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The History of Hanukkah
By December 18, 2016 Read More →

The History of Hanukkah

“Hannukah”—the celebration of the (re-)dedication of the Temple in Jerusalem—goes back to the very first dedication—that of Solomon in the 10th century BCE. But the holiday Jews have long called Hannukah commemorates just one of the Temple’s re-dedications—that at the hand of the Maccabees in 164 BCE. This holiday has sometimes been called a “minor” […]

December 124 B.C.E. Hannukah
By October 11, 2016 Read More →

December 124 B.C.E. Hannukah

The Hasmoneans, for their part, were aware of the goodwill borne to them by most, but not all, Egyptian Jews. They sought to strengthen the ties between the two communities in many ways; for example, by inviting the Egyptian Jews to join them in the celebration of the newly established Feast of Hannukah, to commemorate […]

Posted in: Jews of Egypt
Background to Hanukkah: Inscription Reveals Roots of Maccabean Revolt, Hershel Shanks, BAR 34:06, Nov-Dec 2008.
By August 30, 2015 Read More →

Background to Hanukkah: Inscription Reveals Roots of Maccabean Revolt, Hershel Shanks, BAR 34:06, Nov-Dec 2008.

A major new inscription that recently surfaced on the antiquities market and has been acquired by the Israel Museum in Jerusalem sheds dramatic new light on the run-up to the Maccabean revolt in the second century B.C.E.1 Until now, almost everything we know about the Maccabean revolt, which freed the Temple from the desecration of […]

The Feast of the Hanukkah, Roland de Vaux, Ancient Israel, McGraw-Hill, New York 1961.
By April 13, 2008 0 Comments Read More →

The Feast of the Hanukkah, Roland de Vaux, Ancient Israel, McGraw-Hill, New York 1961.

The Dead Sea Scrolls Most modern translations call this feast the feast of the Dedication. Its Greek name, Τά ’Εγκαίνια, means the ‘inauguration’ or ‘the renewal’, and this is a more literal rendering of the Hebrew hanukkah, the name which was given to the feast by the Rabbis and by which it is still known […]

Posted in: Introduction
Al ha-Nissim: Additional Prayer for Hanukkah
By April 9, 2008 0 Comments Read More →

Al ha-Nissim: Additional Prayer for Hanukkah

Greco-Roman Period ‘Al ha-Nissim, inserted in the Amidah and the Grace after Meals on all eight days of Hanukkah, is only preserved in medieval texts. Yet its concentration on the military victory—not on the miracle of the burning of the oil for eight days—testifies to its antiquity. We thank thee for the miracles, for the […]

Babylonian Talmud Shabbat 21b: The Significance of Hanukkah
By April 9, 2008 0 Comments Read More →

Babylonian Talmud Shabbat 21b: The Significance of Hanukkah

The holiday of Hanukah, celebrating the Jewish victory over the Seleucids and the rededication of the Temple in 164 B.C.E., was observed by the lighting of lamps, symbolizing the relighting of the Temple menorah. The Babylonian Talmud explained the significance of the festival and detailed its observance. Our Rabbis taught- “The commandment of Hanukkah is […]

The Daily Life of the Jew
By April 9, 2008 0 Comments Read More →

The Daily Life of the Jew

Excerpted from Lawrence H. Schiffman, From Text to Tradition, Ktav Publishing House, Hoboken, NJ, 1991. The rabbis sought to sanctify all of man’s actions, even the most mundane. Accordingly, it was expected that such matters as personal hygiene and dress would come under the halakhah as well as matters usually understood as “religious” in the modern sense. […]

Jerusalem Talmud Haggigah 2:1 (77a-77c): Four Who Entered the Pardes
By April 9, 2008 0 Comments Read More →

Jerusalem Talmud Haggigah 2:1 (77a-77c): Four Who Entered the Pardes

Greco-Roman Period The following aggadic narrative demonstrates the reasons for the Rabbinic hesitation to teach esoteric traditions. After Elisha ben Abuyah becomes an apostate, his student Rabbi Meir continues to respect his immense learning while feeling the pain of his loss to the Rabbinic community of sages. Four entered the Pardes- 215 One peeked and […]

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Baruch 1-2: The Destruction of the Temple and the Exile
By April 8, 2008 0 Comments Read More →

Baruch 1-2: The Destruction of the Temple and the Exile

1These are the words of the book that Baruch son of Neriah son of Mahseiah son of Zedekiah son of Hasadiah son of Hilkiah wrote in Babylon, 2 in the fifth year, on the seventh day of the month, at the time when the Chaldeans took Jerusalem and burned it with fire. 3 Baruch read […]