Hanucah, Moroccan style

Tonight is the first night of the eight-day festival of Hanucah, the Jewish Festival of Lights. This year, unusually, it coincides with the festival of Christmas. Here is a rendition of Maoz Tzur, the traditional piyyut heard at this time. Rabbi David Kadoch sings Maoz Tsur to a Moroccan tune. Here are the lyrics in English translation:


Maoz Tzur : Rock of Ages

O mighty stronghold of my salvation,
to praise You is a delight.

Restore my House of Prayer
and there we will bring a thanksgiving offering.

When You will have prepared the slaughter
for the blaspheming foe,

Then I shall complete with a song of hymn
the dedication of the Altar.

My soul had been sated with troubles,
my strength has been consumed with grief.
They had embittered my life with hardship,
with the calf-like kingdom’s bondage.

But with His great power
He brought forth the treasured ones,

Pharaoh’s army and all his offspring

Went down like a stone into the deep.

To the holy abode of His Word He brought me.
But there, too, I had no rest
And an oppressor came and exiled me.

For I had served aliens,
And had drunk benumbing wine.

Scarcely had I departed
At Babylon’s end Zerubabel came.

At the end of seventy years I was saved.

 To sever the towering cypress
sought the Aggagite, son of Hammedatha,

But it became [a snare and] a stumbling block to him
and his arrogance was stilled.

The head of the Benjaminite You lifted
and the enemy, his name You obliterated
His numerous progeny – his possessions –
on the gallows You hanged.

Greeks gathered against me
then in Hasmonean days.
They breached the walls of my towers
and they defiled all the oils;

And from the one remnant of the flasks
a miracle was wrought for the roses.

Men of insight – eight days
established for song and jubilation

 Bare Your holy arm
and hasten the End for salvation –

Avenge the vengeance of Your servants’ blood
from the wicked nation.

 For the triumph is too long delayed for us,
and there is no end to days of evil,
Repel the Red One in the nethermost shadow
and establish for us the seven shepherds.

 Maoz Tzur translation courtesy of www.ou.org.

Wishing all readers Happy Hanucah, Merry Christmas, or simply…Happy Holidays! 


  • according to a commenter on Harry's Place, a complaint has been made by Collectif Contre l'Islamophobie en France (CCIF) and referred on to the Paris courts. It may well be dismissed quickly, contrary to the CCIF claim that prosecutors considered M. Bensoussan's remarks 'serious'.

    Nonetheless this is part of a worrying pattern in which those providing fair comment about tolerance within French Muslim communities are subjected to intimidation.

  • off topic//
    is anything being done to organize support for Prof Bensoussan who is being politically persecuted in France through the use of "lawfare" by pro-Muslim bodies?

  • Beyond Ashkenazi-style latkes By Susan Barocas (Dec. 23, 2016)
    kookoo sib zamini, the traditional Persian version of a potato pancake
    the Iraqi patty leans toward an omelet or frittata
    ejjeh batata, these pancakes [with] allspice and Aleppo pepper
    Morocco: [] sfenj, [a] favorite year-round breakfast treat.
    Italian Jews serve anise-flavored frittelle di Chanukkah


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