The Talmud relates the famous story of the pitcher of oil that miraculously burned for eight days and the mitzvah instituted by the Sages to light Hanukkah candles for eight nights. When we perform this mitzvah we use the standard blessing formula – asher kid’shanu b’mitzvotav v’tzivanu (“who has sanctified us with His commandments and […]
Hanukkah Source Sheet – It’s Greek to Them (pdf) Hanukkah – It’s Greek to Them (pdf, printable version of this webpage) Sources of the Hanukkah Story Today Hanukkah is perhaps the best-known Jewish holiday throughout the world. However, despite its popularity, Hanukkah is the holiday with the least textual basis. The story of Hanukkah does not appear […]
CY Hanukkah Public or Private Observance E-shiur Sourcesheet (pdf) CY Hanukkah Public or Private Observance E-shiur (pdf, printable version of this webpage) Hanukkah is often celebrated as the holiday of “religious freedom.” More accurately, it is a holiday celebrating our ability to practice Judaism unhindered, without pressure or influence to do otherwise. At the time, in the […]
But the truly irrational element in the Hanukah story is freedom.
The Miracle of the Oil Sourcesheet (pdf) The Miracle of the Oil E-shiur (pdf) The roots of Hanukkah as a holiday celebrating a historical event are fairly clear. In the year 166-165 B.C.E., the Hasmoneans (called Maccabees in Greek sources) led a rebellion against the Greeks which culminated in the rededication of the Temple on the 25th […]
Sources for Why Do We Still Celebrate Hanukkah (pdf) Why Do We Still Celebrate Hannukah E-shiur (pdf) Today, we know of the historical events surrounding Hanukkah because they are described in several texts, including the two books of Maccabees and the writings of Josephus. However, these books were either written in Greek or originally written in […]
According to popular Jewish tradition on the 25th of Kislev the Maccabees defeated the evil Greeks and rededicated the defiled temple. Hanukkah celebrates not only the military victory but also a spiritual one, of good over evil, of light over darkness. Several non-Rabbinic sources (I&II Maccabees and Josephus’ Antiquities of the Jews) tell the Hanukkah […]