Thursday, December 29, 2005

TODAY IN JUDAISM: Friday, December 30, 2005


Kislev 29, 5766 * December 30, 2005


* Laws * Customs * Jewish History * Daily Quote * Daily Study *

Today is: Friday, Kislev 29, 5766
Chanukah Day 5

Today's Laws & Customs

• Kindle Six Chanukah Lights before sunset

In commemorartion of the miracle of Chanukah (see "Today in Jewish History []" for Kislev 25) we kindle the Chanukah lights -- oli lamps or candles -- each evening of the eight-day festival, increasing the number of lights each evening. For tonight, we kindle six lights. (In the Jewish calendar, the day begins at nightfall; this evening, then, commences the 6th day of Chanukah).

IMPORTANT: Because of the prohibition to kindle fire on Shabbat, the Chanukah lights must be lit before lighting the Shabbat candles, and should contain enough oil (or the candle be big enough) to burn until 30 minutes after nightfall. Candle lighting time for your location is displayed below. (If no time is displayed, click on icon to set your location.)

For more a more detailed guide to Chanukah lighting click here []. For text and audio of the blessings recited before lighting, click here [].

Additional Chanukah observances and customs are listed below:

• Hallel & Al HaNissim

Special prayers of thanksgiving -- Hallel (in its full version) and Al HaNissim -- are added to the daily prayers and Grace After Meals on all eight days of Chanukah. Tachnun (confession of sins) and similar prayers are omitted for the duration of trhe festival.

• Latkes, Sufganiot & Dairy Foods

On Chanukah we eat foods fried in oil -- such as latkes (potato cakes) and sufganiot (doughnuts) -- in commemoration of the miracle of the oil.

It is also customary to eat dairy foods in commemoration of the Judith's heroic deed [].

• Dreidel

It is customary to play dreidel -- a game played with a spinning top inscribed with the Hebrew letters Nun, Gimmel, Hei and Shin, which spell the phrase Nes Gadol Hayah Sham, "a great miracle happened there." (It is said that when the Greeks forbade the study of Torah, Jewish children continued the study with their teachers in caves and cellars; when the agents of the king were seen approaching, the children would hide their scrolls and start to play with spinning tops...)

• Chanukah Gelt

It is an age-old custom to disribute gifts of Chanukah gelt ("Chanukah money []") to children on Chanukah. (It was the custom of the rebbes of Chabad-Lubavitch to give Chanukah gelt to their children and other family members on the fourth or fifth night of Chanukah; more recently, however, the Lubavitcher Rebbe encouraged the giving of Chanukah gelt every day of the festival -- except for Shabbat, when handling money is forbidden.)

Today in Jewish History

• 5th Day of Chanukah Miracle (139 BCE)

On the 25th of Kislev in the year 3622 from creation, the Maccabees liberated the Holy Temple in Jerusalem, after defeating the vastly more numerous and powerful armies of the Syrian-Greek king Antiochus IV, who had tried to forcefully uproot the beliefs and practices of Judaism from the people of Israel. The victorious Jews repaired, cleansed and rededicated the Temple to the service of G-d. But all the Temple's oil had been defiled by the pagan invaders; when the Jews sought to light the Temple's menorah (candelabra), they found only one small cruse of ritually pure olive oil. Miraculously, the one-day supply burned for eight days, until new, pure oil could be obtained. In commemoration, the Sages instituted the 8-day festival of Chanukah, on which lights are kindled nightly to recall and publicize the miracle.

Link: The Story of Chanukah []

• 2nd liberation of R. Schneur Zalman of Liadi (1800)

Two years after his arrest and liberation in 1798 (see entries for "Kislev 19 []" and here []), Rabbi Schneur Zalman of Liadi (founder of Chabad, 1745-1812) was arrested a second time; again, the charges were that his teachings undermined the imperial authority of the Czar. His second incarceration was less severe than the first; yet Chassidim mark the anniversary of his release on the fifth day of Chanukah with farbrengens (Chassidic gatherings) and the study of his teachings.

Daily Quote

And I have seen that there is an advantage in wisdom over folly, as the advantage in light over darkness

- Ecclesiastes 2:13

Daily Study

Chitas and Rambam for today:

Chumash: Mikeitz, 6th Portion Bereishit 43:16-43:29 with Rashi
• English Text:

Tehillim: Chapters 140 - 144
• Hebrew text:
• English text:

Tanya: Likutei Amarim, end of Chapter 4
• Lesson in Tanya:
• RealAudio:
• Windows Media:

• Sefer Hamitzvos:
• 1 Chapter: Mechirah Chap. 11
• 3 Chapters: Arachin vaChamarim Chap. 8, Kil'ayim Chap. 1, 2

Hayom Yom:
• English Text:


Chanukah is here!

Our extensive Chanukah website has how-to’s, stories, lessons, games and even recipes! It's sure to make your holiday more meaningful and insightful! All this at:

Tip: Join a public menorah lighting or Chanukah event in your area too!

Send Chanukah Greeting Cards to friends and family:

New! Featured Chanukah Videos:

SEASONS: A Chanukah Thought:
MIRACLES: A Chanukah Film:
MIRACLE LIGHTS: An Animated Production:

Wishing you and your family a Happy Chanukah!


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