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This weekend, we will gather together with family or friends (or, if you’re on the RAC staff, with 215 high school students at L’Taken) around the Chanukah lights, spin the dreidel, eat latkes and sufganyot and engage in the great “applesauce or sour cream” debate.
The sages of the Talmud had a debate about how we are to light the Chanukah menorah: Should we begin with eight candles and remove one each night, or begin with one and add through the holiday?
The contemporary custom of wrapping presents gifts arose in conjunction with Christmas, but many aspects of gift-giving have distinctly Jewish roots, each of which has helped set the stage for the development of the ritual into what it is today.
This week’s Torah portion, B’haalot’cha, begins with the instructions for the lifting up of “the lamps,” haneirot, to illuminate the Tabernacle. The initial letter of the word, “lamp,” neir, is nun.