What is The Feast of Dedication?

“At the time of the Feast of Dedication took place at Jerusalem.
It was winter, and Jesus was walking in the temple, in the colonnade of Solomon.”
John 10:22

The Feast of Dedication (a.k.a Chanukah or The Festival of Lights) is more than the story of the miracle of the menorah remaining lit for eight days on one day worth of oil, dreidels, latkes, donuts or gifts. The greater narrative of Hanukkah is prophecy fulfilled, a call for spiritual revival, and our Messianic hope in Yeshua.


Historicity has spoken of Chanukah in great detail in works like Josephus, Septuagint, War of the Jews, History of the Jews, the Talmud, Midrash, and many more. The events of Chanukah occur in the time period between the Old and New Testaments. The story of Chanukah can be found in the books of the Maccabees located in the Catholic Bible, as well as the Aprocrypha. Chanukah is also referenced in the New Testament (John 10:22).

Chanukah commemorates a true event in history that was prophesized by the Prophet Daniel, and fulfilled in a military and moral victory brought forth through G-d’s provision to ensure the birth our L-rd and Savior, Yeshua HaMashiach.

Chanukah Means
The Hebrew word Chanukah means “dedication” and marks an eight day winter celebration that commemorates the rededication of the Second Temple after a small group of Jewish believers, led by Judah Maccabee, defeated the Greek forces and freed the Jews from forced Hellenistic assimilation. Chanukah represents the victory of faith over reason and humanism and demonstrates mightily the power of G-d through His chosen people. Therefore, you could say that Chanukah truly means dedicated against assimilation.

Daniel’s Prophesy of Chanukah
Chanukah was foretold many centuries before the events surrounding it transpired by the Prophet Daniel. While in Babylon, Daniel described in detail the emergence of Antiochus IV, his campaign to convert the Jews, his desecration of the Temple, and the heroic revolt that overthrew his regime. This prophecy was written about three centuries before Alexander the Great was born. No one but G-d, could have inspired Daniel to document that Alexander would conquer the Middle East and that his empire would be divided into four kingdoms after his death. (Daniel 8:21-22). He also foretold that Antiochus would ascend to power and oppress the Jews. (Daniel 8:23-24). He also described the way in which Antiochus would desecrate the Temple, prohibit Jewish worship, and place idols in the Temple. (Daniel 11:30-31). Finally, Daniel foretold that many Jews would be deceived and practice a Greek perversion of Judaism. (Daniel 11:32).

The Story of Chanukah
In 333 BCE, Alexander the Great conquered Syria, Egypt and Babylonia and promoted a lenient form of Hellenistic culture, encouraging the study of language, customs, and dress of the Greeks. He wanted a statute in His honor erected in the Temple, but since this was against Torah, the High Priest at the time offered a living tribute by requiring the people to name all their firstborn sons after him. This compromise would ultimately threaten the very existence of Judaism. It brought forth a division and selection among the Jewish people those who embraced Hellenistic ideals (Hellenistic Jews) and those who held to G-d’s Word, teachings, and mitzvot (commands).

A century later, the Syrian king Antiochus IV began to openly persecute Jews. He appointed a Hellenistic “High Priest” to the Temple, prohibited the study of Torah, and observation of G-d’s commands (e.g., Shabbat, dietary laws, circumcision, Feasts, etc.). He order pigs to be sacrificed on the holy altar and erected an image of the Greek god Zeus as a new point of worship in the Temple. He insisted on being called “epiphanies” which means “god manifest”. All the altars, utensils, and the golden menorah (lampstand) were defiled or torn down.

These outrages incited rebellion and by 165 BCE the Hasmoean family of Mattathias the High Priest and his youngest son Judah “Maccabee” (the “Hammer”) organized an army using guerrilla warfare that eventually succeeded in evicting the Syrian-Greeks from Israel. The temple was liberated but needed to be rededicated for Jewish worship. They cleaned the temple, removed the altar of sacrifice stone by stone and buried it in the nearby hills, and erected a new alter. It is at this time that the miracle of the oil happened. There was very little oil left that had not been defiled. Oil was needed for the menorah to burn continually in the Temple, but there was only enough to last for one day. Miraculously, the sanctified oil burned for eight days – the time needed to prepare a fresh supply for the menorah. An eight day festival was declared to commemorate the miracle and the liberation of the temple. The festival is the same length as Sukkot, and it is believed that this was chosen because since they did not have a chance to celebrate the Feast during their warfare with the Syrians.

The story of Chanukah includes men and women of faith you were ready and had to courage to take a stand for the true living G-d and the commands that He had given in His Word. These men and women refused  to bow down to false gods and assimilate into another culture because they held tight to the teachings of G-d.  Mattityahu (Mattathias), Juduah Macabee, Yehduit (Judith), Chanah (Hannah) and her seven sons, are written about in the Books of the Macabees and Judith, which are found in the Catholic Bible or the Aprorypha. 

The events of Chanukah happened only four generations prior to the birth of our Messiah, if the great warriors of faith had not risen up in opposition and had the courage to fight, and sacrifice their lives to worship G-d according to His commands, the Jewish nation would have become extinct and the Messiah would never have been born.

Chanukah’s theme is about remaining steadfast in our faith, committed to G-d in a godless and broken world, and our deliverance. Since we are called to be part of His Temple, His Body, at this time we reflect on rededicating ourselves to the eradication of all that compromises us and tempts us to assimilate to the world around us. Through the light of Jesus Christ we have gained victory over the power of darkness. We are called to walk in His light. We have fellowship, unity, echudt, with one another.

Traditions:  There are a number of traditions involved in celebrating Chanukah and they include:

  • Lighting the Chanukiah
  • Family Time and Reading Scripture
  • Playing Dreidel 
  • Special Foods (Latkes, Donuts)
  • Giving Tzedakah (Charity)

Pulling It Altogether  Chanukah is a celebration of deliverance. It is a time to express our Messianic hope. Just as the Maccabees were used by G-d to redeem Israel, we more fully appreciate the scene that unfolded as Jesus celebrated the feast in Jerusalem. Amidst the activities of the celebration, He was approached by some rabbis and asked a simple question, “How much longer are you going to keep us in suspense? If you are the Messiah, tell us publicly.” (John 10:24). The answer to this question is the message of Chanukah. He reiterates his claim and the proofs of His Messiahship. (John 10:25-39). 

This shows the real connection between Chanukah and Jesus. Chanukah recalls a military victory for Israel, and the implications are vast.  If Antiochus had succeeded in his campaign of anti-Semitism and destruction, there would have been no Jews around by the time of Jesus.  The miracle of Jesus’ birth could only take place after the miracle of Chanukah. All believers in Jesus have important reasons to celebrate the Feast of Dedication. Messiah, our deliverer, has come. Let us clean and prepare our temples for His return.


The spake Jesus again unto them saying, I am the light of the world:  he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.” John 8:12

Chag Chanukah Sameach!  Happy Chanukah!



Parashah Shof’tim (Judges)

Please join our family in this week’s Parashah reading Shof’tim, which means Judges.  This entire portion is about the law, justice, and duty.


Scripture Readings:

  • Torah: Deuteronomy 16:18-21:9
  • Prophets:  Isaiah 51:12-52:12
  • B’rit Chadashah (New Covenant)
    • Bestort HaGe’ulah (Gospels):  Matthew 26:47-27.10 and John 1:19-27
    • Iggerot (Letters): 1 Corinthians 5:9-13

Parashah in a Nutshell:  The name of this week’s Parshah, Shoftim, means judges.  The entire Parashah has to do with justice.  It begins with Moses telling the people to appoint judges.  The Parashah identifies forbidden forms of worship, legal decisions given by priests and judges, laws concerning Israel’s King, provisions for the priests and the Levities, abominable practices,  a new prophet like Moses, laws concerning cities of refuge, property boundaries, laws concerning witnesses and welfare, and atonement for unsolved murders.

The Bestort HaGe’ulah reading begins with the betrayal and arrest of Yeshua and his arraignment before Caiaphas and the Council.  It also includes the testimony of John the Baptist. The Iggerot reading concerns the need for members of the Body of Messiah to keep each other responsible and to expel evildoers from among the Body of Messiah.  Essentially, restating various sections within the Torah portion of this week’s reading.

It’s interesting that the law requires the king to write a copy of the Torah, keep it with him and read it all the days of his life in order to fear the L-rd.  This points to Yeshua who was the Word made flesh, and who writes the Torah upon our hearts. The Torah reading also mentions the raising a new prophet, which ties into the testimony of John the Baptist, who was the forerunner for Yeshua.

This week’s Parashah also begins the period of Elul

Study Helps, Children’s Activities, and Projects

  1. Audio of Torah Readings with Summary and Commentaries
  2. Shof’tim: What the Torah Says About Justice Video
  3. Adult Study Outline
  4. Children’s Study Outline
  5. Children’s Video About Shof’tim

Parashah Eikev

Please join our family as study this week’s Torah Parashah is Eikev, which means Consequences or Because.  The themes of this Parashah eiare redemption, rebellion, repentance, and restoration.

Scripture Readings:

  1. Torah:  Deuteronomy 7:12-11:25
  2. Prophets: Isaiah 54:11-55:5
  3. B’rit Chadashah (New Covenant): Besort HaGe’ulah (Gospels) – John 13:31-15:27 & Iggerot (Letters) – Romans 8:31-39

Parashah in a Nutshell:

In this week’s Parashah, Moses continues his closing remarks to the children of Israel. He reminds them that G-d redeemed them from Egypt and that if they keep G-d’s commands in he Torah, they will prosper in the land promised to their forefathers (Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob).  Moses recalls the failings of the first generation who were rebellious — their worship of the Golden Calf, the rebellion of Korach, the sin of the spies, angering of G‑d at Taveirah, Massah and Kivrot Hataavah.  He also speaks about their repentance and forgiveness that G-d has shown them through the Second Tablets that G-d made for them to restore His children to Him.  He calls their attention to the fact that for the forty years in the wilderness that G-d sustained them and it was to teach them that they need to rely solely upon G-d.  Moses describes the land they are about to enter and how it is blessed with the “seven kinds”.  He commands them to destroy the idols/gods of the current inhabitants, and to beware not to become prideful and remember who provided the land to them. In other words, to circumcise their hearts.

The Besort HaGe’ulah (Gospel) reading reveals that Yeshua (Jesus) is the way, the truth, and life. Yeshua promises to send the Ruach HaKodesh (the Holy Spirit). Yeshua teaches that He is the true vine and G-d is the vinedresser. Therefore, whoever abides in Him will bear much fruit. He reminds us that we must keep G-d commands and love one another. He warns of the hatred of the world and we are not of the world.  The Iggerot (Letters) reading Paul describes G-d’s everlasting love for us. So much is his love that he did not spare His Son’s life. We have everlasting life in His resurrection. He intercedes on our behalf before G-d. Nothing can separate us from the love of G-d in Yeshua. HalleluYah!

Study Helps & Projects:

  1. For Children: Torah Explorers
  2. Adult Study Outline
  3. Audio of Parashah Readings
  4. Video for Torah Portion
  5. Video for Children on the Torah Portion
  6. Make a mezuzah
  7. Children’s Lessons from YMTOI
  8. Coloring Page from Challah Crumb

Blessings from our family  to yours,



SY 2017/2018: Fine Arts First Semester (Music)

The First Semester of Fine Arts for the SY 2017/2018 consists of an 18 week composer study of Antonin Dvorak. The Second Semester of Fine Arts (Art) is also an 18 week study and thus together make a year’s study of Fine Arts.  (Printer Friendly Version_Music)


Antonin Dvorak (September 1841 – May 1904) was a Czech composer.  He was the second Czech composer to achieve worldwide recognition. He frequently employed  rhythms of the folk music of Moravia and his native Bohemia.  His style is described as having “the fullest recreation of a national idiom with that of the symphonic tradition, absorbing folk influences and finding effective ways of using them’’.

His father, who was a butcher and inn keeper by trade,  played the zither for fun and eventually played it professionally.  He was the oldest of eight children, and at an early age his musical gifts were noticed.  He became a violin student at the age of six.

The first public performances of his works were in Prague in 1872 – 1873 when he was only 31 years of age. In order to develop recognition beyond the Prague area, he submitted a score of his First Symphony to a prize competition in Germany.  Although he did not win, and the manuscript, which was not returned, remained lost until it was rediscovered several decades later.  In 1874 he first made a submission for the Austrian State Prize for Composition, including scores of two new symphonies and some other works. Johannes Brahms was the leading member of the jury and was highly impressed with Dvorak. He won the award in 1874, 1876, and 1877.

Brahms recommended Dvorak to his publisher.  Soon afterward, Dvorak was commissioned and wrote what became the Slavonic Dances, Op. 46. These were highly praised and his international reputation at last was launched.  Dvorak earned many honors, awards, and honorary doctorate degrees. In 1892, Dvorak moved to America to work as the artistic director of the National Conservatory of Music in New York for $15,000 (nearly 25 times what he was earning in Prague). His first performance was given at Carnegie Hall.  Dvorak’s New World Symphony was written in America. However, he left the United States in 1895 due to shortfalls in payment of his salary and homesickness to return to Bohemia.

In March of 1904 he became bedridden due to illness, most likely influenza.  After battling the illness for five weeks, he dead on May 1, 1904, at the age of 62.  His ashes are ashes were entombed  in the Vysehrad Cemetery in Prague.


How We Do A Composer Study:  My children are introduced to the composer during our Fine Arts class on Friday.  I will give my children a brief synopsis of their life (above). We will then discuss the composer’s life for a bit.  I will then introduce the piece that we will be studying for the week and its background or additional information of the piece (below). We will listen to the piece together.  Throughout the week, I will play the piece in the background while we are having lunch or doing teatime.  You could also play the music in your car when you are running errands. We study one piece a week; therefore, the selection study should take a minimum of eight weeks to complete.


The selections for our study come from Ambleside Online.

(1)  Symphony 9 From the New World.  Dvořák wrote this piece between January and May 1893, while he was in New York. At the time of its first performance, he claimed that he used elements from American music; however, he later denied this. He stated in an article published in the New York Herald on December 15, 1893, that he wrote, “[In the 9th symphony] I have simply written original themes embodying the peculiarities of the Indian music.”   Also of note, Neil Armstrong took a recording of the New World Symphony to the Moon during the Apollo 11 mission, the first Moon landing, in 1969.

(2)  Slavonic Dances – Nos. 1, 2, and 3.   The Slavonic Dances are a series of 16 orchestral pieces composed by Dvorak between 1878 and 1886 and published in two sets as Opus 46 and Opus 72.  These pieces were originally written for piano four hands, and were inspired by Braham’s Hungarian Dances.  They were orchestrated at the request of Dvorak’s publisher soon after composition. The pieces ere well received at the time and are considered to be among the Dvorak’s most memorable works. We will only study Nos. 1 – 3. (Note:  These are three separate pieces)

(3) Carnival Overture (may also be spelled Karneval).  Also referred to as “Nature, Life, and Love”, the piece actually consists of three overtures: In Nature’s Realm, Carnival, and Othello. This piece was in Prague before Dvorak headed to New York to assume his post as director of the National Conservatory of Music.  He also reprised it at Carnegie Hall on his first American program. He described the piece as the contrast between “the  lonely, contemplative wanderer reaches the city at nightfall, where a carnival is in full swing. On every side is heard the clangor of instruments, mingled with shouts of joy and the unrestrained hilarity of people giving vent to their feelings in their songs and dance tunes.”

(4) Humoresques for piano Opus 101 (especially no 7 in G flat ).  This is a piano cycle by the Dvorak, written during the summer of 1894. It is probably the most  small piano work ever written after Beethoven’s  Fur Elise. 

(5) String Quartet No. 12 in F maj Opus 96 (“American”).  This piece is nicknamed American Quartet.  It is  the 12th string quartet composed by Dvorak. It was written in 1893, during his time in the United States. This quartet is one of the most popular in his chamber music repertoire.

(6) Trio in E min Opus 90 (“Dumky”) .  This piece is one of Dvorak’s best-known works.
It is a prominent example for a piece of chamber music deviating strongly from the sonata form.  Dvorak finished the work on February 12, 1901, and it premiered in Prague on April 11, 1891, with violinist Ferdinand Lachner, cellist Hanuš Wihan, and Dvorak on piano.  At the performance, Dvorak was awarded an honorary doctorate from Prague’s Charles University. This piece was so well received that he performed it on his 40 concert farewell tour throughout Moravia and Bohemia before leaving for the United States. This piece was written while he was in America and was proofread by his friend Johannes Brahms.

Additional Resources: These resources help to bring the composer and his work to life.  They are relative short videos of commentaries or analysis. I also have vocabulary that I want my children to learn and a notebooking page to complete. This portion of the study, should take a week a piece (five weeks).

  1. Lesson: Dvorak in America – Music as a Mirror of History.
  2. Lesson: Dvořák 9th Symphony: Musical Analysis by Gerard Schwarz.
  3. Classics for Kids on Dvorak  (This site includes a basic online quiz.)
  4. Antonin Dvorak Notebooking Page
  5. Vocabulary Composer Study Session One


The selections for our Hymn Study come from Ambleside Online.

How We Do A Hymn Study:  My children are introduced to the hymn during our Fine Arts class on Friday.  I will tell them about the hymn, composer, and any additional information that I may have about the hymn.  I will then play the hymn and listen it together.  Throughout the week, I will play the hymn in the background while we are having lunch or doing teatime.  You could also play the music in your car when you are running errands. We study hymn a week; therefore, the hymn selection study should take a minimum of five weeks to complete.


  1. O For a Thousand Tongues to Sing – Lyrics & Background, Hymn Study, Modern Version
  2. Grace, ‘Tis a Charming Sound – Lyrics & Background, Hymn Study, Modern Version
  3. Nothing But the Blood – Lyrics & Background, Hymn Study, Modern Version
  4. Marching to Zion – Lyrics & Background, Hymn Study, Modern Version

Additional Resources:  My children complete a notebooking page for each hymn we study.  Hymn Study Notebooking Page


In order to issue a grade for my children for the first semester of Fine Arts (Music), I evaluate and issue a grade for each of the notebooking pages my children will complete. I will also give my children the First Semester Music Examination. For part one of the examination, I will simply play snippets of the composer’s work and hymns in random order and have the children identify the pieces that are played.  The final grade of this semester is determined by averaging the notebooking pages with the examination.

Seeing Jesus in the Passover

Passover marks a time that recounts and celebrates the deliverance of the Children of Israel form slavery as G-d’s Chosen People and when Jesus was crucified for our sins, buried, resurrected, and ascended to Heaven to be with the Father.  It is a time when Jew and Gentile can come together to see the blessings that G-d has given us in His Word and means by which we can share the way, the truth and the grace that embodies Jesus.

I pulled together from various sources, including the Messianic Haggadah that we use from the Jewish Voice Ministries which is very detailed in explaining the symbolism of the Passover Seder and its connection to Jesus a document that I use to teach my children.  This document (Jesus in Passover) givens an overview of the various aspects of a Seder and their importance and fulfillment in Jesus.

There are many great teachings on the connection of Jesus to the Passover from various Messianic Ministries, including Beth Yeshua International (the one that our family uses), Jewish Voice Ministries, Hebrew4Christians, and many, many more.

I hope that this document is a blessing to your family.