minutia press.
The world's first creative accountant

Nathan posted about his first menorah, which reminded me of the following story.

So the miracle of Chanukah was that oil that should have burned only one day burned for 8 days until more oil could be made. Why did it take 8 days to make oil? Well if you press olives you get a mixture of oil and water and they didn't know about centrifuges back then, so it took time to separate the water and oil so the oil would burn.

But the rabbis apparently wondered if you should light the menorah all eight days, because after all, there was sufficient oil for one day, so the first day there wasn't really a miracle.

A clever rabbi reasoned that 1/8 of the oil burned 8 times longer than it should have on each of the 8 days, making 8 days of miracles and not just 7. In this way, kids can get one more day of presents thanks to the ancient creative accounting.


That is a very...clever way of looking at it.

Posted by: Nathan at December 21, 2003 8:18 PM