Authors Posts by Yitzhak Szyf

Yitzhak Szyf

Yitz Szyf is a musmakh of RIETS (Yeshiva University) and holds graduate degrees in both Modern Jewish History and International Relations. He lives in Maryland and works as an economist in Washington, D.C. He has visited and served Jewish communities around the world and has a particular interest in bringing new life to liturgy and traditions that have been forgotten in recent generations. You can find out more at his site: You can also contact him at with any comments or questions.

Shnei Zeitim: A Hanukkah Piyyut About the Separation of Powers

Yitzhak Szyf explores the piyyut of Shnei Zeitim, a once well-known addition to the Shabbat Hanukkah services that subtly critiques the Hasmoneans for usurping the kingship while serving as priests.

Ve-Atah Banim Shiru La-Melekh – People Over Angels on Shavuot

What can a medieval piyut (and famous modern chassidic tune) teach us about people's superiority over angels? Yitzchak Szyf explores how our Shavuot liturgy proclaims man's partnership with God in Torah.