Skip to main content

The Real History Of Hanukkah Is More Complicated Than You Thought

Americans who know anything about the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah may have heard that it celebrates the victory of good over evil -- the triumph of light over darkness. But the real history of Hanukkah’s origins is more complicated. It is as much the tale of a Jewish civil war as it is about successful resistance against foreign interlopers.

● In 175 BCE Antiochus IV Epiphanes ascended to the Seleucid throne and initiated an explicit program of hellenization in the Jewish territory -- promoting the values of worldly knowledge, physical beauty, hedonistic indulgence and polytheistic spirituality.

● Antiochus’ measures were welcomed by some local Jews and Antiochus encouraged the development of the Greek educational system in Jewish society.

● A growing number of Jews began worshiping Greek gods, too.

The rising influence of hellenism was not immediately a source of open conflict within the Jewish community. But, eventually, Antiochus and his Jewish allies, including the high priest Menelaus, pushed the more pious Jews too far in a campaign of radical hellenization in 167 BCE:

● prohibited fundamental Jewish practices, such as circumcision, on pain of death

● introduced foreign rites into the Jewish Temple

● forced Jewish pilgrims to sacrifice pigs on the Temple altar

● built an altar to Zeus on top of the sacred altar to the Yahweh

● allowed prostitutes to solicit their services freely on the Temple grounds

Pious Jews rebelled only when religious persecution reached a level they could no longer tolerate. The line in the sand seems to have been the Torah and the [commandments], and the profaning of the ritual of the Temple. A series of cunning Hasmonean military maneuvers and setbacks for the Seleucids elsewhere in their empire helped the pietist militias conquer the city of Jerusalem in 164 BCE. They restored the ancient Jewish rites of the Temple, tearing down the altar to Zeus and other pagan gods.

Several centuries later, the rabbis likely developed the miracle-of-oil narrative that is so well-known today in the Hanukkah story. The first mention of the miracle is in a passage of the Babylonian Talmud dating to some time between the third and fifth centuries CE. It gave the rabbis, who were uncomfortable with the Maccabees, a way to say they respected Hanukkah, but they did not think focusing on a military victory and upheaval was a good lesson for Jews to have while living under the Roman empire. They didn’t want little Jewish boys to grow up and try to be Judah the Maccabee and attack the Romans. Read the complete article from which the above information came at -- http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/real-history-hanukkah_566752afe4b080eddf55ff0b


Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Why did they lay their coats at Saul's feet?

The witnesses, laying their coats at the feet of Saul, were the men that would cast the first stones at Stephen in Acts 7. Why did they all lay their coats at Saul’s feet? The Talmud contains a very interesting account of the act of stoning that may provide the answer.
“When the trial was over, they take him [the condemned person] out to be stoned. The place of stoning was at a distance from the court, as it is said, ‘Take out the one who has cursed.’[i] A man stands at the entrance of the court; in his hand is a signaling flag [Hebrewsudarin = sudar, ‘scarf, sweater’]. A horseman was stationed far away but within sight of him. If one [of the judges] says, ‘I have something [more] to say in his favor,’ he [the signaler] waves thesudarin, and the horseman runs and stops them [from stoning him]. Even if [the condemned person] himself says, ‘I have something to say in my favor,’ they bring him back, even four of five times, only provided that there is some substance to what he is saying.…

Madison's Warnings About Creating Political Parties

While doing some research today I came across the "Federalists No. 10" written by James Madison on Thursday, November 22, 1787. Madison warned his readers about the dangers of the formation of political parties and allowing them to become involved in government. 
When the Constitution was written in 1787, the founders thought of political parties as "factions," acting only for their own selfish interests rather than the public good. The founders saw instances in history when factions resorted to assassination and civil war if they failed to get their way. The writers of the Constitution believed that political parties would play no formal role in the new government. The Constitution made no mention of them.

Even in electing the president, the founders assumed the absence of political parties. The Constitution established an Electoral College, which called for a small number of electors—elected or appointed in the states— to meet, deliberate, and choose the best perso…

Rabbi Stephen S. Wise’s Sermon at Synagogue on Jewish Jesus Causes a Storm

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stephen_Samuel_Wise#/media/File:Stephen_Samuel_Wise.jpg
Rabbi Stephen S. Wise gave this sermon in late December 1925 and it set off a storm of protests in Jewish communities.  Before you read the article, it is important for you to be aware of some of the accomplishments of Rabbi Wise.
● a founder of the New York Federation of Zionist Societies in 1897
● first vice-president of theOregon State Conference of Charities and Correction in 1902
● appointed Commissioner of Child Labor for the State of Oregon in 1903
● co-founded the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP)
● founding of American Jewish Congress (AJCongress) in 1918
● founded theJewish Institute of Religion, an educational center in New York City in 1922
● founding president of the World Jewish Congress in 1936 (created to fight Nazism)
● co-chair of the American Zionist Emergency Council in WWII
● held press conference in 1942 an announced that the Nazis had a plan for the exter…