web analytics
May 29, 2015 / 11 Sivan, 5775
At a Glance
Sections
Sponsored Post


Chanukah: Then And Now

Pollack-121412-Washington

On the twenty-fifth day of the month of Kislev, over twenty-one hundred years ago, the Temple in Jerusalem was rededicated after it was wrenched from the hands of the defiling Greeks. Thus ended a war no one planned or even dreamed could happen.

To understand the miracle of the few against the many, and the pure against the defiled, we can go back to the famous young Macedonian/Greek conqueror, Alexander the Great. Bursting out of the Greek islands he never stopped, defeating Persian armies five times his size, and pushed right on to India. He would have gone further had he not died at age thirty-two, totally burnt out after declaring himself a God, and apparently never leaving the fast lane in his personal and public life.

It should be said that when he came upon Yerushalayim and was prepared to add it to his list of conquests, he had a historic meeting with the head of the Sanhedrin and Shimon HaTzaddik.

It is said that the young conqueror dismounted and bowed down to this High Priest of the Temple of the true God. As a result of this meeting, Yerushalayim was spared.

With the passing of the undisputed leader, however things began to get out of hand.

The vast empire was divided into three parts by his generals – and they began an unending series of wars amongst themselves. Ptolemies in Egypt and the Seleucids in Syria established impressive Hellenistic centers, and Greek culture was copied by all the peoples from Egypt to Babylon. Well, almost all the peoples!

The Jewish people in Eretz Yisrael were not enamored of the glitter or power of Hellenistic culture. The Greeks were patient. All peoples finally came around to embracing their “superior” ways. The Jews would too, they believed. In fact some did. Referred to as Hellenists, they were Jews at home and Greeks in the office and at the gym. In fact since the all important sports contests were done in the nude, celebrating the perfect body, some Jews felt uncomfortable with their circumcisions; cosmetic surgery allowed them then to pass.

Things were actually going just the way the Greeks predicted, when in the year 169 BCE, the Seleucids under Antiochus Epiphanies were chased out of Egypt and a victory against his Ptolemy rivals was denied.

Antiochus vented his humiliation and frustration at the Jews of Eretz Yisrael as he retreated across their territory. He sacked Yerushalayim, plundered the Temple, and, at the advice of Jewish Hellenists, enacted laws that would ensure all his subjects finally “go Greek.”

Thus began the draconian and humiliating anti-Jewish laws and the defilement of the Bais HaMikdash, including sacrifice of pigs to Zeus and harlotry where the priests performed the holy service. Women gave their lives to circumcise their babies. Jews caught studying Torah were burned alive in the scrolls.

Antiochus was determined to make the Jews into good Hellenists and help them “see the light.”

But then, for the first time in history, a small nation (in fact a small part of a small nation) raised the banner of revolt against a world power in a bid for religious freedoms.

When the Greek soldiers and their Jewish Hellenistic allies came to one of the rural villages to enforce the king’s edicts, and have the villagers bow down to his image, an old man said no! Matisyahu the Kohen simply said no. As the soldiers were about to make an example of him, his five sons stood and ensured those soldiers did not make ti home. “He who is for God, follow me!” The revolt was on.

In the beginning, the Jews would not fight on Shabbos, but after a group of one thousand men women and children would not come out of a cave to fight on the Sabbath and were smoked to death by the Greeks, Matisyahu decreed that it was permissible to violate Shabbos in this war against the forces of evil.

Villagers flocked to them and soon a large guerrilla force, led by the old man and his sons, were routing professional and well-armed armies, many times their size. When Matisyahu died, his son, Yehuda HaMacabee(The Hammer) led the Jews. This son became the worst nightmare of the best Greek generals.

About the Author:


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 “Chanukah: Then And Now”

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
What's happened to NYC's Celebrate Israel Parade?
Israel Rejects as ‘False’ UJA Federation’s Claims about Israel Parade ‘Inclusion’
Latest Sections Stories
Respler-logo-NEW

When I complain, she tells me it is retail therapy.

West-Coast-logo

Tal Dimenstein has been selected to present her ELI Talk about Appreciation during this year’s conference in Chicago.

How is it possible that some of our people cannot see what I see, the miracle of the existence of the state of Israel?

Birobidzhan railway station sign is the world’s only one spelling the town’s name in Yiddish letters

She’s seen as a poster child for The Jewish Home’s efforts to reach beyond its Orthodox base.

Girls don’t usually learn Gemara. Everyone knows that.

Mordechai and his men shared a strong mutual loyalty.

“Can I wear tefillin in the bathroom?” That was the question US Private Nuchim Lebensohn wrote to Mike Tress, president of the Agudath Israel Youth Council, in a letter dated November 18, 1942. Lebensohn was not your typical young American GI. Polish by birth, he was forty-three years old and married when he was drafted […]

To what extent is your child displaying defiance?

This therapist kept focusing on how “I could do better,” never on how we could make the marriage work.

Mistrust that has lingered after the fiasco in Ferguson, Missouri, has edged the issue forward.

“The observance of a kosher diet is a key tenet of Judaism, and one which no state has the right to deny,” said Nathan Diament, executive director for public policy of the Orthodox Union.

More Articles from Sholom Pollack
Manya in her later years

Manya was befriended by many who would later comprise this first leaders of the newly born Jewish state.

Pollack-062813-Greenery

We are all well familiar with the dramatic last stand of the Jewish rebels on Masada against the Roman Legions after the destruction of the Second Bais HaMikdash. But according to Josephus Flavious (Yosef ben Matityahu) a very similar drama took place on another isolated mountain in the very north of the country.

I finally returned to Yericho, Jericho after ten years. The last time I was there, guiding tourists, was just before the Oslo War broke out in October 2000.

Always seeking to increase our knowledge of Israel’s tourist sites, from time to time, us tour guides take refresher tours.

On the twenty-fifth day of the month of Kislev, over twenty-one hundred years ago, the Temple in Jerusalem was rededicated after it was wrenched from the hands of the defiling Greeks. Thus ended a war no one planned or even dreamed could happen.

One of the off the beaten track areas in Eretz Yisrael that I enjoy taking adventurous visitors to are the southern Hevron Hills.

As we drive south from Yerushalayim, passing through the very cradle of Jewish history, with its rolling green hills along the Patriarchs and Matriarchs path or the “Road of Heroism” as it is some times called, we resist the magnetic pull to stop at Gush Etzion or Hevron and continue south, fully cognizant that more Jews walked on this path than on any other road in history.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/magazine/potpourri/chanukah-then-and-now/2012/12/14/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: