web analytics
April 25, 2014 / 25 Nisan, 5774
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post
Spa 1.2 Combining Modern Living in Traditional Jerusalem

A unique and prestigious residential project in now being built in Mekor Haim Street in Jerusalem.



A Tragic, Shameful End

Front-Page-120613

Share Button

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.

Share Button

About the Author: Rabbi Naphtali Hoff is president of Impactful Coaching and Consulting (ImpactfulCoaching.com). He can be reached at info@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.

No Responses to “A Tragic, Shameful End”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Mock Eviction Notice shoved under the doors of students' rooms in predominantly Jewish NYU dorm by NYU SJP.
NYU Latest Site of Anti-Israel Mock Eviction Notices
Latest Indepth Stories
Students in Israel get computers to assist in their schoolwork.

Day schools can have boys and girls participate in the same online class but they don’t meet or interact in “real time.”

Richard Falk, FORMER  United Nations Human Rights Council’s Rapporteur on the Palestinian Territories.

Jews so hostile to their own people they’ve spun out into the orbit of rabid anti-Israeli and pro-Islamic radicalism.

Breaking the Fw:Fw:Fw Chain

Rav Pam said we must realize that God has no pleasure from such negative speech.

NIF support for BDS groups, writes Black, also included acting as a “go between for other donors….

Brandeis, which had to have known about her record of criticism of Islam, pulled the honor after pressure from a Muslim advocacy group and a number of faculty members and students.

Wherever I was invited around the world, I always met with people and let them know that I wanted to hear great stories.

R. Hadaya strongly argues in favor of establishing a festive day in commemoration of the establishment of the state of Israel.

The Palestinian Authority has jailed more than 350 Arabs for “security” reasons in just 2014.

Since Torah is the great equalizer, the great reconciler of divergent but valid opinions, this is also the place where common ground is reached.

Some American Jews feel their community has been hijacked from within by groups waging war against Israel seemingly in the name of the Jewish people.

Jerusalem only seems important in the Islamic world when non-Muslims control or capture the city.

Jordan’s king is adding fuel to the fire on the Temple Mount, blaming Israel for violence by Muslim Arab rioters.

At Brandeis, much of what counts as Western civilization got cold feet and won’t stand with Hirsi Ali.

But the lesson from this meditation is that hidden behind the anti-semitic act is the greatest light.

More Articles from Rabbi Naphtali Hoff
Front-Page-032114

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.

Front-Page-011714

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.

Throughout the past week we have thanked Hashem for the improbable defeat of the powerful Seleucid forces by a small, untrained band of Jewish fighters. We also celebrated the story’s one open miracle, when the menorah’s lights burned for eight consecutive days following the Temple’s rededication.

The exchange was brief and simple in its content, yet profound in its implications.

One morning this past summer, I davened at a shul in Passaic, New Jersey. Passaic was our new home as of mid-July, following nearly a decade of school leadership in other communities. After tefillah, I opened a conversation with someone who had also just concluded his tenure as a principal out of state. He informed me he had left the field of education entirely and had moved to the tri-state area to go into business with a relative. In the course of our talk, he mentioned that another colleague, also young by comparative standards, was not returning to the school he had helped found out west.

Throughout our nation’s long history we have resided in countless countries and lived under numerous governmental regimes. For the most part, our existence in the diaspora has been difficult at best, intolerable at worst.

Earlier this month the London Games were all the rage. Tens of thousands descended upon Great Britain’s crown jewel to witness the Olympics and cheer for their respective countrymen.

After three-plus years of economic challenge and uncertainty, we remain anxious for positive news, the kind that will finally let us believe the worst is fully behind us. Unfortunately, the outlook for the 2012 global economy remains uninspiring: recession in Europe, anemic growth in the U.S. and a sharp slowdown in China and other emerging-market economies all weigh on economist forecasts.

Asara B’Teves, the 10th of Teves, commemorates the beginning of the siege of Jerusalem by the Babylonian ruler Nebuchadnezzar that ultimately culminated with the First Temple’s destruction on the 9th of Av the following year.

    Latest Poll

    Now that Kerry's "Peace Talks" are apparently over, are you...?







    View Results

    Loading ... Loading ...

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: