Jewish Holidays

Golden Menorah

June 29, 2006, by

The Golden Menorah in the Beit 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: Light & Holiness

June 29, 2006, by

If you think about Chanukah, new ideas occur. Chanukah, 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 Chanukah: the […]

See the Light

June 29, 2006, by

I would like to study with you several talmudic and halachic statements and teachings that deal superficially with Jewish legal details of lighting the Chanukah lights, and attempt to find within these texts the deeper meaning that is relevant to our contemporary celebration of the special Yom Tov of Chanukah. The Talmud in Tractate Shabbat […]

Chanukah: Al HaNissim

June 29, 2006, by

The Al Ha-Nissim prayer which is recited during Shmoneh Esrei and Birkat HaMazon on Chanukah is quite lengthy. Unlike the Al Ha-Nissim of Purim, which very briefly relates the basics of the Purim story, the Al Ha-Nissim of Chanukah is very elaborate. After narrating the story of the Chanukah victory, the text seems to wax […]

Hallel

June 29, 2006, by

Hallel consists of six Psalms (113-118), which are said as a unit, on joyous occasions, when the praise of G-d is particularly appropriate, immediately following the Shacharit “Shemoneh Esrei.” These occasions include the following: The three “major” festivals, Pesach, Shavuot and Sukkot, the term “major” meaning that the festival is mentioned in the “Chamishei Chumshei […]

Zot Chanukah

June 29, 2006, by

The “simple” explanation for this special name for the last day of Chanuka is the Torah reading from the end of Parshat Naso that emphatically announces ZOT CHANUKAT HA-MIZBEI’ACH (when the Torah is summing up the gifts of all the Tribal Leaders. There is another, deeper meaning to the name. If you want to really […]

Chanukah Primer with Torah Tidbits

June 29, 2006, by

Chanukah Primer (and then some!) This will be a combination of a halachic review, practical suggestions, useful information, and more. Do not take anything written here as “the last word”; if you have any doubts, check things out with your Rav. We are including it the week before Chanukah to give you time for careful […]

Fate of the Chashmonaim

June 29, 2006, by

It is a historical fact that the great Chashmonai family disappeared completely from the historical scene within only two hundred years of the first Chanukah. The question arises, “Why was such a great punishment visited upon a family which saved the Jewish People?” At the end of the Book of Bereishit, in Parshat VaYechi, Yaakov […]

Chanukah: History and Thought

June 29, 2006, by

The following material is adapted with permission from The Book of Our Heritage by Rabbi Eliyahu Kitov and other sources… War between Sanctity and Defilement The war waged by the Hasmoneans against Greek rule was not similar to a typical revolt of the enslaved against their oppressors. Had it been Israel’s aim only to seek […]