Chanukah, voices of lights

A radio program by the European Institute for Jewish Music, hosted by Hervé Roten

MUSIQUES JUIVES D’HIER ET D’AUJOURD’HUI - TUESDAY DECEMBER 16TH 2014, JUDAÏQUES FM (94.8), 21H05

The celebration of Chanukah - sometimes called the Festival of Lights - celebrates the victory of the Maccabees against the Hellenistic dynasty of the Seleucids, in the 2nd century BC. Like Purim, this festival symbolizes the spiritual resistance of Judaism to any attempt of annihilation.

In - 168, the Seleucid king Antochios IV publishes an edict of abolition of the Jewish law. Temple worship, festivals and circumcision are outlawed, with death penalty for those who continue to observe the Shabbat. The Temple of Jerusalem is dedicated to the Greek god Zeus.
These events bring about the revolt of the Maccabees. Led by Mattathias and his sons (including Judah), they manage to deliver Jerusalem and its Temple after 3 years of struggle.

Chanukah - which in Hebrew means "edification" - commemorates the re-inauguration of the altar of offerings in the second Temple of Jerusalem. According to the rabbinic tradition, during this consecration occurs the miracle of the vial of oil, allowing the priests of the Temple to burn for eight days a quantity of oil barely enough for a day.

The practices and customs associated with this holiday are related to the miracle of the oil vial, especially the lighting of the Chanukah eight-branch candelabra during the eight days of the festival, and the eating of sweets made from olive oil (latkes, soufganiot ...). Children also play with four-sided spinning tops. And the joy is expressed with the omnipresent music, as the last verse of the hymn Maoz tsour underlines: Az egmor beshir mizmor `hanoukat hamizbea`h (We will celebrate and sing your holy altar restored).

The cantor and rabbi Jacques Arnold will offer us a luminous and musical vision of this festival: from liturgical tunes of Chanukah to children’s songs (spinning top, dougnuts ...) and popular songs (Judeo-Spanish, Judeo-Arab, Yiddish ...).

Hanouka, voix de lumière - Hervé Roten (Judaïques FM 94.8)


Officer of the Ordre of Arts and letters, PhD in musicology at Paris University Sorbonne, prize-winning graduate from the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique et de Danse de Paris, Hervé Roten is the director of the European Institute for Jewish Music since its creation in 2006.
Ethnomusicologist, he quickly developed an interest in the safeguard and digitization of archives, subjects he taught for several years in Reims and Marne-La-Vallée universities.
Author of many articles, books and recordings related to Jewish music, producer of radio programs, Hervé Roten is recognized today as one of the best specialists of Jewish music in the world.

Listen to

In case the music player doesn't open, you must allow the opening of pop-ups for the website iemj.org in your browser settings.

  • Hanouka, voix de lumière - Hervé Roten (Judaïques FM 94.8)

Lire tout

You may also like

The interpretation of rites

Broadcasted on French radio France Culture, on October 5 & 12, 2014, Marc-Alain Ouaknin invites in his program "Talmudiques" Hervé Roten who (…)

Training of Music Teachers of Paris - 2011

The CFMJ continues its educational action by organising another training day for music teachers in Paris. In the program : a large overview on (…)

The CFMJ at the Festival of Jewish Culture in Paris

Conferences, round table and concerts : find all the events co-organized by the CFMJ at the Festival of Jewish Culture in Paris, on June 29 and (…)

Second summer university of Judeo-Spanish in Paris

7 - 12 JULY 2013 in the Centre Edmond Safra - 6 bis rue Michel-Ange - Paris 16e In July 2012, the first university of Judeo-Spanish, organized (…)

Symposium and concerts Vox Aurea-Via Sacra 2014 - Sacred Jewish music

Sunday September 7th, 2014, 18200 Saint-Armand Montrond Sacred music holds an essential place in Jewish music history. All day long, conferences (…)