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☞   Ḥag haBanot (Eid el Benat)

This is an archive of special readings prepared for the Ḥag haBanot (חג הבנות, عيد البنات | עיד אלבנאת) when Rosh Ḥodesh Tevet coincides with Ḥanukkah.

As Dr. Lori Lefkowitz has written, “On this New Moon, the sixth night of Ḥanukkah, girls are given gifts, sometimes jewelry that would be their inheritance, and special blessings. It is customary to read the story of Judith, and yes, to eat salty cheeses. And one custom that I especially like, girls who were quarreling used the occasion of the festival to kiss and make up.”

Click here to contribute a special reading, prayer, or song that you have prepared for the Ḥag haBanot.


Looking for something else?

For all special readings for Ḥanukkah, go here.

For all prayers, prayer-poems, and songs for Ḥanukkah, go here.

מְגִילַּת יְהוּדִית לְאָמְרָהּ בַּחֲנֻכָּה | Megillat Yehudit, the Medieval Scroll of Judith to be said on Ḥanukkah

This is a faithful transcription of the text of the medieval Megillat Yehudith (the Scroll of Judith), not to be confused with the deutero-canonical Book of Judith, authored in Antiquity. We have further set this text side-by-side with the English translation made by Susan Weingarten, and vocalized and cantillated the Hebrew so that it may be chanted. . . .

מִדְרַשׁ מַעֲשֶׂה חֲנֻכָּה א׳ | Midrash Ma’aseh Ḥanukkah “alef,” a tale of the people’s resistance to the Seleucid Greek occupation

This digital edition of Midrash Ma’aseh Ḥanukkah was transcribed from the print edition published in Otzar Hamidrashim (I. D. Eisenstein, New York: Eisenstein Press, 5675/1915, p.189-190). With much gratitude to Anat Hochberg, this is the first translation of this midrash into English. . . .

מדרש לחנוכה | Midrash l’Ḥanukkah, an interwoven miscellany of Ḥanukkah stories

The following is the Midrash l’Ḥanukkah, one of a collection of three midrashim and two megillot containing the details of the story of Ḥanukkah in the Jewish rabbinic tradition. Those already familiar with these other works will quickly recognize portions or summaries of them here albeit with precious additional information added not found anywhere else. . . .

Soliloquy of Yehudis, by Moreh Yehudis Fishman

A soliloquy in the voice of Judith. . . .

אודך כי אנפת בי | Odekha Ki Anafta Bi, a Yotser (Hymn) for Ḥanukkah by Yosef bar Shlomo of Carcassone (ca. 11th cent.)

Odecha ki anafta bi (I give thanks to you although you were angry with me) was composed by Joseph ben Solomon of Carcassonne, who is dated to the first half of the eleventh century. This elegant and abstruse poem tells an epic tale of the Jews’ resistance to the decrees of Antiochus IV and includes accounts of both the Hasmonean bride and Judith. It bears a considerable resemblance to texts 4 and 12 of the Hanukkah midrashim[ref]See Grintz, Sefer Yehudit, pp. 205, 207–08[/ref] and this is evidence for the circulation of the joint Hasmonean daughter-Judith tales in the eleventh century, even if the surviving manuscripts of these stories are from a later date.” (Deborah Levine Gera, “The Jewish Textual Traditions” in The Sword of Judith: Judith Studies Across the Disciplines (2010).) . . .