Chanuka Menorah and Doughnuts

A Summary of Practical Halachot of Hanukkah

Lighting the Hanukkah lights It is an especially important mitzvah (mitzvah min hamuvchar)[1] to light olive oil (as opposed to candles). As the miracle which took place involved olive oil. Although kindling the Hanukkah lights is a mitzvah for the man, wherever he may be, it is of special importance that he performs the mitzvah […]

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Man Counting Money

Chanukah and “The Little Prince”

The Talmud tells us that we may not use light produced by Hanukkah candles to count money (Tractate Shabbat 22a). The children’s classic “The Little Prince” sheds some light on the special meaning behind this halacha. The most despicable character in the book is a businessman who devotes his life to counting the stars, believing […]

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Woman Sword Warrior

Judith: The Other Hero of Chanukah

According to Jewish Law, women are exempt from observing many time bound mitzvot. In reference to the holidays, there are three positive mitzvoth which the Rabbis specifically require women to observe: lighting the Chanukah candles, reading Megilat Ester on Purim and drinking four cups of wine at the Passover seder. In the Talmud, Shabbat 23a, […]

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Golden Menorah in Jerusalem

The Miracle of Chanukah and its Message

Chanukah commemorates the events that took place during the Hasmonean rebellion against Antiochus IV Epiphanes, the Seleucid king of Syria, in 164 BCE. In the Al HaNissim prayer inserted in the Shemoneh Esreh and Birkat HaMazon throughout the holiday, we relate: In the days of the Hasmonean Matityahu, son of Yoḥanan the High Priest, and […]

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Light shining from a book

Seeing the Light: A Philosophy of Chanukah

The Chanukah story presents ‘light’ as triumph amidst a world of darkness. We are reminded, through the Mitzvot of Chanukah, of survival against all odds and of the possibility for good in an evil world. I will explore the connection between the defeat of the Greeks, and its connection to light through the philosophical commentary […]

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God's Helping Hands

Parshat Vayeshev: Rendezvous With an Angel

Every Man is an Angel Parshat Vayeshev tells the story of Yosef and his brothers. Yaakov sent Yosef to check on his brothers, a mission that irrevocably changed the course of his life and Jewish history. Yosef had trouble finding his brothers, but on his way met an anonymous character that helped him track them […]

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