web analytics
November 23, 2014 / 1 Kislev, 5775
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post
IDC Herzliya Campus A Day on Campus

To mark IDC Herzliya’s 20th anniversary, we spent a day following Prof. Uriel Reichman, IDC’s founder and president, and Jonathan Davis, VP for External Relations, around its delightful campus.



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
What, me incite terror? Abba: "The Jews must be barred by any means possible."
Ex-Senior Justice Official Asks Homeland Security to Ban Abbas from US
Latest Indepth Stories
Jo-map

As Arabs murder and maim Jews, Jordan’s leaders bark the blood libel of “Israeli aggression.”

bulb

Perhaps attacking a terrorist’s legacy broadly and publicly would dissuade others from terrorism?

Medics evacuate the dead and injured after attack on Har Nof synagogue Tuesday morning.

R’ Aryeh yelled “Run, I’ll fight!” Using a chair against terrorists to buy time so others could flee

Kfar Kana Riots

Riot started when Muslim students wore the Pal. kaffiyeh and Druze students demanded them removed

The “Media” didn’t want us to know what a kind, giving, loving young woman Dalia was.

A “Palestine” could become another Lebanon, with many different factions battling for control.

Maimonides himself walked and prayed in the permissible areas when he visited Eretz Yisrael in 1165

Having a strong community presence at the polls shows our elected officials we care about the issues

Israel’s Temple Mount policy prefers to blames the Jews-not the attackers-for the crisis.

When Islam conquered the Holy Land, it made its capital in Ramle of all places, not in Jerusalem.

I joined the large crowd but this time it was more personal; my cousin Aryeh was one of the victims.

Terrorists aren’t driven by social, economic, or other grievances, rather by a fanatical worldview.

The phrase that the “Arabs are resorting to violence” is disgraceful and blames the victim.

Tuesday, Yom Shlishi, a doubly good day in the Torah, Esav’s hands tried to silence Yaakov’s voice.

Because of the disparate nature of the perpetrators, who are also relatively young, and given the lack of more traditional targets and the reverence Palestinians have for their homes, one now hears talk of Israel returning to a policy of destroying the houses of terrorists’ families.

More Articles from Rabbi Naphtali Hoff

Where did this incredible strength come from? What drove these Jews, who had nearly lost all of their national identity and spiritual connectivity, to risk their lives by standing up against one of the strongest and most fearsome governments of its time?

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

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.

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: