Chanukah
The Adams Street Shul

Congregation Agudas Achim Anshei Sfard

The recording below was made on December 22, 2011. 

While guests watch the light of the Chanukah candles, enjoy plates of hot latkes, and quaff l'chaims, Rabbi Yaffe discusses the integration of Greek worldly knowledge with the soul of Judaism at the time of the rededication of the Temple by the Maccabees.  He compares this process to parallels in later ages and in the present.  Drawing upon Shimshon Raphael Hirsch's works on Chanukah, the teachings of the Lubavitcher Rebbe, and others, Chanukah is revealed as perhaps the most practically important holiday of our calendar.

This 2011 Chanukah party continues with a game of Chanukah Jeopardy. The bulk of this evening-long party has been cut from this video, but every now and then a question triggers some exciting teaching, and these snippets have been retained. 

A question about playing dreidel sparks an explanation of the halachah of gambling, and this is connected to the Talmud's assessment of blame for the Flood, and to to Maimonides's assessment of Hellenic government's sins in Maccabean times. 

Other interesting jeopardy questions concern the source of a difference between weekday and holiday bentching; and a prohibited she-he-chi-ya-nu blessing that leads to a story about the Besht and Native Americans.

Lastly, a question about what to do when your resources don't permit more than one candle on Shabbat Chanukah leads to discoveries about Jewish values and priorities.