Might or Light?

From: Matthew Dear Rabbi, Why do the traditional sources seem to downplay the military aspect of Chanuka and focus more on the theme of oil and light? Dear Matthew, Clearly, one of the main reasons for establishing Chanuka as a festival for all Jews in all generations was to commemorate the miraculous military victory of[…]

Chanuka for Women

From: Jill in Toronto Dear Rabbi, What is the special connection of women to Chanuka? In particular, why do women customarily rest or refrain from work while the candles are burning even though this candle lighting, as opposed to for Shabbat, is done by the men? Dear Jill, Take 1: The reason women rest while[…]

Chanuka Time

From: Alex in Toronto Dear Rabbi, I understand that Chanuka is in the winter months because that’s when the world is darkest and Chanuka is about bringing light into the darkness. Are there other, more text-based reasons for Chanuka occurring when it does? Dear Alex, Surely, the fact that Chanuka, called the Festival of Lights[…]

Lamed Vavniks

From: Dave Criss Dear Rabbi, What is the difference between “Lamed Vavniks” (the thirty-six secret righteous Jews in each generation) and the generic “Tzadik nistar” (hidden righteous person)? Dear David, The thirty-six are referred to as “lamed vav tzadikim” according to the numerical equivalent of the letters ‘lamed’ (thirty) and ‘vav’ (six). The idea is[…]

Wisdom Oil

From: Martin in St. Louis Dear Rabbi, A central theme of Chanuka seems to be the victory of Torah over the philosophy of the Greeks. Does that mean that Judaism rejects the wisdom of the nations? Is there no redeeming value to that wisdom according to the Torah? Thank you. Dear Martin, True, Chanuka commemorates[…]