Three Hanukah Pieces

Lacking its own section of the Talmud or Biblical work I always struggled to find pieces to teach on Hanukah. So if you have found yourself in the same situation, here are three pieces spanning the range of Tanakh (Bible), Halakhah (law) and Machshava (Jewish thought/philosophy) that I have taught this year at NYU.

Tanakh –  Mizmor 30, Hanukah, and Yosef – on the connection between the piece from Tehillim (Psalms) traditionally read over Hanukah, the festival, and the stories of Yosef (this is the final installment of our In The Beginning… series on Bereishit). Audio here, source sheet here, write up here

Halakhah – Rav Soloveitchik identified Hallel as the primary motif of Hanukah. In this shiur we examine the Rambam’s treatment of Hanukah and Hallel, and the dispute between the Rambam and the Ramban over whether Hallel is de’oreita or derabanan in origin. Audio here, source sheet here

Machshava – Rav Yitzchak Hutner was one of the most significant Jewish thinkers of the 20th Century. Here we learn a classic piece of his on Hanukah from his work Pahad Yitzchak – in which Rav Hutner connects the period of Hanukah with the origin of mahloket (dispute) in Israel, and advances the intriguing thesis that sometimes ביטולה היא קיומה – the annulment of Torah can in fact lead to the greater glory of the Torah. Audio here

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