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He Shall Be Praised
He Shall Be Praised

Many of us remember learning to write research papers in school. Critical to receiving a good grade was composing a proper concluding paragraph to serve as a summation. While the prayer service of Pesukei D’zimra (Chapters of Song) is not an essay, i…

Shabbat Heroics
Shabbat Heroics

Question: What does a Sabbath-observant doctor do when a friend or neighbor needs emergency medical assistance on Shabbat?

Hannah and Her Sons
Hannah and Her Sons

The story of Hannah and her seven sons is the story of the Jewish resistance to Antiochus’ attempts to Hellenize the Jewish people around 166 B.C.E.
When Antiochus demanded that Hannah’s sons bow down to an idol before him, Hannah’s eldest son stepped…

Putting Chanukah in Perspective
Putting Chanukah in Perspective

The events of Chanukah took place about 150 years after the death of Alexander the Great (323 BCE), whose death brought 40 years of civil war to his empire.

The Books of the Maccabees
The Books of the Maccabees

Chanukah is neither directly ordained in the Torah (like Rosh Hashana, Passover, etc.) nor mentioned in any other biblical text (as Purim is in the Book of Esther). The Books of Maccabees are not included in the Biblical canon, because these events occ…

Beauty and the Greeks
Beauty and the Greeks

What does Noah’s son Yephet have to do with the story of Chanukah and the mitzvah of circumcision?When the Syrian-Greeks sought to force Hellenization on the Judeans, one of the first mitzvot they outlawed was brit milah, circumcision. In f…

Chanukah and Divine Order
Chanukah and Divine Order

Chanukah always overlaps with at least one Shabbat (if not two), and since Chanukah begins on the 25th of Kislev and lasts for eight days, the holiday always coincides with the celebration of Rosh Chodesh (the new month of) Tevet. (Rosh Chodesh is cele…

A Chanukah Heroine
A Chanukah Heroine

Have you ever heard of Yehudit (Judith), the daughter of Yochanan the High Priest, who saved her city, Bethulia, from destruction at the hands of the Syrian-Greek general Holofernes?

Al Hanisim, For The Miracles
Al Hanisim, For The Miracles

Most Jewish holidays are marked not only by feasting and celebrations, but also by special prayers. On Biblical holidays, such as Passover and Rosh Hashana, these special prayers include an entire additional service (Musaf).

Rock of Ages
Rock of Ages

“Rock of Ages let our song / Praise thy saving power / Thou amidst the raging foes / Wast our sheltering tower….” This is the first verse of Maoz Tzur as loosely translated from the original Hebrew by Marcus Jastrow and Gustav Gottheil …

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