Hanukkah 5779/2018

This year the first day of the Festival of Lights falls on the same day as the first day of Advent. This morning the first candle of Adventide was lit and this evening in other households the first candle of Hanukkah will be lit.

Hanukah-2018

Before it is lit the three blessings will be said and then the commemoration of the miracle of the oil will begin.

First Blessing:

Ba-ruch A-tah Ado-nai E-lo-he-nu Me-lech ha-olam a-sher ki-de-sha-nu be-mitz-vo-tav ve-tzi-va-nu le-had-lik ner Cha-nu-kah.
Blessed are You, Lord our G‑d, King of the universe, who has sanctified us with His commandments, and commanded us to kindle the Chanukah light.

Second Blessing:

Ba-ruch A-tah Ado-nai E-lo-he-nu Me-lech Ha-olam she-a-sa ni-sim la-avo-te-nu ba-ya-mim ha-hem bi-zman ha-zeh.
Blessed are You, Lord our G‑d, King of the universe, who performed miracles for our forefathers in those days, at this time.

Third Blessing:

Ba-ruch A-tah Ado-nai E-lo-he-nu Me-lech Ha-olam she-heche-ya-nu ve-ki-yi-ma-nu ve-higi-a-nu liz-man ha-zeh.
Blessed are You, Lord our G‑d, King of the universe, who has granted us life, sustained us, and enabled us to reach this occasion.

And to all my friends and to those who are like family who have reached this occasion I wish you “Chag Urim Sameach!

On this day in 1763: Dedication of the Touro Synagogue, in Newport, Rhode Island, the first synagogue in what will become the United States.

 

L’shanah Tovah

To my friends and those I think of as family who begin the New Year at sunset I wish that the blessings of the New Year be as numerous as the seeds of the pomegranate.

7RoshHashanah-compressed

And as in years past to all my family, friends, and loved ones regardless of faith or practice I extend the traditional Sephardic greeting:

Tizku Leshanim Rabbot
May you merit many years

To which the answer is:

Ne’imot VeTovot
Pleasant and good ones

On this day in 1939: World War II: The Battle of Hel begins, the longest-defended pocket of Polish Army resistance during the German invasion of Poland.

Chag Pesach Samech

For my friends and those who are like family that celebrate tonight:

As you prepare your house and your table for the first seder of this Passover, as you open your Haggadah and ask the first question,  I wish all my friends and those who are like family who obey the commandment to tell of the miracles and wonders:

 Have a sweet Passover / zisn Pesach / חג פסח שמח

passover-table
A left click will take you an explanation of the Passover seder symbolic foods.

A left click on the various highlight/linked words and phrases will take you to an explanation of the observances of this major Festival of Liberation.

On this day in 1856: The Treaty of Paris is signed, ending the Crimean War.

Shanah Tovah Umetukah

שנה טובה ומתוקה‎‎

My wish for all my friends who celebrate the beginning of a new year:

A Good and a Sweet Year!

rosh-hashana

And to all my family, friends, and loved ones regardless of faith or practice I extend the traditional Sephardic greeting:

Tizku Leshanim Rabbot
May you merit many years

To which the answer is:

Ne’imot VeTovot
Pleasant and good ones

On this day in 1870: Bersaglieri corps enter Rome through the Porta Pia and complete the unification of Italy, ending de facto the temporal power of popes.

To Tell of the Miracles and Wonders

Chag sameach

It is a commandment of the Torah to tell of the miracles and wonders which happened to our forefathers in Egypt on the Fifteenth of Nissan as it is said:
Remember that day when you went out from Egypt

Rambam, Laws of Hametz and Matza, Chapter 7

This evening at sundown in households of friends and many I consider family that commandment will be obeyed. The house will have been prepared, the Passover table will be set, the Matzot and Seder Plate will be placed before the Leader of the Seder, who will open their Haggadah and begin the first blessing.

Two years ago I wrote about the incredible wealth of Haggadot that have been created over the centuries to guide observers through the rituals and ceremonies of the holy days. One of the most famous is the 13th century Birds’Head Haggadah created in Southern German by a scribe known as Menaham. It is the first illustrated Haggadah known to be produced as a separate manuscript from the prayer book. The strange practice of replacing human heads by those of animals and birds can be found in Ashkenazi manuscripts of the 13th and 14th century. It is widely believed that this was to honour the admonition against portraying human figures. At least one scholar has argued that the figures are meant to present the Jewish people by the mythological griffin – a symbol of strength, strong will, and majesty.

Though ownership is currently being disputed the manuscript has been in the collection at the Israel Museum for over 70 years and is often displayed during Passover. The Museum has produced a pop-up Haggadah for children – and adults – using illustrations and scenes from this remarkable document.

The Preparation

The Story

(Click to begin the slideshow)

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The Deliverance

(A short homemade video)

The Passover Seder

Wishing you all the joys of the Passover holiday!
To you and those you hold dear!
May you be blessed with
Happiness, prosperity and peace
And good health at this Passover and always!

Chag Pesach Sameach – Gut Yomtov –   חַג שָׂמֵחַ

On this day in 837: Halley’s Comet makes its closest approach to Earth at a distance equal to 0.0342 AU (5.1 million kilometres/3.2 million miles).