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Chanukah and Covenantal Relationships: Rabbi Dweck from the UK Visits Beren Campus

Rabbi Joseph Dweck, senior rabbi of the Spanish and Portuguese Sephardi Group in the UK, has an in depth web presence by means of which he spreads his Torah. In reality, I had listened to lots of his lectures from him earlier than coming to YU, which I loved drastically. I used to be excited once I noticed a flyer for his upcoming tour of him, containing a cease on the Beren Campus on Dec. 14. The shiur himself was uploaded to the Stern Torah Spotify web page, for these taken with listening.

Rabbi Dweck’s shiur mentioned the theme of Israel’s covenant with God and its relevance to Chanukah. Inside the shiur, Dweck introduced up many tales to again up a secondary thread of his speech from him, the distinctive connections seen in how Jews dwell — connections, in Dweck’s view, typically taken with no consideration.

Dweck thought-about the prevalence of covenants in Tanakh, from well-known examples akin to God’s covenant with Avraham (Genesis 15:18) and the covenant by Har Sinai (Exodus 19) to lesser-known covenants, like God’s covenant with Pinchas (Numbers 25 :12). Dweck famous each the distinctiveness of covenants to Judaism in addition to the theological query of what it means for an all-powerful God to enter right into a covenant. Extra merely acknowledged, how does an omnipotent God decide to working by guidelines?

Dweck gave specific focus to the seemingly unearned covenant with Abraham, suggesting that, from a textual perspective, it’s as if God fell in love with Abraham for no simply explicable motive, at which level God established a covenant with him. Dweck honed in on the particularist side of this selecting: “So Haqadosh Baruch Hu is primarily selecting not the philosophy of Avraham, not even the non secular sensibility of Avraham, however the man, the human, the being that’s Avraham.” God then noticed in Avraham’s descendants a mirrored image of that very same love expressed towards Avraham. In sum, the selection of Judaism was primarily based on a love for Avraham and his household from him, not out of some sense of his philosophical or ethical perspective from him.

Dweck constructed from the household nature of this covenant to articulate a view of Judaism as a big, prolonged household. “The Jewish folks, the folks of Israel, will not be before everything a faith, will not be before everything an ideology, will not be before everything an moral and ethical society,” he mentioned. “We’re before everything a household, a folks, and the covenant is inside each one among you, in your individual, because it was with our nice grandfather.” The moral and ideological elements of Judaism, Dweck defined, as vital as they’re, are like an added layer upon the household, however will not be themselves the muse.

Following this, Dweck arrived at what he thought-about the central theme of Chanukah. Chanukah was the primary time that Jews en masse thought-about abandoning their identification as Jews to completely immerse themselves in Greek society. Dweck noticed the Greeks as the primary tradition to pose such a query, by, in his understanding of him, posing lots of the similar questions Judaism offers with, whereas additionally offering higher hedonistic satisfaction. Dweck described Chanukah as a combat not only for our faith, however our identification.

The victory of Chanukah, short-lived because it was, was one which was fought by folks looking for to protect their identification on this planet, one which God then joined into to protect the covenant, as mirrored within the phrases of Al haNissimthat God fought the Maccabees’ combat, not that the Maccabees fought God’s conflict.

As such, within the halakhot of Chanukah, it’s described as “Ner ish u’Beto,” that, as expressed within the typical Sepharadi observe, one can fulfill the commandment of Chanukah lighting even when touring as a result of the family lights for him. Dweck advised that the household focus is as a result of the household unit, the muse of Judaism from the covenant with Avraham onwards, is what led to the victory.

Dweck concluded by summarizing the significance of shut household, even the place relationships are tense, in addition to the prolonged household composed of all Jewish folks, who, regardless of elementary disagreements, are all a part of the Jewish household, no matter any particular person’s state of Jewish data could also be.

On the very finish, Dweck, who studied beneath, and is married to a grandmother of, Rav Ovadia Yosef, answered a query about Rav Ovadia with humanizing recollections about how he cherished to make pickles, would make them for Shabbat and provides them to his grandchildren saying that they had beenma’aseh yaday,” the work of my arms. Equally, he described Rav Ovadia’s love for Arabic music, that he knew each music, and the way, when attainable, he would spend hours singing pizmonim [liturgical poetry] on the Shabbat desk.

“I used to be humbled to see so lots of the college students attend the shiur and I used to be additionally impressed with how severely they had been engaged,” Dweck shared with The Commentator. “I additionally appreciated the considerate questions that a number of requested on the finish. I completely loved and appreciated talking to the scholars and I stay up for extra sooner or later.”

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Photograph Caption: Rabbi Joseph Dweck

Photograph Credit score: Wikimedia Commons

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