December 15, 2023

A Solomonic Determination

In light of the rare non-coincidence of Miketz and Hanukka we will read the almost always preempted Haftara for this week’s portion – which includes the well-known episode of Solomon’s judgment in the case of maternal identity. Rabbi J. David Bleich discussed this passage from I Kings in his “Survey of Recent Halakhic Literature” in our Fall 2023 issue. Read an excerpt from his article, “Horton Hatches the Egg, Who Raises the Chick?: Maternal Identity, Custody, and the Israeli Courts.”
December 14, 2023

TRADITION QUESTIONS: Hanukka Blues

What do the colors of Hannuka candles say about religious culture and crafty consumerism? Do our holidays need color palattes? How much of American Jewish life is tied to subconscious marketing trends? Chaim Strauchler speculates in a very special holiday installment of TRADITION Questions brought to you by Hallmark.
December 12, 2023

“Home” for the Holiday

Hannuka’s requirement of “ner ish u-beyto” makes the candle-lighting mitzva a house-bound one. Avraham Stav, writing from the Gaza border, asks how myriad Israeli soldiers dwelling in the field, and almost as many Israelis displaced from their homes, help us reevaluate and expand the meaning of “bayit” as we light our candles.
December 10, 2023

Hanukka and Hellenizers in Hazal

In this TRADITION classic from our archives: Prof. Gerald Blidstein z"l offers possible explanations for Hazal’s suppression of the Jewish Hellenizers in the Hanukka story. Neither the Talmud nor the holiday prayers make reference to them even though the Book of Macabbees portrays Jewish Hellenizers as central to the story. Blidstein offers several tentative explanations for this omission including the possibility that Hazal did not want us to celebrate a civil war.
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