Rabbi Yossi’s
8 Lights of Chanukah

Jews have always marked significant events in our annual calendar. Instead of simply remembering the dates, we find ways to make the ancient occurrences relevant, meaningful, and joyous in our modern lives.


“Joil” is a contraction of the words ‘joy’ and ‘oil’. It really is self explanatory – who doesn’t want to eat foods cooked, baked, or fried in oil?


At Chanukah, we also remember the ancient lights in the Temple that burned pure olive oil, and the miracle of a single day’s oil lasting for eight full days.


Chanukah is fundamentally a time in which we celebrate miracles. The miracle many celebrate is the tiny quantity of oil that was found after the Temple was destroyed, which allowed the menorah to be lit for eight days. This story teaches us that even when all hope seems lost, believe in the impossible.


It takes great courage to stand up for your beliefs. We are always aware of those ordinary people who turn into heroes when they refused to allow their values to be trampled by outsiders. This is a story of Chanukah, but the definition of courage remains today! Who are the heroes in your life?


There are many special songs and poems written for Chanukah – some of them seem somewhat militaristic, but let us use victory to offer hope that the oppressed of the world who live in fear can someday be free, and live comfortably in the land and place of their choosing.


While we have homes full of light and warmth, family and food, there are many who have very little of these basic human necessities. As we light the menorah, we consider how we can light up the darkness for those who have much less than we do.


Chanukah is a Hebrew word which means ‘renewal’ or ‘inauguration’. Just as the Temple of old was renewed, we use this opportunity to renew connection with family, friends, and the warmth of togetherness.


The centre of Jewish life is the home. While lighting menorahs publicly is meaningful, it does not replace the value of family events in small units, coming together and lighting up individual homes with the glow of togetherness.


(10 count) package of pre-made refrigerated biscuits
24 oz canola oil (for frying)
¼ cup raspberry jelly or jam (or feel free to use your favorite flavour)
¼ cup sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon

  1. Separate biscuits and flatten them so diameter is about 4 inches.
  2. Place about a teaspoon of jelly or jam in the center of each biscuit. Bring the edges together to form a ball. Pinch it closed at the top to seal in the filling.
  3. When all 10 ponchik are ready, pour the oil in a saucepan and bring to 350 degrees F. While waiting for the oil to reach temperature, pour sugar and cinnamon onto a plate.
  4. When oil is ready, use a slotted spoon to lower ponchik into oil. Cook for about 2 minutes on each side, until the dough is cooked through and golden brown.
  5. Remove from oil with slotted spoon and place on plate with cinnamon sugar. Gently roll the ponchik to coat. Be careful, ponchik will be hot.