web analytics
September 2, 2014 / 7 Elul, 5774
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post
Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat (L) visits the JewishPress.com booth at The Event. And the Winners of the JewishPress.com Raffle Are…

Congratulations to all the winners of the JewishPress.com raffle at The Event



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
Along the Israel-Syrian border.
Jihadist Threat Rising on Israel’s Northern Border
Latest Indepth Stories
0.5-Shekel-hatasham-RJP

The War projects to lower Israel’s 2014 GDP 0.5% but will have little influence on foreign investors

The_United_Nations_Building

It is in the nature of the Nations of the World to be hostile towards the Jewish People.

champions

Hamas and Islamic Jihad are actually fighting to “liberate Jerusalem and all Palestine.”

IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz reviewing maps on the Golan Heights.

The bad news is that ISIS and Al Qaeda are on the Syrian Golan. The good news is that every terrorist in Syria is killing each other.

The congregants, Ethiopians spanning generations, were beaming with joy and pride.

The withdrawal from the Gaza Strip nine years ago did not enhance Israel’s security.

How does a soldier from a religious home fall in love with a soldier from a non- religious kibbutz?

In 19th century entire ancient Jewish communities fled Palestine to escape brutal Muslim authorities

Responsibility lies with both the UN and Hamas, and better commitments should have been demanded from both parties in the ceasefire.

But the world is forever challenging our Jewish principle and our practices.

If this is how we play the game, we will lose. By that I mean we will lose everything.

Reportedly, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates have formed a bloc that seeks to counter Islamist influence in the Middle East.

One wonders how the IDF could be expected to so quickly determine the facts.

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.

More Articles from Rabbi Naphtali Hoff
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.

Battling the Amalekites

“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.

Humility is perhaps the least understood quality a person may possess. Often it is perceived as a form of meekness, a reticence that stems from a lack of self-confidence or an unwillingness to stand up and assert oneself. But that is far from what true humility is.

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: