web analytics
December 20, 2014 / 28 Kislev, 5775
 
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post
8000 meals Celebrate Eight Days of Chanukah – With 8,000 Free Meals Daily to Israel’s Poor

Join Meir Panim’s campaign to “light up” Chanukah for families in need.



A Tragic, Shameful End

Front-Page-120613

Upon Aristobulus’s death, his widow Shlomtzion released her oldest remaining brother-in-law, Alexander Yannai, from prison. In accordance with Jewish law, Yannai married Shlomtzion through the process of yibum, or levirate marriage. He also became the next Hasmonean king.

* * * * *

At the beginning of their marriage, Shlomtzion prevailed upon her new husband to deal kindly with the Pharisees. Her brother, Shimon ben Shetach, was the leading sage of the time and Yannai conferred with him in both political and religious matters. However, this peaceful, productive arrangement would not last long.

Foremost on Yannai’s mind was a desire to expand Judah even further. He was particularly focused on securing the Mediterranean coast and its port cities. He also aimed to expand Jewish holdings in Transjordan. Early on, Yannai met with much success. Despite his accomplishments, Yannai failed to garner the support of the Pharisees. They were unimpressed with his selfish goals of personal triumph and glory. Many also found fault with Yannai’s insistence in occupying the positions of both king and high priest.

A sizable rift developed between Yannai and his people, one that would lead to internal violence, bloodshed, and civil war. Many sages were tortured and killed. Others were forced to seek refuge. Taking advantage of this situation were the Sadducees. Using their close relationship with Yannai, they secured practically every significant political position for their party. Even the Sanhedrin came under Sadducean control, the result of which was numerous errors in judgment and practice.

Following Yannai’s death, Shlomtzion retained her title of queen and became the country’s sole ruler. Her nine-year reign provided the Jewish people with much needed stability following the turbulent rule of Yannai. A new, improved relationship developed between the monarchy and the sages, one that allowed the Pharisees to regain their social, political, and religious strength.

Shlomtzion and Yannai had two sons together. Neither, however, was viewed as a suitable candidate to succeed his father. The elder, Hyrcanus II, was a quiet and private man. He assumed the office of high priest and was regarded as the eventual heir to the throne. His younger brother Aristobulus II was of a vastly different temperament. He was bold, ambitious, and a fearless warrior, and deemed an inappropriate fit to assume the throne.

Shlomtzion grew old and tired. The Sadducees seized upon this to reclaim their lost power and approached the Aristobulus II for help. Viewing them as potential allies in his own rise to power, Aristobulus was all too eager to assist. The Sadducees entreated the aging Shlomtzion for increased power and recognition. They presented her with the following ultimatum: Turn over all of the Hasmonean fortresses to the Sadducees or they would ally themselves with powerful Jewish enemies, including Aretas, king of the Nabateans. In her weakness, Shlomtzion agreed. Twenty-two strongholds were transferred to Sadducean control.

Aristobulus did not stop there. He had himself proclaimed king in an attempt prevent his elder brother Hyrcanus from seizing the throne. The aged queen, now in her final days, was unable to move against her younger son. When she died, Aristobulus immediately declared war on Hyrcanus, and in so doing, won over most of his brother’s troops.

Aristobulus promptly defeated Hyrcanus in a battle near Jericho; the latter fled to Jerusalem. There, under siege, he agreed to abdicate the throne and leave the royal palace. He further resolved to live peacefully on his new estate, without meddling in public affairs. The Sadducees had played their cards correctly, and forged their way to the top of the political heap. The peaceful situation between Hyrcanus and Aristobulus would not last. Encouraged by his new accomplice Antipater, a scheming, power-hungry Idumean, Hyrcanus reopened the struggle with his younger brother. Secretly, the two left Jerusalem to meet with Aretas in Transjordan. In exchange for military support, Hyrcanus and Antipater promised to restore to Aretas twelve cities that Yannai had captured.

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
funny rocket joke
Israel Retaliates: Hits Terror Tunnel Cement Factory
Latest Indepth Stories
The annual  Chabad menorah lighting in Sydney has been called off this year because of the murders in the Lindt cafe.

The decision to not publicly light the Menorah in Sydney, epitomizes the eternal dilemma of Judaism and Jews in the Diaspora.

Greiff-112814-Men

Am Yisrael is one family, filled with excruciating pain&sorrow for losing the 4 kedoshim of Har Nof

Two dreidels from the author’s extensive collection.

What is its message of the dreidel?” The complexity and hidden nature of history and miracles.

Keeping-Jerusalem

Police play down Arab terrorism as mere “violence” until the truth can no longer be hidden.

The 7 branches of the menorah represent the 7 pillars of secular wisdom, knowledge, and science.

Obama obtained NO verifiable commitments from Cuba it would desist from acts prejudicial to the US

No one would deny that the program subjected detainees to less than pleasant treatment, but the salient point is, for what purpose?

For the past six years President Obama has consistently deplored all Palestinian efforts to end-run negotiations in search of a UN-imposed agreement on Israel.

It’s not an admiration. It is simply a kind of journalist fascination. It stands out, it’s different from more traditional Orthodoxy.

For Am Yisrael, the sun’s movements are subservient to the purpose of our existence.

Israelis now know Arab terrorism isn’t caused by Israeli occupation but by ending Israeli occupation

Anti-Semitism is a social toxin that destroys the things that people most cherish and enjoy.

Amb. Cooper highlighted the impact of the Chanukah/Maccabee spirit on America’s Founding Fathers

Zealousness has its place and time in Judaism; Thank G-d for heroic actions of the Maccabees!

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: