When the Jewish people celebrate Hanukkah each winter, what are we celebrating? The story of the holiday is the tale of rededicating the Temple in Jerusalem after it had been occupied and defiled by the Seleucid Greeks, who—with the aid of Hellenizing Jews—were not content only to have conquered the land, but also demanded that the Jews living there relinquish their religious way of life.

And with that tradition so close to being snuffed out, monotheism itself was nearly snuffed out. The stakes were great, and each and every believing Muslim, Christian, and Jew who walks the earth today owes some measure of debt to the small remnant of a small people who resisted the mightiest military empire on earth.

In this podcast, Jonathan Silve is joined by Tikvah’s Rabbi Mark Gottlieb to explore the deepest theological meaning of Hanukkah. Their conversation centers on an essay by 20th-century Modern Orthodoxy’s leading thinker, Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik. The essay, “The Everlasting Hanukkah,” can be found in a volume of Rabbi Soloveitchik’s writings entitled Days of Deliverance.

Musical selections in this podcast are drawn from the Quintet for Clarinet and Strings, op. 31a, composed by Paul Ben-Haim and performed by the ARC Ensemble.

 

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