Six months ago, I wrote about Tu B’Av, a holiday which brings hope after the terrible events of Tisha B’Av. There is something about the Fifteenth day of the Jewish month which is related to redemption. The first day of Passover, the first day of Sukkos, Tu B’Shevat, and Shushan Purim all occur on the Fifteenth day of the month. 


In the old, old days, long before I became observant, I lived in the Upper East Side of Manhattan, a world of wealthy, assimilated Jews who fled the Torah as if it were poison. From nursery all the way through twelfth grade, I attended what was considered an “elite” private school. Our class, numbering about one hundred, was composed almost exclusively of assimilated Jews, with a smattering of others as a result of the school’s liberal philosophy. Feelings of guilt as a result of our comfortable lifestyle made it almost mandatory to include a few non-Jews.  


Recently, in the barber shop, a boy was waiting for the next appointment. He wore a hockey uniform and sat hunched over his phone. He looked at no one. He said nothing. When his turn came, he wordlessly walked to the barber’s chair. No “good morning.” No smile or interaction. He looked into space. No word came from his mouth or light from his eyes.  


Joseph is in prison and Pharaoh dreams. Suddenly Joseph is king of Egypt. “Yeshuas Hashem k’heref ayin … the salvation of G-d comes in the blink of an eye!” This is high drama.

Our contemporary world also reflects high drama, as powerful battles play out on many stages. Hidden behind all these conflicts, the great salvation is being prepared in Heaven, as the Messiah prepares to arrive “k’heref ayin,” with blinding suddenness.  


My wife and I got married twice. The first time, before we were observant, a very liberal “rabbi” handed us a “kesuba” (marriage contract) which read “ani l’dodi v’dodi li … I am my Beloved’s and my Beloved is mine” (Song of Songs 6:3).  


In a certain study hall in Jerusalem, there was a Rabbi who would continually pace up and down between the lecterns, carrying on an intense conversation in learning … with himself! This was a delightful and sometimes amusing spectacle. As he paced, however, he was also aware of his surroundings. One day, I was explaining to my study partner my personal criterion for a good leader of the prayers, namely that he should make me cry. 


Chanukah is the quintessential holiday of exile.

The neiros (Chanukah lights) illuminate the darkest season of the year. This is the only holiday that begins during the period of the waning moon. The days of Chanukah actually become darker and darker ... until the very end, because Chanukah ends just when the sliver of the New Moon is becoming visible in the night sky. 



Recent Posts


Egypt Ashkenazi Western Wall exile Tefillin Tzuk etan enemies India Children of Israel Temple Mount Garden of Eden Benjamin Israel repent Temple Jacob blessing rain Babylon sacrifices Exodus messiah Talmud survival Raiders of the Lost Ark Malbim Zechariah prayers purity Ishamael mitzva prophets Rachel Jew Jeremiah bible Father in Heaven Nation of Israel Jewish festival King David Jewish patriarchs'matriarchs repentance spies Divine presence Sephardi Pinchas Sefiras haOmer creation Eglon bird miracle Amram Tu b'Shvat New Moon Tallis Boaz Psalm Judaism soul Torah Adam alone slaves High Holy Days death Chofetz Chaim biblical Aharon Isaiah idol flood Pharaoh chessed Master of the Universe Gog Moses Lunar eclipse liberation hubris Ishmael Mount Hermon cries eternal sin evil Holocaust bris milah mitzvos Noah Shushan Creator Joseph tablets 2020 Vision Bais Hamikdosh darkness Repentence Macabees shofar angels violence Ezekiel King of the Universe Angel of Death plague Blame Leah Maccabeans Red Heifer stars Rebbe High Priest murder Banias Second Temple incense Psalms Passover Seder sun terror Purim Shabbos Torah scholars rabbi Geula paradise media G-d Mount Zion Hagar salvation gossip Matisyahu Chafetz Chaim war Holy Ark pray Holy land Achashveirosh Yom Kippur brotherhood Sukkah three weeks siddur Eve Rashi Magog Ruth Rebecca End of Days spirituality Jewish holidays tremors David King Solomon shmittah Balak Solomon Holy Temple fragrance peace tabernacle heaven ancestors Sabbath Sea of Galilee Baku heavenly gates dreams kesuba Hebrew Rosh Hashana Zohar Passover angel barley Sukkos patriarchs persecution spiritual Chanukkah Chol haMoed Lot minyan Red Sea prophet chaos evolution Sages commandment Elul Protective edge Shavuos Genesis automobiles Ten Commandments Golden Calf Tu b'Av redeemer menorah prayer matzos God Song of Songs night water terrorist lights heavenly throne kiddush Shechina Yaakov miracles Moshe Edom Zion secret Tisha b'Av danger Hashem Bilaam yarmulke Europe Esther Galil Torah portion compassion Moshaich leprosy pain eternity America Canaan world to come Solar eclipse kosher Day of Judgement Western World Rabbis cholent evil inclination Zion, Angel moon Abrahem prayer book Faith Samuel Rabbi Akiva prophet Samuel stones judgement Greeks kinneret sanctity Mordechai meraglim yeshiva Maimonides shield of Abraham esrog missiles Amalek idolatry Jewish People Teshuva Rome priests seder Midrash slavery Samuel the Prophet trees rosh chodesh Golan Land of Israel Terror Attack in Jerusalem Miriam Holiness logic tears Dead Sea Laban holy Haman Day of Atonement Final redemption redemption Babylonia Sarah Abraham holiday fear Jews Ishmeal Ammon Chanukah deluge Sodom forefathers Jerusalem Heavenly Mercy Moab synagogue Matriarchs Isaac locusts self-worship Mount Sinai keys Moshiach fires Esau culture Judgement Day earthquake terrorism Hasmoneans Judah fault Rosh Hashanah mikveh resurrection Golus mikveh, Sabbath Miraglim Yerushalayim song Prophecy light ethics king Beit Hamikdash Avraham Parsha terrorists United Nations Earth materialism