I read something yesterday about the reason that we don’t have a festive meal during Chanukah. Sure, there are plenty of ways that we celebrate but a special meal isn’t one of them.

You can’t even say that it’s because it’s post-Biblical since….so is Purim, and the seudah is a center of the holiday celebration.

The reason, the article that I read points out (thanks OU and Torah Tidbits) is that Chanukah is basically a holiday that celebrates our victory over the Hellenists, and the main goal of the Hellenist culture was to feed the body with no thought to the soul.

Thus, when we celebrate Chanukah we have the opportunity to use the eight days to give thanks in a spiritual way, rather than in a physical way.

Which brings me to the new video that a local young man, Ari Lesser, made (partially in Tzfat) for Chanukah, that says exactly that. Go Ari!

This video was partially made in Cleveland so I’d like to suggest that the Milken Archives include Ari’s work in their Archives of American Jewish Music. (Ari is American, though he now lives in Israel, so maybe that would encourage the Archives to include his music in their collection?) I’d love to see some modern Jewish music making its way into the Archive which concentrates more on historical Jewish music.

Anyway, for anyone who’s interested, the Archive does have a special Chanukah offer. Anyone who buys eight free tracks can win two free albums. The Milken Archive of Jewish music ranges from lighthearted odes to fried foods hazzanut to dramatic cantorial music of the Great Age of hazzanut in America (late 19th century to mid-20th century).

Personally, I learned quite a bit about the history of Judaism in America through the archives which trace America’s Jewish population to the first immigrants, Jews who fled Brazil when the Inquisition arrived in South America. There are folksong arrangements, choral pieces, children’s songs, orchestral works, and more.

And now, if you ask me, it’s time for a bit of old-time/new-time Jewish rap with a Jewish soul.