web analytics
August 30, 2014 / 4 Elul, 5774
At a Glance
News & Views
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



The Meaning of Today’s 10th of Tevet Fast


Front-Page-010612

Accordingly, Shlomtzion retained her title of queen and became the country’s sole ruler. Her decade-long reign (76-66 BCE) provided the Jewish people with much needed calm and stability. 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, herself strictly observant, allowed them to assume the practical administration of the state.

Though she transferred many administrative powers to the Pharisees, Shlomtzion was far from passive in her role as queen. In particular, she built a sizable military to ensure a peaceful life for her constituents. Its soldiers consisted primarily of recruited Jewish fighters, supplemented by foreign mercenaries. At its apex, this collective force nearly doubled in size from that which she had inherited from her deceased husband.

In her final years, Shlomtzion grew old and tired. The Sadducees now attempted to reclaim their lost power and approached the ambitious Aristobulus II for help. Viewing them as potential allies in his own rise to power, Aristobulus was all too eager to assist.

With Aristobulus at their head, and a powerful band of foreign mercenaries to accompany them, the Sadducees entreated the aging Shlomtzion for increased power and recognition. They spoke of their unwavering loyalty to Yannai and their increased suffering at the hands of the Pharisees.

They then presented the queen with the following ultimatum: Turn over all of the Hasmonean fortresses to the Sadducees, or they will ally themselves with powerful Jewish enemies, including Aretas, king of the Nabateans. In her weakness, Shlomtzion agreed. Twenty-two strongholds were transferred, including all of the national fortresses except for Hyrcania and Macherus, which held royal treasures.

Aristobulus did not stop there. He had himself proclaimed as king in an attempt prevent his brother Hyrcanus from seizing the throne. The seventy-three year old queen, now in her last 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 again played their cards correctly, and forged their way to the top of the political heap.

* * * * *

The peaceful situation between Hyrcanus and Aristobulus, would not survive. Encouraged by his new accomplice, Antipater – a scheming, power-hungry Idumean – Hyrcanus reopened the struggle with his younger brother. Secretly, Hyrcanus and Antipater left Jerusalem to meet with King Aretas in Transjordan. In exchange for military support, Hyrcanus and Antipater promised to restore to Aretas twelve cities that Yannai had previously captured.

Aretas agreed. He led his large army of 50,000 across the Jordan and marched it to Jerusalem. Seeing Hyrcanus at the army’s head, his followers in the capital opened the city gates. Aristobulus and his men, among whom were many priests, were forced to seek refuge behind the walls of the Temple Mount. All along they maintained the daily sacrifices, despite the inherent dangers and the exorbitant costs.

The siege that followed was filled with intense hatred between the sides, both of which used the people as pawns in their personal struggle. Upon seeing the manner in which these two brothers treated one another, and their complete disregard for the general welfare of the populace, many abandoned hope of a peaceful resolution and fled to Egypt.

As the siege intensified, the followers of Hyrcanus summoned the great sage and miracle worker Choni HaMa’agel (the Circle Maker). They compelled him to pray on their behalf for a victorious end to the siege. Choni’s prayer was far from what they had hoped for:

Master of the Universe! Those who lay the siege are Your people and those who are besieged are your priests. I plead before You, do not heed the prayers that either side offers to You, to do evil to the other side! [Josephus, Antiquities]

Angered and disappointed, Hyrcanus’s men responded by killing the great Choni. With that, they took their struggle to an unprecedented low.

Neither side was able to resolve this fraternal conflict militarily. In 63 BCE, the Roman political leader Pompey appeared in Syria with his legions, having completed an extensive military campaign in Asia.

Exhausted, desperate, and concerned about what they perceived to be inevitable Roman intervention, both brothers appealed to Pompey in hope of a favorable decision. With this fateful decision, eighty-plus years of hard-earned Hasmonean independence would soon end. The sages, fearing the outcome of these misguided delegations, also sent a mission to plead their case on behalf of the people.

Pompey initially ruled in favor of the younger Aristobulus; his larger bribe held sway with the greedy leader. Hyrcanus and Aretas were instructed to lift the siege and leave Jerusalem. If not, they would be viewed as enemies of Rome. Aretas duly returned home. Aristobulus pursued Hyrcanus and his men after they had left the city, killing some 6,000 soldiers.

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 “The Meaning of Today’s 10th of Tevet Fast”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
US Marines walk a city street in Fallujah, heavily damaged by the fighting. (2004)
Netanyahu Says Making Gaza ‘Israel’s Fallujah’ Was Too High a Price
Latest News Stories
US Marines walk a city street in Fallujah, heavily damaged by the fighting. (2004)

Israel is better off with a weak Hamas rather than a dead Hamas, for the time being, says Netanyahu.

Two mortars landed close to the Israel-Syrian border/cease-fire lines in the Eastern Golan Heights

Growing anti-Semitism is Israel;s fault according to a chaplain at Yale.

If Israel would just not exists, and if Jews would stop being Jewish, there would be no anti-Semitism in the world.

Jewish comedienne Joan Rivers .

Doctors are hopeful but worried. Her daughter Melissa is an “emotional wreck.”

We wish him a speedy recovery and a lifetime of laryngitis.

The FIlipino UN troops were successfully extracted by Irish UN troops from the Syrian rebel siege.

Joan Rivers, 81, is in an induced coma following throat surgery on Thursday. Rivers suffered a heart attack during surgery.

With new neighbors along our Syrian border, we thought we’d check out what they’re saying and what’s going on…

We wish a speedy recovery to Joan Rivers, the straight-shooting Jewish comedienne whose exact analysis of the war was, “Hamas started it.”

An IDF soldier who was critically injured last week by a rocket that hit Ashdod died from his wounds today. He is Israel’s 71st casualty in the war. Sergeant Natanel Maman, 21, from Gan Yavne, an Ordnance Corps soldier, was critically injured by a rocket that hit Ashdod last Friday. He was promoted posthumously from […]

More than 200,000 Muslims live in Michigan. Fifty of them showed up for a protest against ISIS.

Sofer, who may have died from dehydration after falling in a ravine while hiking, is being buried in Beit Shemesh.

The Boycott Israel movement, so far, is more bark than bite.

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.

Netanyahu gets support from Congressmen on House Armed Services Committee

Some Chareidi entertainers thrilled the crowd on Jerusalem’s Ben Yehuda Street with some Jewish entertainment.    

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/news/jewish-news/besieged-by-our-own/2012/01/04/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: