Saturday, December 31, 2005

TODAY IN JUDAISM: Sunday, January 1, 2006


Tevet 1, 5766 * January 1, 2006


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

Today is: Sunday, Tevet 1, 5766
Chanukah Day 7 * Rosh Chodesh Tevet

Today's Laws & Customs

• Rosh Chodesh Observances

Today is the 2nd of the two Rosh Chodesh ("Head of the Month") days for the month of Tevet (when a month has 30 days, both the last day of the month and the first day of the following month serve as the following month's Rosh Chodesh).

The Yaaleh V'yavo prayer is added to the Amidah and to Grace After Meals, and the additional Musaf prayer is said. Because it is also Chanukah today, the "full" Hallel (Psalms 113-118) is recited (and not the "partial Hallel" said on the Rosh Chodesh days of other months).

Many have the custom to mark Rosh Chodesh with a festive meal and reduced work activity. The latter custom is prevalent amongst women, who have a special affinity with Rosh Chodesh -- the month being the feminine aspect of the Jewish Calendar [].

Links: The 29th Day []; The Lunar Files []

• Kindle Eight Chanukah Lights tonight

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. Tonight we kindle eight lights. (In the Jewish calendar, the day begins at nightfall; this evening, then, commences the 8th and last day of Chanukah).

The icon below displays the ideal Chanukah lighting time for your location; the lighting can be done, however, later in the evening as well. For more on Chanukah lighting times, click here []. (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

• Esther made Queen (362 BCE)

"And Esther was taken to King Achashverosh, to his palace, in the tenth month, which is the month of Tevet, in the seventh year of his reign. And the king loved Esther more than all the women, and she won his favor and kindness more than all the virgins; he placed the royal crown on her head and made her queen in Vashti's stead" (Book of Esther 2:16-17). This set the stage for the miracle of Purim [] six years later, on the 13th and 14th of Adar of the year 3504 from creation (356 BCE).

Link: Love in the Ice Age []

• 7th 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 []

Daily Quote

Darkness is not banished with a broom

- The sixth Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak Schneersohn (1880-1950)

Daily Study

Chitas and Rambam for today:

Chumash: Vayigash, 1st Portion Bereishit 44:18-44:30 with Rashi
• English Text:

Tehillim: Chapters 1 - 9
• Hebrew text:
• English text:

Tanya: Likutei Amarim, end of Chapter 5
• Lesson in Tanya:
• RealAudio:
• Windows Media:

• Sefer Hamitzvos:
• 1 Chapter: Mechirah Chap. 13
• 3 Chapters: Kil'ayim Chap. 6, 7, 8

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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