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Understanding the cultural clash between the Greeks and the Jews
During the holiday of Chanukah, Jews relive their military and ideological victory over their Hellenistic adversaries. We still hear the echoes of this cultural clash today, as Winston Churchill wrote in his History of the Second World War, "No other two races [but the Jews and Greeks] have set such a mark upon the world. Each of them from angles so different have left us with the inheritance of its genius and wisdom...the main guiding light in modern faith and culture."
Classic Jewish texts refer to the period during which the Hellenists held influence over Israel as the "Greek Exile." Perplexingly, however, throughout that period the Jews lived in Israel, and there was
Everything you need to know about the holiday of Chanukah – Hanukkah
Chanukah (Hanukkah), the Festival of Lights, begins on the 25th day of the Jewish month of Kislev, and lasts for eight days. On the secular calendar, Chanukah generally falls out in December.
This primer will explore:
(1) A Bit of History
(2) Lighting Instructions
(3) Other Customs
(1) A Bit of History
The Hebrew word Chanukah means "dedication." In the 2nd century BCE, during the time of the Second Holy Temple, the
On the last day of Sukkot, Hoshana Rabba, we beat a bundle of willow branches (actually one is enough) on the floor (SA OC 664:4).
The source for this “beating” is in the gemara (Sukka 44b) which states that the custom was to CHABIT the willow branches. Rashi explains that CHABIT means to wave them, as we wave the lulav. The Bach on our siman points out that this word sometimes means to cast rather than to beat, and this justifies Rashi’s interpretation. But Rambam and many other Rishonim
In a rare holiday phenomenon, Chanukah and Thanksgiving overlap this year—for the first time since 1918. Chanukah begins on the evening of Wednesday, Nov. 27, with the second night of candle-lighting, for many Jewish Americans, taking place over a traditional Thanksgiving dinner.
That means there’s even more to be thankful for in a season marked by an appreciation of national freedom and a Jewish celebration of a long-ago battle over religious freedom.
Chanukah, which runs through Thursday
A true Simchat Torah story
He came by my house every six months or so, for a modest contribution to support the immigrant village he helped build in Israel to absorb new arrivals from Russia. His excited, high pitched voice and happy, dancing eyes belied the deep furrows in his brow which were painfully etched by decades of punishment at the hands of the communist authorities for the terrible crime of being an observant Jew in the Soviet Union during the 50's, 60's and early 70's.
It became a