Hanukkah is not one of the biblical feasts or festivals that is prescribed in the Torah, like Sukkot, Shavuot, or Passover. It is a tradition started by the sages. The story of Hanukkah actually comes from the First Book of Maccabees. That is not part of the Hebrew Cannon, just like it is not part of the Protestant cannon, but like much of the Apocrypha it provides interesting history. The book was written in the second century BCE so it is an account of events soon after they took place. The original Hebrew text has been lost to us; the surviving text from the Septuagint is in Greek. Maccabees starts out by recounting how Judah suddenly found itself under Greek rule. Alexander the Great made a sweeping conquest over much of the world in the fourth century BCE. Along with his ever-expanding army and tax base, Greek culture and social practices metastasized across his vast empire. The Greek language became the dominant tongue among the educated and the language of commerce. Greek theatres, gyms, and temples were built everywhere that Alexander planted new Greek cities. This process is what we now call Hellenization.
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