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12/03/2021 01:56:12 PM


The Talmud in Tractate Shabbat asks: mai hanukkah, “what is Hanukkah?”

My daughter forwarded to me, from the internet, a picture which gives us a modern answer to that question:

The picture shows a pile of books:

On the bottom: “Ancient Egypt.” On top of that: “The Philistines.”

Over that: “The Assyrians.” Over that: “The Babylonians.” Over that: “The Persian Empire.” And over that: “Introduction to Greek Philosophy.” Over that: “The Great Roman Empire.” Over that: “The Final Solution.”

And on top of the whole pile, A Hanukkah menorah, burning brightly.

As it says in the Passover hagadah:  bekhol dor va-dor…“in every generation they try to destroy us, but the Holy One Blessed Be He saves us from their hands.”

Today, I witnessed an illustration of what Hanukah is all about.  I attended the unveiling of a monument for two members of Chevra Shaas:  Mr. and Mrs.  Shlomo and Rivkah David. In their youth, they experienced intolerable cruelty during the holocaust, in the concentration camp. [Every year, Shlomo would submit a lengthy list of relatives killed by the Nazis, ym”sh.] Yet after the war, they rebuilt their lives with a strong commitment to yiddishkeit, to the Torah, and the shul. Back in the old building on Bourret, after the shul had to let the janitor go, Shlomo would arrive early and shovel the snow! He would come regularly to services, chugging along in his ancient Oldsmobile, which could probably be heard for blocks! And Rivkah would often arrive at the hospital with food she had prepared for the patients.

Shlomo and Rivkah exemplified the story of Hanukkah. May their memories be for a blessing!


By the way, I should point out that many years ago, two very good friends of my wife and me, Yehudah and Sara Wurtzel, produced an animation video called Lights. It describes how the theme of Hanukkah is the attempt of the Hellenists to extinguish the Light of the Torah, and the successful struggle of the Maccabees to keep that flame burning, which it does to this day. It is worthwhile to see this video on YouTube.

Shabbat shalom and Hanukkah sameah.

Sat, June 25 2022 26 Sivan 5782