The Five Powers, part 2

Before Chanukah is too distant a memory, let’s look at the remaining powers, Persia and Rome, associated with the holiday and the piyyut that includes them all.

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Wax and Wicks

Jews have laws and customs for so many ritual details: washing hands in the morning, donning a tallit [prayershawl], the order of blessings before and after a meal, preparing a household for Passover, etc., etc., etc., etc. A special kavanah [intention] can be part of even the most mundane of actions, as well. But, while […]

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Chanukah and the Five Powers

Five foreign powers show up this week in the Jewish calendar. It’s worth examining each of these empires to see what light it sheds — on its own and in conjunction with the others.

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Dick Gregory and Rabbis Under Rome

“Joseph found out it’s dangerous to be a dreamer….Or sell the dreamer into slavery; purchase the dream with foundation grants or government deals…” Dick Gregory, in 1974, sounded a whole lot like Rabbis under Roman rule.

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Torah of Exile

Jacob studied “the Torah of exile” in his younger years, and that helped sustain him during his time with Laban. Joseph, in turn, uses this “Torah of exile” during his decades in Egypt.

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