Hope in History: A Closer Look at Ma’zor Tzu

Photograph of Tamar Marvin
5779
by Tamar Marvin, PhD
posted on December 3, 2018
Of the rich tradition of piyyut—liturgical poetry—composed for Hanukkah, today two are customarily used: Ha-Nerot Hallalu and Ma’oz Tzur, which are sung after lighting the Hanukkah candles. The first, Ha-Nerot Hallalu, is cited in Massekhet Soferim and reappears later in the medieval period, when Maharam of Rothenberg mentions it again. Reflecting rabbinic discussions of the mitzvah of the Hanukkah candles, this straightforward hymn recalls the miraculous events, explains that the candles’ light is not for practical use, and expresses gratitude. Read more...

Open Your Eyes

Rose Prevezar
5779
by Rose Prevezer
posted on November 26, 2018
Torah Reading
Haftarah Reading
The Jerusalem Talmud tells us that Tamar would earnestly pray: “Master of the Universe, let me not go empty from this house!” With Judah withholding that which is owed to her - marriage to his remaining son and the security and children that would flow from that - she is in a state of despair. Overwhelmed with fear and with a longing to fill the emptiness in her heart and womb, she is compelled to enact a risky and potentially fatal plan by disguising herself as a sex worker in order to lie with Judah and conceive the promised child from the House of Jacob. Read more...

A Boy Named Jake

Photo of Joseph Shamash
5779
by Joseph Shamash
posted on November 20, 2018
Torah Reading
Haftarah Reading
Our tradition gives a great deal of significance to our names. By naming our children after those who came before us, we hope and pray that our kids inherit the positive attributes of our ancestors. On the other hand, if you are Johnny Cash, you name your boy Sue so he grows up mean and tough in order to fight his way through this difficult world. Read more...