Lighting the Chanukiya is one of the major mitzvot of Chanukah. Why do we do it? How do we do it? How can Sefaria help us to find information about the Chanukiya?

In this lesson, you and a partner will prepare and record an interview with a Chanukiya which can be shared with others.

1. One of you will be the interviewer and one of you will be the Chanukiya.

2. You both will need to research the mitzvah of lighting a Chanukiya on Chanukah in order to ask and answer questions for your audience.

3. Using iMovie, WeVideo or another video app, record a 5 minute interview with a Chanukiya.

Tech tip: Work in split screen with this sheet on one half of the screen and the Sefaria library in the other or work in one screen with two tabs open, one open to this sheet and the other tab open to the Sefaria library. Try them both out to discover which you like better.

Finding texts

Where in the Jewish library do we learn about the Chanukiya or Chanukkah Menorah?

A good place to find out is by doing a "Topic" search in Sefaria.

  • Type "Chanukkah Menorah" into the search bar at the top of the screen and click on #Chanukkah Menorah in the dropdown menu. (An entry that begins with # is always a topics page.
  • Click on "Filter" and then "Chronological" to search in order of date, with the earliest sources appearing first.

Although they all mention a lamp, which is the first text to be speaking about Chanukah?

Why do you think that Chanukah isn't mentioned in the other sources? (Think about when Chanukah took place)

Talmud

  • Click on the source that is called "Shabbat" so that it opens in full screen.
    • What is this text?
  • Open the Table of Contents by clicking on the name in the header.
    • Read about the book.
    • "Shabbat" is one volume (masechet) of a larger work. What is the name of the entire text?
    • Click on the "x" to close the Table of Contents.
  • Scroll up and down through the Talmud Shabbat text.
    • Notice the conversation between the rabbis.
    • If you were looking for a quick reference to learn how to light your Chanukkah menorah, do you think this would be the best place to go?
  • Open the sidebar by clicking on the Talmud Shabbat text that you found in the topics search.
    • Halakhah is the word for Jewish law.
    • Sometimes, a straight forward legal book is what you are looking for.
  • Click on "Halakhah" and open the Mishneh Torah.
    • Click "open" to open the text in its full form.
    • You now have the Talmud text on the left side of your screen and the Mishneh Torah on the right side.

Mishneh Torah

Before diving into a new book, it is helpful to learn about what it is. Who wrote it? When? Where? What was the purpose of the book?

On Sefaria, you can always learn about a book in the "About" section.

  • Click on the Mishneh Torah to open another side panel. Click "About".
    • Who wrote the Mishneh Torah? When?
  • To learn more about the author, click on his name to go to his author page.
    • What other books did he write?
    • What is special about the Mishneh Torah?
    • Why did he write it?
    • What other profession did he have?
  • You might not find everything that you want to know on this page. Luckily, there are links to articles about Rambam (Maimonides) in Wikipedia and the Jewish Encyclopedia. You might also want to learn more about the Mishneh Torah by searching for articles about the book on the internet.

Jumping into the text

  • Click on the back button to return to the the texts.
  • Close all panels except for the Talmud and Mishneh Torah sources.
  • It is now time to prepare for your interview. You will need to know the who, what, when, where, how, and why of Chanukah candle lighting.
  • Read through the Talmud and Mishneh Torah texts to find the answers to the questions.
  • Take notes and then use them to write a 5 minute interview with a chanukiyah.

A moment of reflection

Now that you have read some passages of the Talmud and the related sections of Mishneh Torah, you can make some generalizations about the nature of each.

  • In what ways were the two texts similar?
  • In what ways were the two texts different?
  • In what situations would you want to learn about Chanukah candle lighting from the Talmud?
  • In what situations would you want to learn about Chanukah candle lighting from the Mishneh Torah?
  • Why do you think the Rambam composed the Mishneh Torah? What do you think he was he trying to achieve?

Watch the video below to learn about the Talmud and Mishneh Torah. How many of the similarities and differences did you find?

Record your interview

You are now ready to record an informative and entertaining interview with a chanukiya.

  • Try to keep your interview to about five minutes long.
  • Pack it with useful information.
  • Make it fun to watch.