Ma’oz Tzur

Ma’oz Tzur (Hebrew:מעוז צור) is a Jewish piyyut. The hymn is named after its first two words in Hebrew, which mean “Stronghold of Rock” as a name for G-d.


It is written in Hebrew, and is sung on during Hanukkah, after lighting the festival lights. The name is a reference to the Hasmonean stronghold of Beth-zur.

The first letters of the first five stanzas form an acrostic, meaning they spell the poet’s name, Mordecai, in Hebrew. The poem was written about 800-900 years ago in Europe and is usually sung to the tune of an old German folk song.

Ma’oz Tzur recounts the many times that G-d has delivered the Jewish people from their foes. The first stanza, which is the one that is usually sung during Hanukkah, thanks God for this protection. The following stanzas talks about the Israelite exodus from Egypt as well as the liberation from Babylonia, Persia and Syria. The fifth verse retells the story of Hanukkah, saying: “The Greeks gathered against me…they broke down the walls of my towers, and defiled all the oils. But from the last remaining flask a miracle was wrought.”
Altogether Ma’oz Tzur has six stanzas.

Listen to Maoz Tzur :


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