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What took the Jews 8 days to produce new oil when rededicating the Temple in the Chanuka story? It seems the process of oil-making takes a lot less time (I have done it in Israel on one of the tourist trips), so what exactly historically took 8 days?

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up vote 13 down vote accepted

Another answer (Beis Yosef, Orach Chaim 670, s.v. והטעם) is that the actual pressing would indeed take a day, but that they first had to undergo seven days of purification (from tum'ah contracted by contact with corpses, of which there were plenty during the battles against the Syrian-Greeks) - since, after all, the whole point was that they needed oil that was free of tum'ah.

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I don't quite understand that answer. It's evident that not everyone at the time was impure. (Otherwise - who was it that lit the miraculous oil) So that being the case - the pure people could have made oil(?) – Danield Dec 23 '14 at 11:59

The Ran in Mesechtas Shabbos 21: and the Rokayach in Hilchos Chanuka say that it took 4 days to travel to the location where they made the oil and 4 days to travel back, hence 8 days. The Meiri in Mesechtas Shabbos 21: says that the place where the oil came from was Tekoa.

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today Tekoa is less then 4 days traveling from Jerusalem. It's about 13-15 km by the air line. – jutky Dec 7 '10 at 23:27

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