Beyond BT

Spiritual Growth for Jews

The Eight Sheets of Chanukah

By Ruby With 5 weeks left to my son’s Bar Mitzvah, invitations were sitting at home waiting to be addressed and mailed. All my wife had to do was create the spreadsheet with all the addresses, set up the mail merge, and feed the envelopes through the printer. I had the really tough job – […]

Chanukah Then and Now

By Azriela Jaffe The Judaism of my youth was defined by what I was not able to do. Is that not what characterizes any observant Jew? I may not eat non-kosher food, as G-d commanded. I may not work on Shabbat, as G-d commanded. I may not eat on Yom Kippur – as G-d commanded. […]

Continuing to Access the Power of Chanukah

We pasken like Beis Hillel and we increase the candles as Chanukah progresses indicating an increase in accessing the power of the holiday. R’ Yaakov Astor discusses this in Reality and Potential … Most people can experience the initial joy that comes along with lighting the menorah. By the second day, for many of us, […]

Get More Out of Your Hallel

Chanukah is a time of L’hodos U’l’hallel, To give thanks and praise to Hashem and we fulfill that obligation with the saying of the Full Hallel all eight days. Here are some notes from Maharal: Emerging Patterns by Yaakov Rosenblatt on Hallel. Give Praise Servants of Hashem from this time forth and forever more Despite […]

Our Chanukah Opportunity

Chanukah is about light, specifically the light that brings awareness, connection and closeness to Hashem. On the first day of creation, that light burned bright, but it was diminished when the first man, Adam, introduced more physicality into human consciousness with his transgression. The light was diminished further after the destruction of the first Beis […]

Looking for Our Brothers

A few years back I found out something about myself that surprised and amazed me. It was Erev Yom Kippur and a colleague of mine, we’ll call him Zalman, and I were on our way to Williams College (a small liberal arts school in western Massachusetts). We were going to meet with some college students […]

The Dreidel of Life

This article is cross-posted at Oy!Chicago. Just like the notion that there are two sides to every story, there are four sides to every dreidel. Over the years I have found myself associating the sides of that little dreidel (made out of recycled plastics) with memories of the past and the present along with thoughts […]

The Candles and the Tree

It was the December after my ninth birthday. A menorah rested on the bookshelf over the television console. Across the room, beside the fireplace, the lights of a tree twinkled red and green and blue. I was standing next to my mother as she held a candle in her hand. My father wasn’t there. He […]

Darkest Before the Dawn

Miketz Shabbos Chanukah 5774-An installment in the series From the Waters of the Shiloah: Plumbing the Depths of the Izhbitzer School -For series introduction CLICK By Rabbi Dovid Schwartz-Mara D’Asra Cong Sfard of Midwood And it came to pass at the end of two full years….   -Bereshis 41:1 He put an end to darkness…( […]

The 60 Second Guide to Chanukah

The Battle of the Spiritual vs the Physical To understand any Jewish Holiday it is helpful to restate the foundation of Judaism, which is that there is a G-d, who is completely spiritual who created a world with physical and spiritual parts. Man is the only creation with both a spiritual side (the soul) and […]

Chanukah’s Message of Inspiration

Is growth the mission of the Jew or his essence? Can we stay in the same place or are we always rising falling? What was special about Aaron HaCohen’s service and what is the message for us? How does our lighting of the Chanukah menorah bring out the great traits of Aaron in us? How […]

Santa and the Little Jewish Girl

By Marsha Smagley Twas the night before Xmas, (or maybe a week before), When all through the house, (that is. my best friend’s house), Not a child was stirring, not even a mouse… (Except for the little Jewish girl, that would be me) In hopes that.. (Santa) soon would be there! (That is until the […]

R’ Moshe Schwerd – Chanukah: Shielding Our Children from Assimilation

Understand: …the strong relationship between Chanukah and Succos. …the different nature of Persumei Nissa (publicizing the miracle) on Chanukah …what the Greeks were claiming back then …what the non-Jewish nations want from us today …where we are failing in the battle against assimilation and how we can succeed …and more Download the mp3 – R’ […]

Chanukah – Beyond the Facade

By Yered Viders Our homes are illuminated with the timeless Chanukah lights and the timeless message they convey. Looking at the lights, I wondered why the B’nei Binah (“Men of Insight”) — whom we acclaim in Ma’oz Tz’ur for establishing the Festival of Chanukah — selected such a mundane way of commemorating the historic miracle. […]

Chanukah: Overcoming Our Greekness

By Rebbetzin Tziporah Heller Dear friends: Chanukah is here! When you think of the victory of light over the darkness that the ancient Greeks tried to spread, you can’t help but think of the world as it is today, sit by the light and know that there is light in the darkest times. Everything that […]

Chanukah: Torah and Play Do Go Together

By David Feiner One of the more interesting and different stories related to Chanukah are those surrounding Dreidels. According to many traditional accounts, the Dreidel was used as ruse to cover up the studying of Torah when Greek soldiers would come upon groups of children with their teachers. Rather than observing Torah study, they would […]

Chanukah – the Prototypical Baal Teshuva Holiday

What’s the prototypical Baal Teshuva holiday? Perhaps it’s Rosh Hoshana with it’s new beginning. Or Yom Kippur with it’s focus on Teshuva. Or the unparalleled joy available us on Succos. Or the rediscovering of true freedom on Pesach. Or the celebration of our new found wisdom in Torah on Shavous. Or partying for the sake […]

An Issue of Trust

An Excerpt from An Issue of Trust by Rabbi Noson Weisz Parshat Mikeitz overlaps this week with the celebration of Chanukah. Interestingly, it brings up an issue that defines the very essence of the holiday — bitachon, trust in God. … … … But the story of Chanukah illustrates a deeper concept of bitachon as […]

Let Your Fingers Do the Mitzvos

Just Released in Time for Chanukah! by Bracha Goetz Published by Judaica Press, 2010 Let Your Fingers Do the Mitzvos is a new book for little children that is full of tremendous potential. It enables children to actually experience the joy of doing mitzvos while the book is being read. The two dimensional children in […]

Are You a Closet Hellenist?

By Rebbetzin Tziporah Heller The Greeks centered their opposition to the Jews on three religious laws that one the surface of things couldn’t be less threatening to them or their way of life. Why would a Greek concern himself about someone else circumcising his son? If a neighbor likes having three rather lavish meals on […]

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