Friday, December 7, 2012

The Flames of Beauty....

בס''ד


At this time of the year, children of all ages are busy making beautiful Chanukah menorahs and other Chanukah decorations at school and at home. 

Chanukah is around the corner...Yea! I love Chanukah! I love watching the flames flicker and dance. I love the family atmosphere.  

Tomorrow evening, Moetzi Shabbat [Saturday night], December 8th, the first Chanukah candle is lit. Every evening for eight days, Jewish families around the world, use either the familiar colored candles to light the Chanukah menorah, or like our family, use olive oil with cotton wicks to honor the holiday. 

After saying the Brachot [blessings] and singing Maoz Tzur, many families enjoy sufganiot [doughnuts with jelly filling] or sfinjas [a delicious Sephardic doughnut, recipe below] 

There are two famous women associated with Chanukah, Yehudit and Hannah.  These two women show the courage and inner-strength of the Jewish people in the time of adversity. 

Hannah is remembered for her faith in G-d. By teaching her seven sons that sometimes one must give up even life itself for the sake of one’s beliefs and by not begging for mercy from the evil king, Antiochus. When the king saw that six of Hannah’s sons were ready to die rather than bow to an idol, he decided to tell Hannah to reason with her last son and to tell him to bow down. Instead she encouraged her youngest and last son not to bow to evil. Hannah took a stand at great personal lost.

Yehudit, is the daughter of Yochanan the Kohen Gadol [High Priest], and father of the Chasmonean family. 

During the time of the revolt against Syrian oppression, Yehudit told the elders of the city that she had conceived a plan to deliver the Syrian-Greek army into their hands, but they must trust her and not ask questions. 

Yehudit, went to see the Syrian general, leader of the Syrian army, and told him she knew how to deliver the  Jewish people into his hands. Being very interested, he invited her to come and eat with him and tell him her plan. Yehudit told the general that her salty cheese was the best and would bring him some. 

He agreed. Yehudit served the general her salty cheese and continued to feed him the cheese. To quench his thirst she gave him very strong wine, until he fell into a deep sleep. When she was sure he was sleeping deeply, she beheaded him with a sword. 

Yehudit returned to her city and told the elders what she did and advised that there must be a surprise attack on the Syrian-Greek army immediately. When the Syrian-Greek soldiers went to wake their leader they found him dead and because of the surprise attack they fled. Yehudit saved the day and her people.   

During the eight days, for supper we eat something fried in oil, remembering  the little flask of oil that was enough for one day but a miracle happened and the little bit of oil lasted eight days or dairy to remember the actions of Yehudit.. 

What a good reason to eat cheesecakes, cheese blintzes, cheese kreplach, and cheese pies. Yummy!  

Sfinja

1 kilo flour

3 level tablespoons dry yeast

¾ cup sugar

¼ tsp. salt

¾ cup oil

3 eggs.

warm water

Mix dry ingredients, add oil, eggs

Slowly add warm water until dough is soft.

Knead dough to form ball

Oil hands & rub top and sides of dough & bowl.

Cover with nylon wrap to seal

Let dough set until double in size [app.1/2 hour] 

Knead dough again & cut 20 /25 even size balls.

Shape each ball to look like a ring with a large hole in the center.

Allow to rise on a grease tray or plastic tablecloth. Do not use flour, as the donuts will be heavy. Fry in deep hot oil until golden brown. Drain on paper towel.

Sugar glaze

1½ cup sugar

¾ cup water

2 packages of vanilla sugar or liquid vanilla

Mix together and boil on medium to low flame for 7 minutes.

Cover donuts with glaze or honey or eat them plain... Enjoy!


Thank-you Devorah for your recipe. 

Chag Chanukah Samaech to everyone!

Until next time. Feel free to comment and share.     

Miriam              

3 comments:

Batya said...

Miriam, wonderful post. And please send the link in to the Kosher Cooking Carnival. thanks

Evelyn said...

Thank you for sharing this story Miriam. I was aware of the story of Channukah and of Channa and her seven sons but forgot the role that Yehudit played - a role not to be taken lightly. It shows us once again that women have more power and influence on our history than they are given credit.
Evelyn

Angela said...

Love the story and recipe.
Angela