Category Archives: Sukkot

Breaking News: Karaites Help Sustain Rabbanite Yeshiva

A gift from friends. And an excellent read!

A gift from friends. And an excellent read!

Whenever heated Karaite-Rabbanite polemics pop up these days, my initial reaction is to roll my eyes and sigh,”It’s not the Middle Ages anymore.”

Although such diatribes were once commonplace – and A Blue Thread has discussed some of them – I really try not to get lost in the rhetoric of yesteryear.

In that regard, I love finding information that turns these historical notions of strife upside-down.

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Filed under Dr. Rustow, Jerusalem, Karaite Rabbanite Relations, Sukkot

Recent Lecture – Anan ben David: The Challenge of Karaism

Anan Ben David and History of KaraismOne of the founders of the Karaite Jewish University brought to my attention a recent videotaped lecture called Anan ben David: The Challenge of Karaism. Dr. Henry (Hillel) Abramson delivered the lecture, which is embedded below.

Overall, the presentation is very informative and I thank Dr. Abramson for including Karaite Judaism in this lecture series.

Dr. Abramson, while undoubtedly well-intentioned, makes a few statements with which most Karaites would disagree. So, as you are watching the video, I have a few comments I’d like you to keep in mind. (And no, I’m not going to nitpick every word. Rather, I again want to thank Dr. Abramson for giving his audience a taste of Karaite Judaism.)

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Filed under Academic Lectures, Dr. Hillel Abramson, Sukkot, What is Karaite Judaism

Hanukkah: A Festivus For Any Of Us? (II)

Attribution: DRosenbach at en.wikipedia

Attribution: DRosenbach at en.wikipedia

Just a short post today, wrapping up our Hanukkah blogging for the year. I thought it would be nice to show one more connection between Hanukkah, the dedication of the Temple and Sukkot.

When Solomon dedicated the altar of the First Temple, it appears he did so for the seven days leading up to Sukkot. (2 Chronicles 8-10.) Perhaps, this was the reason the Jews who defeated the Hellenists chose to celebrate Sukkot upon reclaiming the Temple. Those Jews might have dedicated the altar for eight days (instead of seven) because they blended Sukkot and Shemini Atzeret together to form one, continuous eight-day event.

During my undergraduate years at the University of California, San Diego, I once asked the rabbi at the university’s Hillel about the connection between Hanukkah and Sukkot. She explained that prior to the Maccabean Revolt, the Temple had been in possession of the Hellenists for some time and that the Jews were unable to celebrate many holidays in the Temple. She added that one explanation as to why the Jews celebrated Sukkot (as opposed to other holidays) relates to the significance of Sukkot, an agricultural holiday, to ancient Israel, an agricultural society.

As a final note on Hanukkah, check out the Tanach’s description of Solomon’s dedication of the altar and the reference to that dedication that appears in the Second Book of the Maccabees.

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Filed under Hanukkah, Sukkot