Are donuts an essential part of the Jewish holiday?  Why do we eat them in the first place?

How did Hanukkah become so fattening?

This comical Israeli is pretty good.  But he clearly doesn’t know what he is talking about.  But, he does know how to make a good donut.

Oil

The origin of the custom is oil.  The essence of the custom comes from the fact that the Maccabees rededicated the Temple in Jerusalem at the end of their miraculous war against the Greeks.  The small group of Jews defeated hundreds of thousands of Greeks in battle and then immediately rushed to the Temple.

What they found in the Temple was horrible.  It was in shambles.  They couldn’t even find any oil to light the candelabra that had not been defiled.  Except for one small flask.  They found one small flask that had enough to light for just one day.  But then a spiritual miracle occurred.  The small flask of oil lasted for eight days.

The eight days symbolized the miraculous nature of the entire story.  Thus began the custom to eat oily foods on Hannukah.

Why Donuts?

The custom to eat donuts does not go back many generations.  But the custom to eat oily potato pancakes does.  Donuts probably took over because they are so yummy.  However, the main point is to eat fried food.  This is not the best holiday for dietitians.  However, there are some oils that can be used to fry that are not as unhealthy as others.  So, perhaps this Hannukah try some alternatives – such as coconut oil donuts.  Or better yet, stop deep-frying.  Just bake the donuts.