web analytics
October 25, 2014 / 1 Heshvan, 5775
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post
Meir Panim with Soldiers 5774 Roundup: Year of Relief and Service for Israel’s Needy

Meir Panim implements programs that serve Israel’s neediest populations with respect and dignity. Meir Panim also coordinated care packages for families in the South during the Gaza War.



A Tragic, Shameful End

Front-Page-120613

* * * * *

Throughout much of our nation’s history, internal groups have challenged the spiritual status quo of the people. During the early Hasmonean years, this group was the Hellenists. The Hellenists saw no need for the continuation of a separate Jewish nation. Their goal was universal integration through Hellenism and pagan worship. After the success of the Hasmoneans, they were completely discredited and dissolved.

Into their absence stepped the Sadducees (Hebrew: Tzadukkim). Similar to the Hellenists, the Sadducees had secular aspirations. However, they understood the importance of presenting their aims under the pretense of preserving a distinct Jewish nation. They claimed to be loyal nationalists, bent on maintaining Jewish independence.

On the surface, the opposition posed by the Sadducees to the traditional Jews, who had become known as the Pharisees (Hebrew: Perushim), was purely religious in nature. Like the Pharisees, the Sadducees professed a belief in one God and claimed allegiance to His Torah. However, they rejected three core religious tenets: the legitimacy of the Oral Law, the existence of an Afterlife, and the notion that God rewards and punishes human behavior.

These rejections were motivated more by political than religious considerations. The Sadducees consisted primarily of the wealthy class, who saw in traditional Judaism a threat to their comfortable, Hellenistic lifestyles. They regarded the lower and middle classes, almost all adherents of traditional Judaism, with contempt. They scoffed at their brethren’s loyalty to tradition and custom and viewed the sages as threats to their own cultural viability.

Hellenized and more broadly educated, the Sadducees felt themselves most capable of making appropriate decisions on behalf of the nation. Their motive was naturally self-serving: to gain power. Naturally, the Pharisees wanted nothing to do with such an arrangement. They placed primacy on the religious rather than political side of Jewish life. They saw the Torah as open to all, and its study to be each man’s personal responsibility, regardless of class or social rank.

For most of his life, Yochanan Hyrcanus remained devoted to traditional Judaism. In his later years, however, he switched his loyalties and supported the Sadducees.

A number of factors contributed to Yochanan’s change in allegiance. They included:

• Questionable Lineage – A rumor had circulated that Shimon’s wife, the mother of Yochanan, was captured during the days of Antiochus IV. It followed that, due to the lofty spiritual levels that the Torah imposes on the high priesthood, her continued marriage to Shimon was sinful and forbidden. Any children subsequently born would be spiritually tainted, and could not serve as high priest. Though this rumor was rejected by most Pharisees, a percentage continued to maintain this view, leading to Yochanan’s anger and mistrust.

• Who Will Rule Next? – None of Yochanan’s three sons were acceptable in the eyes of the Pharisees. From their youth they had followed in the ways of the Sadducees, pursuing Hellenistic culture and warfare over Torah learning. Yochanan was naturally desirous of having his children succeed him and so an alliance with the Sadducees was viewed as the best way forward.

Following the death of Yochanan Hyrcanus, his eldest son, Yehudah Aristobulus, seized the throne. He cast his own mother into prison, as well as his brothers. He also adopted the title “king.”

Aristobulus was the first Hasmonean ruler to assume that title instead of maintaining the lesser title nasi. Shimon’s own grandson did not respect the deliberate distinction he had made years prior. The power that would accompany this new title would serve to corrupt Aristobulus and his successors for the next half century, leading to their complete demise. Aristobulus died after one year in office, leaving behind no children. His mother and brothers continued to languish in prison.

About the Author: Rabbi Naphtali Hoff is an executive coach and president of Impactful Coaching & Consulting (www.ImpactfulCoaching.com). He can be reached at President@ImpactfulCoaching.com.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “A Tragic, Shameful End”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Israel's Minister of Defense Moshe Ya'alon, visiting the family of  IDF Golani Brigade soldier St.-Sgt. Oron Shaul in the northern village of Poria on August 10, 2014. Shaul was killed by Hamas in Gaza during Operation Protective Edge.
State Department Continues Grudge Match Against Ya’alon
Latest Indepth Stories
Lewis-102414-Nachal-Hareidi

I couldn’t see why I was different from Israeli boys my age. I too wanted to defend our country.

Eller-102414-Cart

I had to hire a babysitter so that I could go shopping or have someone come with me to push Caroline in her wheelchair.

Bills to restore the balance of power in Israel will be fought by the not-so-judicial left.

Widespread agreement in Israel opposing Palestinian diplomatic warfare, commonly called “lawfare.”

Chaye Zisel Braun

Arab terrorism against Jews and the State of Israel is not something we should be “calm” about.

The Israeli left, led by tenured academics, endorses pretty much anything harmful to its own country

We were devastated: The exploitation of our father’s murder as a vehicle for political commentary.

Judea and Samaria (Yesha) have been governed by the IDF and not officially under Israeli sovereignty

While not all criticism of Israel stemmed from anti-Semitism, Podhoretz contends the level of animosity towards Israel rises exponentially the farther left one moved along the spectrum.

n past decades, Oman has struck a diplomatic balance between Saudi Arabia, the West, and Iran.

The Torah scroll which my family donated will ride aboard the USS Gerald R. Ford aircraft carrier

The Jewish Press endorses the reelection of Gov. Andrew Cuomo. His record as governor these past four years offers eloquent testimony to the experience and vision he has to lead the Empire State for the next four years.

I think Seth Lipsky is amazing, but it just drives home the point that newspapers have a lot of moving parts.

Myth #1: It is easy to be a B’nai Noach. It is extraordinarily hard to be a B’nai Noach.

The question of anti-Semitism in Europe today is truly tied to the issue of immigration.

More Articles from Rabbi Naphtali Hoff

Of all the Jewish holidays, I would say Sukkos is far and away the least appreciated.

Front-Page-082914

While there is no formula that will work for everyone, there are some strategies that if followed carefully and consistently can help our children – and us – gain the most from the upcoming school year.

“If Israel’s offering of land, economic improvements, and even autonomy will not help, what will?”

For breaking his oath of allegiance, Tzidkiyahu was forced to witness the death of his sons before he himself was blinded and exiled to Babylon.

It’s as if Hamas has pulled a page out of Pharaoh’s handbook.

As a guide to others and a foremost member of the Great Assembly, Ezra provided strong leadership and a moral conscience to a people that had lost its way.

For our children, technology is not just another activity that is forbidden on Shabbos.

I can testify from experience, however, that despite such experience and/or training, top-tier leaders often begin their tasks unprepared for the rigors of their new position, particularly when the experience and training focused on instructional leadership (such as classroom observation and curriculum) rather than organizational stewardship and management.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/front-page/a-tragic-shameful-end/2013/12/04/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: