Fascinating and Intriguing Insights on Chanukah, Its Miracles, and Its History
We know all about Chanukah, don’t we? Inside Chanukah will make you wonder. Crushing decrees, heretical turncoats, and the threat of spiritual annihilation. A tiny band of men willing to risk all, a single flask of pure oil, and eight days of illumination. We’re familiar with the miracles of Chanukah. But now it’s time to penetrate beneath the surface. In this meticulously researched book, the author of the popular Inside Purim, explores every aspect of Chanukah. The miracles, the mitzvos, the minhagim — he uses a dazzling array of sources to bring fresh insights into them all. A mosaic of Torah gems, each thought is concise and accessible, perfect for sharing with family and friends. Discover the messages of Chanukah — ideas that will illuminate your life long after the candles burn out.
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|Aryeh Pinchas Strickoff
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- as seen on http://stuartschnee.com/Wordpress/no-joke-this-looks-likes-a-must-have-book-for-chanukah/
No Joke. This looks likes a “must have” book for Chanukah.
No jokes. Inside Chanukah by Aryeh Pinchas Strickoff seems like a “must have” book for Chanukah. (Full disclosure…the publisher is a client but…..as I go through this book I am enjoying it more & more. We are beyond publicity here folks).
So if you want to say something interesting at the family Chanukah party (office party, whatever). Or just to know more about the holiday - this book is your answer.
It literally has everything on Chanukah. Did I say everything? At first I thought it was actually too much info. But I am realizing that what the author told me is true……one can peruse the book for a few minutes and come away with something valuable.
Why do we eat certain foods? There are three pages just on sufganiyot (donuts) and another two pages on latkes.
Why do we give money to kids on Chanukah? A nice explanation the author brings from the Belzer Rebbe is that by giving money to kids, we are making it easier to give money to the poor discreetly – since money is being handed out pretty widely, who knows who is actually poor?
A look at some original Roman or Jewish texts on Chanukah.
Intricate legal and philosophical discussions on which way the menorah ought to be lit.
And…if something doesn’t grab me…I skip it. There is so much else to read.
I saw this book in all the usual Judaica stores
- review of Inside Chanukah - The Atlanta Jewish TimesTomorrow night we Jews start our 8-day celebration of Chanukah, the Festival of Lights. In honor of the holiday, here's a review of a brand new book you may want to read/and or own. It's a great idea for a holiday gift too!
Everything You Wanted to Know About Chanukah, Even If You Didn’t Know You Wanted to Know
Whether you consider yourself a traditional Jew, a secular Jew, a cultural Jew or no
one of the above, there are three Jewish holidays you probably commemorate in some fashion—Passover, Yom Kippur, and Chanukah. On Passover, you don’t eat bread and you have a Seder—remembering G-d bringing our people out of Egypt and slavery. On Yom Kippur you go to synagogue and probably don’t eat—the day of fasting, praying, and repenting our sins.
On Chanukah you light a menorah and eat latkes—because of some story about a miracle of oil burning 8 days, beating the Greeks or Assyrians or somebody. Latkes? Who had potatoes in ancient Israel? Where’s the story in the Bible? What is it all about, really?
Most of us don’t know. So I’m recommending a new book, Inside Chanukah, by Aryeh Pinchas Strickoff. It’s not a brightly-colored picture book to read to your preschoolers. It’s not a cookbook with recipes for latkes of all shapes and flavors. And it’s not a Hebrew-only tome your limited Hebrew vocabulary would keep you from reading. Instead, it’s a very accessible volume with something for people at every level of education—descriptions of the history, practices and laws of the holiday, directions for lighting the Chanukah lights, when, where and how our laws tell us it should be done, prayers to accompany the lighting, even readings about Chanukah from ancient reporters like Josephus and rabbis through the ages.
There’s the story of Chanah and her seven sons, whose devotion to their religion is an example for all of us. There’s even a whole section showing how Chanukah is hinted at in the Torah…so much for our midwinter holiday being just an answer to the Christian holiday that usually falls at the same time!
You can learn about the dreidel, what it is, how we play, and how it developed—did you know that the dreidel is seen by some as a reflection of our history in the world? What a way to enhance your family’s celebration, to learn and share the things that make this not just about lighting candles and eating latkes (though they do taste wonderful—some Jews eat sufganiyot, or jelly donuts—it’s the use of oil in preparing fried foods that makes them a symbol of Chanukah).
Did you know, by the way, that you’re supposed to place your Hannukiah (the correct name for the menorah we light on Chanukah) in such a way that it can be seen from the street? In fact, in Israel, many people kindle a specially constructed Hannukiah outside, not placing it in a window. It’s lovely to walk the streets of Jerusalem and see the lights glowing on every street, reaffirming the devotion of our people to our traditions.
Give this book a try—learning is such a Jewish trait, a way to keep our traditions going another several thousand years! It’s a great idea for your family, or for friends if you’re invited to share a holiday evening with someone! Published by Feldheim publishers.
- As seen on http://www.thejewishstar.com/stories/The-Kosher-BookwormInside-Chanukah-A-complete-historical-presentation,3711?page=1&content_sourceBy Alan Jay Gerber
Rabbi Aryeh Pinchas Strickoff, author of the recently published work, “Inside Chanukah: Fascinating and Intriguing Insights on Chanukah, Its Miracles, and its History” [Feldheim 2012] perhaps said it best in his perceptive opening preface:
“Jewish holidays serve a much loftier purpose than simply marking special moments in time or commemorating historical events, though those functions are no doubt important. The fundamental goal of celebrating the Jewish holidays is the internalization of the specific messages each respectively imparts, to help us grow spiritually and ultimately draw closer to G-d. The holiday of Chanukah is no different. During the cold and dark days of the month of Kislev, Chanukah comes with its message of hope and lights to inspire every Jew to recognize the enormous potential within his soul.”
Within the contents of this large and comprehensive 700 page work can be found just about every major topic and teaching related to the Chanukah story. From ritual practice to history, the author brings to the lay reader a fully annotated work of pure scholarship that includes 700 fully annotated footnotes, textual sources that include historical texts and their background, Talmudic and Rabbinic texts, a Torah perspective on the holiday’s historical texts, and the historical context of the holiday.
Also to be found, are detailed descriptions of the laws and practices that give the holiday its unique flavor and image. All of this is presented with relevant historical background and geographic detail in plain and clear English, absent the technical jargon so common in other works. And there is much more.
One fascinating chapter is “section seven” wherein is found the answers to the following two pivotal questions:
1.“Why does Chanukah always coincide with the parashiyot that tell the story of Joseph [ Vayeshev, Mikeitz, and Vayigash] ?
2.“What is the underlying parallel between Chanukah and these three parashiyot, which, depending on the year, we read during Chanukah ?”Each one of these three Torah portions are given detailed analytical treatment, in a question and answer format, that serves to further expand the reader’s knowledge of the basic themes and teachings of this holiday. This chapter not only helps us to gain a better perspective of Chanukah’s importance, it also gives us a better and deeper appreciation of the whole story of Joseph in its theological, as well as historical, perspective, especially in light of the Chanukah episode.
Another unique feature that is presented in this work, is a detailed English commentary of the famed piyut of praise, “Maoz Tzur,”
which, in and of itself, serves as a history-based timeline of the Jewish people.
This most informative and learned commentary is based upon the interpretations found in Siddur Avodat Yisrael; Yalkut Ohr HaGanuz L’Yemei Chanukah; Rabbi Avraham Rosenwasser’s Sefer Pardes HaChanukah; and Rabbi Tzvi Cohen’s Chanukah: Halachot U’Minhagim.
Hopefully this commentary compilation of Maoz Tzur will eventually find its way into standard siddurim for the edification of all.
Note is made by the author of those whose scholarship was referenced in the compilation of this great work. Among those cited and acknowledged with grace are Rabbi Dr. Berel Wein of the Discovery Institute in Jerusalem, Dr. Shnayer Leiman of Brooklyn College, and the dean of American Jewish historians, Dr. Louis Feldman of Yeshiva University.
While otherwise not cited directly, the introductory essay, “Judaism vs. Hellenism,” seems to reflect collectively the work of these three outstanding scholars and surely deserves your attention. Further, as a tribute to Rabbi Strickoff’s meticulous scholarship, we find in his “Author’s Note” that follows this essay, a series of qualifications concerning some of the historical terms used in this work. One in particular deserves mention in its entirety, as a crucial lesson for us to learn when studying the history of Chanukah.
“Unless otherwise noted, references in this sefer to ‘Yavan’ [literally, Greece] generally refers to the Syrian-Greek kingdom ruled by Antiochus from his capital city Antioch in Syria that dominated the Land of Israel during the time of Chanukah.After the demise of Alexander the Great, his great Greek kingdom was divided amongst his three generals, creating three separate and independent Greek kingdoms in Asia Minor, Egypt, and Syria respectively. Thus, it is important to specify which kingdom one is referring to when using the term Yavan for the Greeks during that time period. Alternatively, as it may apply in the context, Yavan may also refer to Greek culture and society in general.”
This carefully crafted qualification makes this entire work a must read this coming Chanukah. The intellectual integrity that is at the foundation of this work, makes it one of the best Chanukah books ever authored in English for the Jewish layperson.
FOR FURTHER STUDY
Recognizing that the City of Jerusalem is at the geographic center of the Chanukah study, two very important works concerning Ir Yerushalayim deserve your attention. Both are authored by Ahron Horowitz, the director of the City of David Institute for Jerusalem Studies [Megalim].These two works, “City of David: The Story of Ancient Jerusalem” and “Discovering the City of David: A Journey to the Source,” gives you a front row view of what ancient Jerusalem was like, based upon the work of Megalim and the archaeological discoveries that they are involved in. Their project site, located near the Kotel, is a must visit for anyone seriously interested in the history of Jerusalem.
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