Holidays

Holidays

Sparkle Up Your Tu B’Shevat Seder

Winter fruit might seem less spectacular than the much more time-valued offerings of summer, but oranges and pears in particular, while quiet and “common,” can be the unexpected stars of simple savory dishes. This is perfect for Tu B’Shevat, the…

I Wanna Be a Maccabee

Who are the heroes of Chanukah? The founders of the “Jewish Olympics” had a formidable task. To find a name for the games, they had to pick through Jewish history and find a hero who, if not actually athletic, was…

Hanukkah: Lighting on Erev Shabbos

Navigating the delicate moments on Friday afternoon of Chanukah 1. When should one daven Mincha on erev Shabbos? Preferably, one should daven Mincha before lighting the menorah. This is the same sequence of events as in the Holy Temple, where…

Let There Be Light

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…

ABC’s of Chanukah (Hanukkah)

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…

Beating the Aravot

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…

Dancing with the Torah

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…

Shmini Azeret and Simchat Torah

God adds a special day at the end of Sukkot, a day of great intimacy with our Creator, as He asks His Jewish children to remain with him for extra personal time together. Imagine you throw a huge party and…

Putin and the Torah

Rejoicing with the Torah because it is an exceptional book that has made us exceptional. Till now the best definition of chutzpah was probably that given by Leo Rosten in his classic work, The Joys of Yiddish: “Chutzpah is that…

ABCs of Sukkot

Guidelines for the joyous Jewish outdoor festival of Sukkot. Following on the heels of the High Holidays is Sukkot, a seven-day festival (8 days in the Diaspora) characterized by the outdoor Sukkah-huts that we sit in, and the “Four Species”…

ABCs of Sukkot

Guidelines for the joyous Jewish outdoor festival of Sukkot. Following on the heels of the High Holidays is Sukkot, a seven-day festival (8 days in the Diaspora) characterized by the outdoor Sukkah-huts that we sit in, and the “Four Species”…

Secrets of the Four Species

The key to joy is success in our relationships. This includes our relationship with other people, with ourselves, and with God. Every Jewish holiday is infused with a special energy to help us work on a particular character trait, and…

My Yom Kippur Resolution

I cringe thinking how much aggravation I caused this woman My daughter’s wedding pictures have been piled neatly in their original boxes gathering dust. This may sound quite unremarkable to you except for the fact that, thank God, she now…

Getting Unstuck on Yom Kippur

God wants to help. Just ask Him. For years I attended Yom Kippur services without having any idea why I went. Yet I sensed that Yom Kippur was more than just a long day at synagogue waiting for dinner. Anyone…