Category: Chanukah

The Five Powers, part 3

A few notes on Rome — and on Micah’s “seven shepherds” — to round out the discussion of “Ma’oz Tzur.”

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.

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., […]

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.

Kindling Hope with the Fourth Candle

How is Chanukah kindling hope for you and others this season? In memory of Rekia Boyd, killed at age 22, another victim of (off-duty) police violence from my first hometown, I am kindling hope with […]

Chanukah Rededicates Jews to the Fight

Samuel L. Jackson’s challenge, Chanukah-style. [Everybody knows that I can’t sing, but] I can hear my neighbor calling I can’t breathe Now I’m in the struggle and I can’t leave Calling out the violence that […]

Throne, Heel, and Holidays

And whenever God sits upon His Throne of Glory He immediately thinks of the blue thread of the fringes worn by Israel, and bestows upon them blessings. — footnote in Soncino edition, Chullin 89a Does […]

Psalm 30: Words, Chant, Song

some resources for exploring Psalm 30 Word-based Commentary So far the most thorough and useful commentary I’ve found on-line is still Schechter’s “A New Psalm”. [UPDATE 2017: Sadly, this on-line resource appears to be gone; […]