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


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