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Holidays

Musical Origins of Maoz Tzur

December 18, 2006, by

A study of the liturgical and musical origin, the influence and practical usage of the popular MAOZ TZUR melody. This lecture is presented by Cantor Bernard Beer, director, Philip and Sarah Belz School of Jewish Music, Riets, YU.

Put a Little Light in Your Life

December 15, 2006, by

Free Download! of this classic Phillip Namanworth Chanukah song. These lights illuminate and reveal, they take us deeper. These are the Chanukah lights. Put a little light in your life.

Chanukah: A Model for Overcoming Adversity

December 14, 2006, by

Why do we celebrate Chanukah as a miracle done on our behalf? Wasn’t Hashem simply standing up for Himself from Hellenists who were determined to destroy Him and Judaism?

Some Talmudic Insights

June 29, 2006, by

The basic mitzvah of Chanukah is to celebrate “the miracle that happened then,” by lighting the chanukia for eight days. Interestingly enough, though, there is a dispute in the Talmud between Beis Shammai and Beis Hillel whether to increase the number of candles each day from one to eight, or to start with eight and […]

Hillel and Shammai – Two Opinions

June 29, 2006, by

The “machloket,” or disagreement, between Hillel and Shammai and their respective Academies, Bait Hillel and Bait Shammai, in the matter of the lighting of the Chanukah Menorah, turns on a fundamental question regarding commandments, the performance of which varies with time. According to Shammai, one begins with the “days remaining;” that is, with the “maximum […]

Jewish Candles: The Power of Discernment

June 29, 2006, by

Candles highlight the performance of four important religious observances. The Mishnah in Pesachim instructs that “on the night of the fourteenth of Nisan we search for chometz by the light of a candle.” Chometz signifies not merely the physical process of fermentation leading to seor, but also the fermentation of deeds, of our inner beings. […]

Seeing the Light

June 29, 2006, by

There is an unusual law in the observance of Chanukah which is unique among mitzvos. The Shulchan Aruch rules that one who doesn’t have the opportunity to kindle Chanukah lights or to have someone lighting on his behalf in his home becomes obligated, upon merely seeing Chanukah lights anywhere, to recite the blessing “She’asah Nissim,” […]

Golden Menorah

June 29, 2006, by

The Golden Menorah in the Bait HaMikdash represents the wisdom of Torah. The miracle of Chanukah is the miracle of the Jewish victory over the Greeks’ attempt to force the Jewish people to abandon and forget the Torah. Despite the fierce effort of the Greeks and their Jewish Hellenist allies to destroy every shred of […]

Lasting Lights

June 29, 2006, by

Chanukah is a victory celebration. The emphasis is not on the struggle against tyranny, the land liberated, “religious freedom” or the military victory against overwhelming odds; it is the celebration of a spiritual struggle and a spiritual victory. Despite the Hellenization of a significant number of Jews, the Jewish people refused to surrender to the […]

Chanukah Insights

June 29, 2006, by

If you think about Chanuka, new ideas occur. Chanuka, the Festival of Lights, occurs at the darkest time of the year — the time when you would least expect it. And this is an important characteristic of Judaism: that light, and holiness, occur where one would least expect them. Remember the origin of Chanuka: the […]