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What is Hanukah? And when are we going to tell the world that they are spelling it without the first letter

The Gemara in Masseches Shabbos has a long involved disscusion about the Halachos of Chanukah and after everything asks the following question : "mai Chanukah" - what is Chanukah. Isn't it strange that this question isn't asked at the outset. The Gemara is assuming all along that we know what Chanukah is and then asks what Chanukah is?

Please help me.

The most accurate transliteration would be hanukkah (with dot under h).
Though i haven't seen the gemaros too much too often I just assumed that the Gemara isn't just segueing into talking about Hanukkah, the connection to Bameh Madliqin is obviously the neiros Hanukkah. It's only after the shift to the parallel topic is made and the comparisons or contrasts are seen that it can use the "tangent" to actually identify and describe the nature of Hanukkah itself.

perhaps its not a question but a statement ie. what is chanukah- Tanu Rabbanan. the essense of chaukah is the teachings and the importance of the rabbanan. this is one of the reasons why chanukah is unique in halacha in that their is a concept of mehadrin and mehardin min hamihadrin- something that we dont find in other aspects of halacha ( we can buy a more mehudar lulav- but the mitzvah is still the same). i heard from R. Zev Leff that the mihadrin element to the Chag is a heker to show the importance and the koach of the rabbanan.

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  • I'm Rabbi Ally Ehrman
  • From Old City Jerusalem, Israel
  • I am a Rebbe in Yeshivat Netiv Aryeh.
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