Are your Yom Tovim meaningful events? Do you draw lessons from each of the Moadim? Are you aware of the symbolism behind the customs?
Undoubtedly, the Moadim mentioned throughout the Torah were given to Bnei Yisroel as an opportunity to draw closer to Hashem through their observances – to remember the seminal events in our history such as Yetzias Mitzrayim (the exodus from Egypt), Matan Torah (receiving the Torah on Har Sinai), and Sukkot (dwelling in the desert under Hashem’s protection). The Chachomim added more rituals and ceremonies and even added Yomim Tovim (Purim and Chanukah) for the important lessons that can be gleaned from their observances. Our holidays are replete with lessons and their breadth and depth is all-encompassing and all-embracing. There is so much for us to learn from.
Meaningful Moadim is a website that aims to highlight the beauty, symbolism and the life lessons inherent in the Moadim. The website features short vorts, discussions about the mitzvos, tefillos, and minhagim. New material is constantly being added. You will not necessarily find any chiddushim, but Meaningful Moadim serves as a forum for many ideas and concepts. Reader input is welcome via a comments box.
Here are some samplings from the Chanukah section:
“While both the Jews and the Greeks were highly intellectual, the Greeks viewed all reality through the lens of the physical world where compulsion rules. The Greeks and the Jews therefore had a totally divergent understanding of the function of the intellect as the definer of reality….This chasm is what caused the ‘darkening of the eyes of the Jewish people.’”
“HaRav Shlomo Zalmen Auerbach zt’l teaches that after ousting the Greek forces from the Beis HaMikdash, the Chashmonaim were able to be me’taher – to purify – everything except for the stones of the Mizbe’ach which the Greeks had ruined. The stones were stored in genizah and replaced with new ones. In order for us to remember what happened to the Mizbe’ach, the custom was to eat something which required an after-bracha of Me’Ein Shalosh, such as Al HaMichya, for this is the only bracha which specifically asks Hashem to have Rachamim “Al Mizbechecha”–on Your Mizbe’ach….”
Other than “Nes Gadol Hayah Sham” do the four letters on the dreidel stand for anything else?
Rebbi Pinchas MiKoritz writes that the ‘Nun Shin’ stand for “Neiros Shemoneh,” and the ‘Hey Gimmel’ stand for “Hallel Gamur” – two precious mitzvos of these days.
Here is an excerpt from the Purim Section appropriate for our leap year:
As we all know, “Mishenichnas Adar marbin b’simcha – when one enters into Adar, we increase our joy” (Taanis 29a). The Sefer, Adar U’Purim by HaRav Yoel Schwartz, as well as the Aishel Avrohom (Butshatsh) both learn that the joy commences with Adar I. HaRav Schwartz understands this from the term “mishenichnas” indicating that the initial entry into Adar warrants the increased degree of happiness.
He adds from the Sefer HaToda’ah (by HaRav Eliyahu Kitov, z’tl) that the mazal of Adar is “Dagim,” which is “fish” in the plural (as opposed to dag, in the singular), to indicate that the mazal of both months of Adar is identical, and that they are both to be infused with joy.”
It is hoped that Meaningful Moadim will add significance and fulfillment to these special days of the Jewish calendar.