Jewish Holidays

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 […]

Who were the Greeks?

June 29, 2006, by

“In Bereshit (9:26), the Torah says “The L-rd has given Yephet beauty; let him reside in the Tents of Shem.” In Yephet, come together reason and the desire for the Spiritual,…Yephet reaches his peak in the Culture of Yavan, Greece, and till today these two remain, Yisrael and Yavan, representing “Moriah” and humanism. Yephet beautified […]

S’more Rituals

June 29, 2006, by

In addition to the lighting of the Chanukah lights, there are several other important changes made on Chanukah to the daily ritual. They are: Recital of the Complete “Hallel” on all the eight days of Chanukah Recital of “Al Hanisim,” “(We thank You) for the Miracles” in each “Shemoneh Esray,” the 18-blessing, basic Jewish prayer, […]

Mizmor Shir Chanukat: Translation & Explanation of Psalm 30

June 29, 2006, by

Psalm 30 I will exalt You, HASHEM, for You have raised me up from the depths, and not let my foes rejoice over me. HASHEM, my God, I cried out to You and You healed me. HASHEM, You have raised up my soul from the lower world, You have preserved me lest I descend to […]

Maoz Tzur: Translation & Explanation – Jewish Holidays

June 29, 2006, by

Stanza One O mighty stronghold of my salvation, to praise You is a delight. Restore my House of Prayer and there we will bring a thanksgiving offering. When You will have prepared the slaughter for the blaspheming foe, Then I shall complete with a song of hymn the dedication of the Altar. This stanza pleads […]

The Lights of Chanukah

June 29, 2006, by

The Lights of Chanukah The Jewish tradition is that on the first night of Chanukah one flame is lit, on the second night two, and so on until the eighth night when eight flames are lit. Actually, the question of whether to begin the lighting with one flame and proceed, adding one each night, to […]

Bayit Sheini Timeline

June 29, 2006, by

3338/423 B.C.E. Destruction of First Temple and beginning of Babylonian Exile 3389/372 B.C.E. Babylon falls to Medes and Persians under Darius the Mede and Cyrus the Great of Persia 3391/370 B.C.E. Cyrus reigns, permits Jews to return to Eretz Yisrael 3408/353 B.C.E. Darius the Persian permits Jews to rebuild Temple 3442/319 B.C.E. Beginning of Greek […]

The Month of Kislev

June 29, 2006, by

The name “Kislev” is of Babylonian origin. In the Tanach (Bible), Kislev is referred to as the ninth month, as it is the ninth month after Nisan. Although most famous for having Chanukah within it, Kislev is also a month with significant Biblical happenings. The first rainbow, observed after the Flood, was seen in Kislev. […]

The Mysteries of Chanukah

June 26, 2006, by

Talmudic tractate Shabbat (Masechet Shabbat) introduces the historical background and the basis for the observance of the eight-day Festival of Chanukah. Seven lines(!) are devoted to the presentation of this information, and a mere seven pages(!) are allocated to a discussion of its laws, within a chapter basically devoted to another subject, within a tractate […]

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