The crux of the challenge that classical Western culture presents us with does not lie in science itself. The problem is with the undeserved status that it has held since the wars of the Maccabees against the ancient Greeks. To this day, the rational mind continues to be Western culture’s unquestioned authority, and scientists have become the priests of a new religion. The result is scorn and disdain at any attempt to offer new and daring ways of thought that climb out of the box of rational thought to heights science cannot even dream of. For this reason, victory over the wisdom of Greece does not mean the end of science. On the contrary, it means placing science in its proper place as a tool of the intellect, which, when illuminated correctly can certainly be used to augment our understanding of creation and the Creator. This last idea foreshadows the unification of Torah with science, one of the critical elements in the redemptive process.
If we were to do a survey to find out which is the most favorite Jewish holiday, Chanukah would probably reach the top of the list. Children and adults alike enjoy basking in the special light that envelops us and warms the heart during this beloved festival. But from the perspective of Jewish law, Chanukah is actually the least festive of all festivals. In fact, it is not even clear that it should be referred to as a “festival” at all.
For the Baal Shem Tov, the founder of the Chassidic movement, Chanukah was his “favorite” holiday — for Chanukah is the holiday of light, a light that fills the soul and warms the heart. Click here to read the full article.
A very popular Jewish custom is to play dreidel on Chanukah. Adults together with children gather around the lights of the menorah, spinning to discover which letter falls on top. What is the deeper significance of this act, and what meaningful thoughts can we have in mind while playing dreidel this Chanukah? As we will see, by spinning the dreidel in front of the Chanukah lights, we are bridging the gap between the finite realm and the infinite.
We count the days of Chanukah by lighting one candle on the first day and progressing to eight candles on the eighth day. But, Beit Shamai’s opinion is that we should light them in descending order. What does the way we count the days of Chanukah come to teach us about living in the present?