the Old Testament Prophet who, in the traditions of Abrahamic religions, features as the tenth and last of the pre-Flood (antediluvian) patriarchs, with his story appearing in the Hebrew Bible and the Qur’an. According to the Genesis account, Noah saved not only his own family but mankind itself and all land animals from extinction during the Flood, for which there are many myths in human cultures. God made a covenant with Noah, promising never to destroy all the earth’s creatures by flooding, despite humanity’s misdeeds. After the Flood, Noah became a husbandman and planted a vineyard, dying three hundred and fifty years later at the age of nine hundred and fifty, having at five hundred become the father of Shem, Ham and Japheth. As Nuh ibn Lumik ibn Mutushalkh (نُوحٌ, Nuḥ) in Islam, he is a prophet and apostle of God, one of the Ulu’l azm prophets, whose mission was to warn his people who were plunged into depravity and sin. God charged Noah with the duty of preaching to his people, advising them to abandon idolatry, worship only God and live good and pure lives. Although he preached the Message of God with zeal, his people refused to mend their ways, leading to building the Ark and the Deluge, which may have been a global or a local one. Venerated in Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Mandaeism, Baháʼí Faith. Image: myislam.org.
Naomh Brénainn de Birra (Brendan of Birr) (c490-573). Commemoration of the death of the noble Irish disciple of St Finnian of Clonard and Abbot of Birr who supported the poor and needy for God’s sake. Brendan attended the 563 synod in Meath that excommunicated his close friend Columba (Columcille). Brendan advised Columba to choose for his exile Iona (Ì Chaluim Chille, Iona of St Columba), where Columba then built his celebrated monastery. Brendan died on the eve of 29 November 573, Columba having been aware of his death at the time of its occurrence as he saw his soul entering heaven accompanied by angels. ‘Get ready the sacred service of the eucharist immediately,’ he said to his attendant, ‘for this is the natal day of Brendan.’ ‘Why,’ asked the attendant, ‘do you order the sacred rites today, for no messenger has come from Ireland with tidings of that holy man’s death?’ ‘Go,’ said Columba, ‘and obey my orders, for last night I saw heaven open and choirs of angels descending to meet the soul of St Brendan, and the whole world was illuminated by their brilliant and surpassing radiance.’ Image: prezi.com.
Prayer Today we celebrate the royal feast of the noble Brendan of Birr, against whom burst the sea-level upon that fair diadem, much enduring, white head of Ireland’s prophets. The surge of the sea rose against him when he went thereon but he was caught by the hand, o that Braenfhind the Fair and we pray that we too may be saved to continue supporting the poor and needy for God’s sake. Amen