Chanukah's Essence

It ain't just latkes.

Comments (15)

(15) Hinda Cohen, December 16, 2014 6:52 PM


Thanks it was a brilliant, very inspiring video.

(14) Melanie Cline, December 21, 2011 6:11 AM

Happy Channukah rabbi!

Thank you for such thoughtful insights. May you and your family have a blessed Channukah.

(13) Anonymous, December 3, 2010 3:05 PM


Several years ago I found out that my mom was/ is Jewish. Going back in the family history, I found other incrediable, Jewish women: beautiful women of integrity who reached out, changing the lives of others. Then, this year, the Torah: full of beauty, love and the grace of God came into my life. Studying, learning, I am touched deep with-in me, where an empty space: a space of hunger that had never been filled is now, daily, satisified. So who wants to be a Jew? Me.Torah is giving me a life to live and a blessing to die for.

(12) Anonymous, December 18, 2009 12:22 AM

Judiasm teaches us to live a thoughtful life.  It teaches us to search for meaning beyond the superficial  and transitory pleasures of life.  Chanukah is a great time to reconnect with our community and remember what has made our survival possible.   With each new day of Chanukah unfolding, we can  dedicate ourselves to beingpart of the ongoing story of the Jewish people.

(11) Paul, December 16, 2009 10:28 PM

Happy Chanukah

Happy Chanukah Rabbi & everyone !!! The Jewish psychologist is a unique phenomenon. Hopefully the world be hearing more from them. Paul

(10) Marilyn, December 16, 2009 8:46 PM

We're the people of the Covenant

Out of all the people in the world, Almighty God chose to make an everlasting covenant with our father, Abraham, that has been passed down, through Isaac, and Jacob, and his descendents to us this day. And further, it was the tribe of Judah which was chosen for the great honor of preserving the Holy Torah, often against great odds, and at great personal expense. In these troublous times, as the modern day Antiochus rises up against us on many fronts, may we remember the bravery and faith our forebears exhibited in the face of adversity, and honor them by doing the same.

(9) martin nerl, December 16, 2009 5:03 PM

right on the mark.

The rabbi is right on the mark. This blog reminds me of what the rabbi wrote on page 47 of something to think about. it fits perfectly with what was written there. have a happy hannaka rabbi.

(8) Tzipporah, December 16, 2009 8:10 AM

Torah teachers

I agree with what MOSHE wrote. That is a big part of the reason I see for why the Jewish people are unique. We have the Torah and do our best to live by it while other nations do not. The other part is that we have the responsibility to teach it to those other nations, not be content to just be the chosen people... we are meant to be a light to the nations. The Jewish people are a miracle to celebrate on Chanukah.

(7) fran, December 15, 2009 9:02 PM


that we are the chosen ones...look around you...we are held in the almighty s hand...He has us above all matther what ...and no matter where ,,,Barouj Hou

(6) J.L.G., December 15, 2009 6:35 PM

Make it personal

Growing up and going to religious school was one of the most harrowing and painstaking ordeals I've ever had to endure - many people share this view, and it has even been discussed on this very website in depth. In hebrew school at Chanukah they always said "This is why WE (the Jews) are different", giving very broad explanations of circumcision and Torah study, but one of the questions my teachers never challenged me to ask was: "Why me? -why am I different?" If we don't ask that question, it simply becomes an third person observer holiday, and not one imbued with personal meaning. Its pretty hard to really tap into that jewish value of personal growth if we don't ask ourselves the following questions; 1.) How is Judaism different from the culture we find ourselves in, and 2.) How do I relate to those specific customs, values, etc? How do I fit into that puzzle and further strengthen those values which DO in fact differentiate my religion from all others/all other cultures.

(5) Anonymous, December 15, 2009 5:43 PM

core message

I am not doing anything for Chanukah, such as lighting the menorah or celebrating with others. I just don't feel right for a few personal reasons. On the other hand, i am reading many of the different stories about Chanukah. I am in tune with the Maccabees, Yehudit, overt miracle of the military victory, the transcendent miracle of the olive oil, the survival of Judaism itself, the lesson to have faith despite all odds. These are not substitutes. i'll get back into it next year. The physical effort/customs of celebrating our holidays is not lost on me.

(4) ruth, December 15, 2009 4:15 PM

what rises to the top in being immiscible

I like to think everyone is unique, as snowflakes are unique, each one different, each one beautiful, but each, still a snowflake, part of the genus, snowflake. I am a Jew celebrating my heritage, which is beautiful, about Torah, about Moses, about these most beautiful holidays, about tikkun olam, and about a spirituality, a stream that goes deep, into the "heart" of love itself. There is so much beauty in this spirituality, and it so deeply connects to the same well that others, not Jews, do draw upon. For me there is something of JEW in the word Jewel itself, and I see that we are jewels of God, but there are many jewels in the panoply of jewels, and I think, the joy is knowing we are one, and that we shine, in our own unique and special ways. I also see that humility in calling ourselves "special" is something we need to think about. If I were not a Jew, I might be upset about the chosen aspects of this and I am saying, we need to celebrate our uniqueness always in a context of humility that is love for the universal candle that burns for us all.

(3) MOSHE, December 15, 2009 12:57 PM

Unique? Where should i start.

First and foremost we are unique in the relentless pursuit for the truth. The direct result is being connected to the truth which is the Almighty & his Torah. We are an eternal nation (against all odds), outliving all of our enemies & world powers. From the very beginning we were an educated & learned nation, with a system of charity to the poor, when it was strange & foreign to the world and definitely unpopular. We taught the world Equality and Justice, Love your neighbor etc. Last but not least, WE KNOW WHAT WE ARE LIVING FOR! PRICELESS!

(2) Roz Lipsitt, December 14, 2009 1:12 AM

How We're Unique

Judaism is more than just a religion. It is a way of life. It's teachings include the importance of self-development of character, encouraging positive interpersonal relationships. This teaching alone transforms one's personal family life and may extrapolate to relationships with peers and those outside of our culture, thus having the potential to change world circumstances. Judaism is concerned not only with one's relationship with the creator, but "ben adam l'chavero" with other human beings. How unique is that?!!

(1) Rina, December 13, 2009 9:21 AM

that we have so many holidays and special ocassions to celebrate- that our life is imbued with meaning!!


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