Which Came First: The Hametz or the Matzah?


Few topics are covered as thoroughly as the Passover story in Jewish educational programs of all types: formal and informal, synagogue and school, religious and secular. Much of the Torah is devoted to the story of the Exodus. Jewish families all over the world devote an entire evening to discussion of the background of the festival. The Passover Haggadah is the first Jewish curriculum, designed to pique the interest of all Jews – from the child who knows not how to ask to the wise and insightful Torah scholar. One would expect after all the attention paid to the Feast of Unleavened Bread in Jewish education that one question, at least, would be easily answered: This matzah that we eat – for what reason? Why on all other nights do we eat both leavened and unleavened bread, but on this night – and this entire week – unleavened bread only?

Hanukkah Exotica: On the Origin and Development of Some Hanukkah Customs*


Most of the laws of Hanukkah are related to the lighting of the menorah or hanukkiya [note]In the Diaspora, the Hanukkah lamp is called a menorah; in Israel it’s called a hannukiya. Technically speaking, the menorah is the seven branched candelabrum which was used in the Tabernacle and in the Temple in ancient times (Exodus 37:17-24; Numbers 8:1-4) and should not be used to describe a Hanukkah lamp.