Presentation on theme: "The Historical Background of Hanukkah and why we celebrate for 8 days."— Presentation transcript:
The Historical Background of Hanukkah and why we celebrate for 8 days
The New York Times 12/11/09 – David Brooks ► Tonight Jewish kids will light the menorah, spin their dreidels and get their presents, but Hanukkah is the most adult of holidays. It commemorates an event in which the good guys did horrible things, the bad guys did good things and in which everybody is flummoxed by insoluble conflicts that remain with us today.
1 Maccabees ch. 2 ► 23 There came a certain Jew in the sight of all to sacrifice to the idols upon the altar in the city of Modin, according to the king's commandment. 24 And Mathathias saw and was grieved, and his reins trembled, and his wrath was kindled according to the judgment of the law, and running upon him he slew him upon the altar. 25 Moreover the man whom king Antiochus had sent, who compelled them to sacrifice, he slew at the same time, and pulled down the altar. 26 And showed zeal for the law, as Phinees did by Zamri the son of Salomi.
I Maccabees 1:11 ► ► In those days there appeared in Israel men who were breakers of the law, and ► ► they seduced many people, saying: "Let us go and make an alliance with the Gentiles all around us; since we separated from them, many evils have come upon us.“ ► ► Cf. Jer 44:18
► What is Hellenism? ► Why did Antiochus persecute the Jews? ► Why do we celebrate for 8 days? ► Why do we celebrate on Kislev 25 th ? ► What can Hanukka mean for us today?
Cyrus Cylinder ► [28-33] By his exalted word, all the kings who sit upon thrones throughout the world, from the Upper Sea to the Lower Sea [i.e., from the Mediterranean Sea to the Persian Gulf], who live in the districts far-off, the kings of the West, who dwell in tents, all of them, brought their heavy tribute before me and in Babylon they kissed my feet. From Babylon to Aššur and from Susa, Agade, Ešnunna, Zamban, Me- Turnu, Der, as far as the region of Gutium, the sacred centers on the other side of the Tigris, whose sanctuaries had been abandoned for a long time, I returned the images of the gods, who had resided there [i.e., in Babylon], to their places and I let them dwell in eternal abodes. I gathered all their inhabitants and returned to them their dwellings. In addition, at the command of Marduk, the great lord, I settled in their habitations, in pleasing abodes, the gods of Sumer and Akkad, whom Nabonidus, to the anger of the lord of the gods, had brought into Babylon. ► [34-36] May all the gods whom I settled in their sacred centers ask daily of Bêl and Nâbu that my days be long and may they intercede for my welfare. May they say to Marduk, my lord: "As for Cyrus, the king who reveres you, and Cambyses, his son, [lacuna]." The people of Babylon blessed my kingship, and I settled all the lands in peaceful abodes.
Cyrus Cylinder in British Museum, London
Replica of Cyrus Cylinder in UN, New York
A seal from the 6 th cent. BCE “Belonging to Yehoyishma, daughter of Sawas-sar-usur.” Sawas-sar-usur is a well-known neo-Babylonian name that means "Shamash [the Babylonian sun- god] protect the king
Rebuilding of Temple ► Texts: Ezra 1-6, Haggai 1 ► People Involved Sheshbazzar – Yehoyachin’s son Zerubabel – Yehoyachin’s grandson Haggai Zechariah ► Dates Commences in Darius I’s 2 nd year = 520 Finished on Adar 3 of Darius’ 6 th year = March 516
Important Dates ► 587 BCE Destruction of Bet haMikdash I ► 539 BCE Cyrus destroys Babylonia, decrees that Jews can return ► BCE Rebuilding of Bet haMikdash II ► חגי ב : יח – שִׂימוּ נָא לְבַבְכֶם, מִן הַיּוֹם הַזֶּה וָמָעְלָה מִיּוֹם עֶשְׂרִים וְאַרְבָּעָה לַתְּשִׁיעִי, לְמִן - הַיּוֹם אֲשֶׁר - יֻסַּד הֵיכַל יְ - הוָה שִׂימוּ לְבַבְכֶם. ► 5 th century – Ezra and Nehemiah ► 332 BCE Alexander the Great conquers Judea and Persian Empire
Unifying the Empire Alexander encouraged intermarriages, setting an example by marrying a Persian princess himself. He placed soldiers from all the provinces in his army. He introduced a uniform currency system throughout the empire and promoted trade and commerce. He encouraged the spread of Greek ideas, customs, and laws into Asia. When he heard that some of his provincial officials ruled unjustly, he replaced them. To receive recognition as the supreme ruler, he required the provinces to worship him as a god.
Arrian of NicomediaArrian of Nicomedia on Weddings at Susa Arrian of Nicomedia ► Then he also celebrated weddings at Susa, both his own and those of his Companions. He himself married Barsine, the eldest of Darius' daughters, and, according to Aristobulus, another girl as well, Parysatis, the youngest of the daughters of Ochus. He had already married previously Roxane, the daughter of Oxyartes of Bactria. SusaBarsineAristobulusRoxaneBactriaSusaBarsineAristobulusRoxaneBactria ► He gave Drypetis to Hephaestion, she too a daughter of Darius and a sister of his own wife; his intention was that the children of Hephaestion should be cousins to his own children. To Craterus he gave Amastris daughter of Oxyathres, brother of Darius, and to Perdiccas the daughter of Atropates, satrap of Media. To Ptolemy the bodyguard and to Eumenes the royal secretary he gave the daughters of Artabazus, Artacama to one and Artonis to the other. To Nearchus he gave the daughter of Barsine and Mentor, and to Seleucus the daughter of Spitamenes of Bactria. Similarly he gave to the other Companions the noblest daughters of the Persians and Medes, some eighty in all. HephaestionCraterusOxyathresPerdiccasAtropatesMediaPtolemybodyguardEumenes ArtabazusNearchusBarsineMentorSeleucusSpitamenesHephaestionCraterusOxyathresPerdiccasAtropatesMediaPtolemybodyguardEumenes ArtabazusNearchusBarsineMentorSeleucusSpitamenes ► The marriages were celebrated according to Persian custom. Chairs were placed for the bridegrooms in order, and after the drinks the brides came in and sat down, each by the side of her groom. They took them by the hand and kissed them; the king began the ceremony, for all the weddings took place together. More than any action of Alexander this seemed to show a popular and comradely spirit. The bridegrooms after receiving their brides led them away, each to his own home, and to all Alexander gave a dowry. And as for all the Macedonians who had already married Asian women, Alexander ordered a list of their names to be drawn up; they numbered over 10,000, and Alexander offered them all gifts their wedding. ► The marriages were celebrated according to Persian custom. Chairs were placed for the bridegrooms in order, and after the drinks the brides came in and sat down, each by the side of her groom. They took them by the hand and kissed them; the king began the ceremony, for all the weddings took place together. More than any action of Alexander this seemed to show a popular and comradely spirit. The bridegrooms after receiving their brides led them away, each to his own home, and to all Alexander gave a dowry. And as for all the Macedonians who had already married Asian women, Alexander ordered a list of their names to be drawn up; they numbered over 10,000, and Alexander offered them all gifts their wedding. Macedonians
High Priests Shimon ha-Sadiq Onias III Jason (Yehoshua) ( ) Meneleus ( ) Sadok Jonathan the Hasmonean
Hellenistic Period ► 332BCE Alexander the Great conquers Palestine ► 323BCE Alexander dies Diadochi, Ptolemy in Egypt, Seleucus in Syria ► BCE Ptolemaic Rule Allowed to continue as semiautonomous ► 201BCE Seleucid conquest of Palestine ► BCE Jason High Priest bribes Antiochus IV for high priesthood builds gymnasium in Jerusalem which becomes a polis – “Antioch” ► BCE Menelaus High Priest Converts temple into pagan shrine, YHVH=Zeus=Baal Shamin ► 168BCE – Bet haMikdash is looted, Jews are massacred ► Antiochus IV decrees persecution ► 164 Judah conquers Jerusalem and rededicates the Temple
Why did Antiochus Persecute the Jews? 1. He was crazy, nervous, eccentric. May have hastened the persecution but not caused it. 2. He was a Great Hellenizer and unifier But only for political ends by making poleis, not cultural. 3. The Jewish Hellenizers asked for the decrees. 4. Decrees result from a civil war.
Why is Hanukah on Kislev 25?
Megilat Ta’anit ► בעשרים ושלושה במרחשון נסתר הסורג מן העזרה. מפני שבנו שם גוים מקום, והעמידו עליו את הזונות. וכשתקפה יד בית חשמונאי נטלוהו מהן, וסתרוהו, ומצאו שם אבנים טובות, ונמנו עליהן וגנזו אותן. והן מונחות עד היום הזה, עד שיבוא אליהו ויעיד עליהן אם טמאות הן אם טהורות. יום שסתרוהו עשאוהו יום טוב. ► בשלושה בכסליו ניטלו הפסלים מן החצר מפני שבנו שם גוים סימואתא, וכשגברה יד בית חשמונאי בטלום והוציאום משם. יום שבטלום עשאוהו יום טוב.
Haggai 2:18 ► שִׂימוּ - נָא לְבַבְכֶם, מִן - הַיּוֹם הַזֶּה וָמָעְלָה ; מִיּוֹם עֶשְׂרִים וְאַרְבָּעָה לַתְּשִׁיעִי, לְמִן - הַיּוֹם אֲשֶׁר - יֻסַּד הֵיכַל יְ - הוָה שִׂימוּ לְבַבְכֶם. ► Consider, I pray you, from this day and forward, from the four and twentieth day of the ninth month, even from the day that the foundation of Hashem’s temple was laid, consider it.
I Maccabees 1 ► 54 Now on the fifteenth day of Chislev, in the one hundred forty-fifth year, they erected a desolating sacrilege on the altar of burnt offering. They also built altars in the surrounding towns of Judah, 55and offered incense at the doors of the houses and in the streets. 56The books of the law that they found they tore to pieces and burned with fire. 57Anyone found possessing the book of the covenant, or anyone who adhered to the law, was condemned to death by decree of the king. 58They kept using violence against Israel, against those who were found month after month in the towns. 59On the twenty-fifth day of the month they offered sacrifice on the altar that was on top of the altar of burnt offering.
Winter Solstice Holiday תלמוד בבלי מסכת עבודה זרה דף ח עמוד א ► גמ '. אמר רב חנן בר רבא : קלנדא - ח ' ימים אחר תקופה, סטרנורא - ח ' ימים לפני תקופה, וסימנך : ( תהלים קלט ) אחור וקדם צרתני וגו '. ► ת " ר : לפי שראה אדם הראשון יום שמתמעט והולך, אמר : אוי לי, שמא בשביל שסרחתי עולם חשוך בעדי וחוזר לתוהו ובוהו, וזו היא מיתה שנקנסה עלי מן השמים, עמד וישב ח ' ימים בתענית [ ובתפלה ], כיון שראה תקופת טבת וראה יום שמאריך והולך, אמר : מנהגו של עולם הוא, הלך ועשה שמונה ימים טובים, לשנה האחרת עשאן לאלו ולאלו ימים טובים, הוא קבעם לשם שמים, והם קבעום לשם עבודת כוכבים. בשלמא למ " ד : בתשרי נברא העולם, יומי זוטי חזא, יומי אריכי אכתי לא חזא ; אלא למ " ד : בניסן נברא העולם, הא חזא ליה יומי זוטי ויומי אריכי ! [ דהוי ] זוטי כולי האי לא חזא. ► ת " ר : יום שנברא בו אדם הראשון, כיון ששקעה עליו חמה, אמר : אוי לי, שבשביל שסרחתי עולם חשוך בעדי ויחזור עולם לתוהו ובוהו, וזו היא מיתה שנקנסה עלי מן השמים, היה יושב [ בתענית ] ובוכה כל הלילה וחוה בוכה כנגדו, כיון שעלה עמוד השחר, אמר : מנהגו של עולם הוא.
Winter Solstice ► Babylonian Talmud, Avodah Zara 8a ► Our Rabbis taught: When Adam saw the day getting gradually shorter, he said, ‘Woe is me, perhaps because I have sinned, the world around me is being darkened and returning to its state of chaos and confusion; this then is the kind of death to which I have been sentenced from Heaven!’ So he began keeping an eight days’ fast. But as he observed the winter solstice and noted the day getting increasingly longer, he said, ‘This is the world's course’, and he set forth to keep an eight days’ festivity. In the following year he appointed both as festivals. Now, he fixed them for the sake of Heaven, but the [heathens] appointed them for the sake of idolatry.
Why is Hanukah 8 Days?
Josephus is in the “Dark” Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews 12:7 ► Now Judas celebrated the festival of the restoration of the sacrifices of the temple for eight days, and omitted no sort of pleasures thereon; but he feasted them upon very rich and splendid sacrifices; and he honored God, and delighted them by hymns and psalms. Nay, they were so very glad at the revival of their customs, when, after a long time of intermission, they unexpectedly had regained the freedom of their worship, that they made it a law for their posterity, that they should keep a festival, on account of the restoration of their temple worship, for eight days. And from that time to this we celebrate this festival, and call it Lights. I suppose the reason was, because this liberty beyond our hopes appeared to us; and that thence was the name given to that festival. Judas also rebuilt the walls round about the city, and reared towers of great height against the incursions of enemies, and set guards therein. He also fortified the city Bethsura, that it might serve as a citadel against any distresses that might come from our enemies.
Lit for Eight Days ► תלמוד בבלי מסכת שבת דף כא עמוד ב ► מאי חנוכה ? דתנו רבנן : בכ " ה בכסליו יומי דחנוכה תמניא אינון, דלא למספד בהון ודלא להתענות בהון. שכשנכנסו יוונים להיכל טמאו כל השמנים שבהיכל, וכשגברה מלכות בית חשמונאי ונצחום, בדקו ולא מצאו אלא פך אחד של שמן שהיה מונח בחותמו של כהן גדול, ולא היה בו אלא להדליק יום אחד, נעשה בו נס והדליקו ממנו שמונה ימים. לשנה אחרת קבעום ועשאום ימים טובים בהלל והודאה.
► What is [the reason of] Hanukkah? For our Rabbis taught: On the twenty-fifth of Kislev [commence] the days of Hanukkah, which are eight on which a lamentation for the dead and fasting are forbidden. For when the Greeks entered the Temple, they defiled all the oils therein, and when the Hasmonean dynasty prevailed against and defeated them, they made search and found only one cruse of oil which lay with the seal of the High Priest, but which contained sufficient for one day's lighting only; yet a miracle was wrought therein and they lit [the lamp] therewith for eight days. The following year these [days] were appointed a Festival with [the recital of] Hallel and thanksgiving.
Eight Metal Spits ► פסיקתא רבתי ( איש שלום ) פרשה ב ד " ה ילמדנו רבינו נר ► ולמה מדליק נרות בחנוכה אלא בשעה שנצחו בניו של חשמונאי הכהן הגדול למלכות יון שנאמר ועוררת בניך ציון על בניך יון ( זכריה ט ' י " ג ) נכנסו לבית המקדש מצאו שם שמונה שפודין של ברזל וקבעו אותם והדליקו בתוכם נרות,
► II Maccabees 2:12 - Solomon also celebrated the feast in the same way for eight days.
Like Sukkoth II Maccabees 10 Now Maccabeus and his followers, the Lord leading them on, recovered the temple and the city; 2. they tore down the altars that had been built in the public square by the foreigners, and also destroyed the sacred precincts. 3. They purified the sanctuary, and made another altar of sacrifice; then, striking fire out of flint, they offered sacrifices, after a lapse of two years, and they offered incense and lighted lamps and set out the bread of the Presence. Now Maccabeus and his followers, the Lord leading them on, recovered the temple and the city; 2. they tore down the altars that had been built in the public square by the foreigners, and also destroyed the sacred precincts. 3. They purified the sanctuary, and made another altar of sacrifice; then, striking fire out of flint, they offered sacrifices, after a lapse of two years, and they offered incense and lighted lamps and set out the bread of the Presence. 4. When they had done this, they fell prostrate and implored the Lord that they might never again fall into such misfortunes, but that, if they should ever sin, they might be disciplined by him with forbearance and not be handed over to blasphemous and barbarous nations. 5. It happened that on the same day on which the sanctuary had been profaned by the foreigners, the purification of the sanctuary took place, that is, on the twenty-fifth day of the same month, which was Chislev. 4. When they had done this, they fell prostrate and implored the Lord that they might never again fall into such misfortunes, but that, if they should ever sin, they might be disciplined by him with forbearance and not be handed over to blasphemous and barbarous nations. 5. It happened that on the same day on which the sanctuary had been profaned by the foreigners, the purification of the sanctuary took place, that is, on the twenty-fifth day of the same month, which was Chislev. 6. They celebrated it for eight days with rejoicing, in the manner of the festival of booths, remembering how not long before, during the festival of booths, they had been wandering in the mountains and caves like wild animals. 7. Therefore, carrying ivy-wreathed wands and beautiful branches and also fronds of palm, they offered hymns of thanksgiving to him who had given success to the purifying of his own holy place. 8. They decreed by public edict, ratified by vote, that the whole nation of the Jews should observe these days every year. 9. Such then was the end of Antiochus, who was called Epiphanes.
בבלי שבת כא ע " ב ► Our Rabbis taught: The precept of Hanukkah [demands] one light for a man and his household; the zealous [kindle] a light for each member [of the household]; and the extremely zealous, — Beth Shammai maintain: On the first day eight lights are lit and thereafter they are gradually reduced, but Beth Hillel say: On the first day one is lit and thereafter they are progressively increased. ‘Ulla said: In the West [Palestine] two amoraim, R. Jose b. Abin and R. Jose b. Zebida, differ therein: one maintains, The reason of Beth Shammai is that it shall correspond to the days still to come, and that of Beth Hillel is that it shall correspond to the days that are gone; but another maintains: Beth Shammai's reason is that it shall correspond to the bullocks of the Festival; whilst Beth Hillel's reason is that we promote in [matters of] sanctity but do not reduce.
2 Maccabees 6:7 ► On the monthly celebration of the king’s birthday, the Jews were taken, under bitter constraint, to partake of the sacrifices; and when a festival of Dionysus was celebrated, they were compelled to wear wreaths of ivy and to walk in the procession in honor Dionysus.
► The original medieval dice used in Germany by gamblers was inscribed with the four letters: N, G, H, and S, which are the initials: Nichts (“nothing”), Ganz (“all”), Halb (“half”), and Stellein (“put in”). – Encyclopedia Judaica “Folklore”
Kedushefy ► Winter Solstice becomes religious day of hope and trust in Hashem. ► Celebration of lights becomes symbol of Hashem’s providence even in times of darkness. ► Ivy bands for Dionysis become part of rededication celebration. ► European gambling game becomes symbol of perseverance.
Antiochus IV Epiphanes
From the Hasmoneans to Roman Revolt
1. Mattathias ben Johanan [ ? BCE] Mattathias ben JohananMattathias ben Johanan Hasmonean Dynasty Hasmonean Dynasty _____ _____________ __ _ __________|_____ ___ ________________________ | | | | | Johanan Gaddi 4. Simon Thassi [ruled BCE] Simon ThassiSimon Thassi 2. Judah Maccabee [ ? BCE] Judah MaccabeeJudah Maccabee Eleazar Avaron 3. Jonathan Apphus [ruled BCE] Jonathan ApphusJonathan Apphus _____ ________|____ __ ___________ | | | Mattathias [ ?-134 BCE] Judah [ ?- 134 BCE] 5. Johanan Hyrcanus [ruled BCE] Johanan HyrcanusJohanan Hyrcanus _________ __________|_____ ___ _________ | | | 6. Aristobulus I (Judah) [ruled BCE] Aristobulus IAristobulus I Antigonus (Matthew) [ ? BCE] 7. Alexander Jannai (Jonathan) [ruled BCE] Alexander JannaiAlexander Jannai= 8. Salome Alexandra [ruled BCE] Salome AlexandraSalome Alexandra ___________________| | | 10. Hyrcanus II (Jonathan) [ruled (d. 30) BCE] Hyrcanus II Hyrcanus II 9. Aristobulus II (Judah) [ruled (d. 49) BCE] Aristobulus IIAristobulus II ||_______| ___ _ | Alexandra [ ? - 28 BCE] = Alexander [ ? - 49 BCE] 11. Antigonus (Matthe) [ruled BCE] Antigonus __________| Aristobulus III [ ? - 35 BCE] | | | | Mariamne Mariamne [ ? - 29 BCE] Mariamne= 12. Herod (the Great) [ruled 38-4 BCE] Herod (the Great) Herod (the Great) ________|_____ | | Aristobulus IV Aristobulus IV [ ca BCE] Aristobulus IV Alexander [ ca BCE] Elephant fell on him
Judah the Maccabee ► BCE ► Led the revolt against the Seleucids ► Purified the Temple in 164 BCE
Jonathan ► Ruler BCE ► Brother of Judah ► first Hasmonean to be High Priest in 153 BCE
Simon ► Ethnarch and High Priest ► BCE ► Is granted tax exemption from Demetrius II ► Removes Seleucid garrison in Jerusalem ► Gains total political independence ► Murdered by his son-in-law together with two older sons
John Hyrcanus ► Ethnarch and High Priest ► Son of Simon ► BCE ► Forced the Idumeans to convert (including Antipater’s father, grandfather of Herod) ► Destroys Samaritan Temple in 128BCE
► Coin of John Hyrcanus ( BCE) ► יהונתן הכהן הגדול וחבר היהודים
כתב עברי Paleo-Hebrew
Double Perutah coin of John Hyrcanus. Pair of cornucopiae and a crested helmet. Reads: “Yehochanan the High Priest and Leader of the Community of the Jews.”
Bar Kokhba Coin Front: the Aron in the middle and star above. “שמעון” Back: Lulav. “לחרות ירושלם“ in Ketav Ivri (Ancient Hebrew script)
Bar Kokhba Coin ► Front: Trumpets. " לחרות ירושלים " ► Back: Lyre. " ש [ נה ] ב לחר [ ות ] ישראל "
Judah Aristobulus I ► King and High Priest ► BCE ► Son of John Hyrcanus ► First to call himself king ► Imprisons mother and three brothers. Kills another brother. ► Married to Salome Alexandra
► Coin of Judah Aristobulus ► יהודה הכהן הגדול וחבר היהודים
Alexander Yannai ► King and High Priest ► BCE ► Son of John Hyrcanus ► Married Salome Alexandra, his brother’s widow ► Practiced Sadduecean law and was pelted by Etrogim. Kills 6,000 Jews in retaliations. ► Killed 50,000 in civil war. ► Crucified 800 Pharisees ► Advises his wife before dying to yield to the Pharisees!
Alexander Yannai " יהונתן הכהן הגדול וחבר היהודים "
► Sun wheel, “ יהונתן המלך “ ► Anchor, “King Alexander” in Greek
► Flower and Anchor with “King Yannai” ► Restamped with “Yonatan the High Priest and the Community of the Jews” ► Went back to original type
Salome Alexandra & Sons ► Salome is queen of Judea BCE ► Her two sons Hyrcanus II and Aristobulus II fight over the crown. Both appeal for help from the Romans. ► Pompey imprisons Aristobulus II and makes Hyrcanus II high priest in 63BCE. ► Hyrcanus serves 63-40BCE ► Antignos serves 40-37BCE ► Herod marries Mariamne, granddaughter of Hyrcanus and Aristobulus.
1. Mattathias ben Johanan [ ? BCE] Mattathias ben JohananMattathias ben Johanan Hasmonean Dynasy Hasmonean Dynasy _____ ______________ _ _ __________|______ __ ________________________ | | | | | Johanan Gaddi 4. Simon Thassi [ruled BCE] Simon ThassiSimon Thassi 2. Judah Maccabee [ ? BCE] Judah MaccabeeJudah Maccabee Eleazar Avaron 3. Jonathan Apphus [ruled BCE] Jonathan ApphusJonathan Apphus _____ ________|_____ _ ___________ | | | Mattathias [ ?-134 BCE] Judah [ ?- 134 BCE] 5. Johanan Hyrcanus [ruled BCE] Johanan HyrcanusJohanan Hyrcanus _________ __________|______ __ _________ | | | 6. Aristobulus I (Judah) [ruled BCE] Aristobulus IAristobulus I Antigonus (Matthew) [ ? BCE] 7. Alexander Jannai (Jonathan) [ruled BCE] Alexander JannaiAlexander Jannai= 8. Salome Alexandra [ruled BCE] Salome AlexandraSalome Alexandra ___________________| | | 10. Hyrcanus II (Jonathan) [ruled (d. 30) BCE] Hyrcanus II Hyrcanus II 9. Aristobulus II (Judah) [ruled (d. 49) BCE] Aristobulus IIAristobulus II ||_______|____ | Alexandra [ ? - 28 BCE] = Alexander [ ? - 49 BCE] 11. Antigonus (Matityahu ) [ruled BCE] Antigonus __________| Aristobulus III [ ? - 35 BCE] | | | | Mariamne Mariamne [ ? - 29 BCE] Mariamne= 12. Herod (the Great) [ruled 38-4 BCE] Herod (the Great) Herod (the Great) ________|_____ | | Aristobulus IV Aristobulus IV [ ca BCE] Aristobulus IV Alexander [ ca BCE]
► Coin of Mattathias Antigonus (40-37BCE) with Menorah and Shulhan
Influences of Greco- Roman Thought on the Rabbis תלמוד בבלי מסכת מגילה דף ט עמוד ב אמר רבי חייא בר אבא : היינו טעמא דכתיב יפת אלהים ליפת – יפיותו של יפת יהא באהלי שם.
Ben Zoma, Pirke Avot 4:1 ► משנה מסכת אבות פרק ד משנה א ► בן זומא אומר איזהו חכם הלומד מכל אדם שנאמר ( תהלים קי " ט ) מכל מלמדי השכלתי ► איזהו גבור הכובש את יצרו שנאמר ( משלי טו / טז /) טוב ארך אפים מגבור ומושל ברוחו מלוכד עיר ► איזהו עשיר השמח בחלקו שנאמר ( תהלים קכ " ח ) יגיע כפיך כי תאכל אשריך וטוב לך אשריך בעולם הזה וטוב לך לעולם הבא ► איזהו מכובד המכבד את הבריות שנאמר ( שמואל א ' ב ') כי מכבדי אכבד ובוזי יקלו :
Quotes from Roman Writers ► Who then is sane? He who’s no fool. (Horace [56-8BCE], Satires, II.iii.158) ► Who then is free? The Sage who masters himself. (Horace, Satires II.vii.83) ► To be content with one’s things are riches. (Cicero, Paradoxa Stiocorum, 51) ► A noble thing is joyful poverty. (Seneca, Epistle II.5) ► Honoring the Sage is a great bonus to the honorers. (Gnomologium Vaticanum, 32) ► Only the Sage is sane. Only the Sage is free. Only the Sage is rich. (Cicero, pro Murena 60-66)
Kohelet Rabbah 5:14 AS HE CAME FORTH OF HIS MOTHER’ S WOMB [naked shall he go back as he came, and shall take nothing for his labor] (5:14). Genibah said: It is like a fox who found a vineyard which was fenced in on all sides. There was one hole through which he wanted to enter, but he was unable to do so. What did he do? He fasted for three days until he became lean and frail, and so got through the hole. Then he ate [of the grapes] and became fat again, so that when he wished to go out he could not pass through at all. He again fasted another three days until he became lean and frail, returning to his former condition, and went out. When he was outside, he turned his face and gazing at the vineyard, said, ' O vineyard, O vineyard, how good are you and the fruits inside! All that is inside is beautiful and commendable, but what enjoyment has one from you? As one enters you so he comes out.’ Such is this world.
Aesop’s Fables A hungry fox spied some bread and meat left in a hollow tree by some shepherds. He crawled in and ate it, but his belly swelled so that he could not get out again. As he moaned and groaned, another fox passing by came up and asked what was the matter. When he heard what had happened, he said to the first fox: “I guess you’ll just have to wait until you get back to the size you were when you went in, and then you won’t have any trouble getting out.” The story shows that time overcomes difficulties.
More Fables ► (Baba Kama 60b) When R. Ammi and R. Assi were sitting before R. Isaac the Smith, one of them said to him: ‘Will the Master please tell us some legal points?’ while the other said: ‘Will the Master please give us some homiletical instruction?’ When he commenced a homiletical discourse he was prevented by the one, and when he commenced a legal discourse he was prevented by the other. He therefore said to them: I will tell you a parable: To what is this like? To a man who has had two wives, one young and one old. The young one used to pluck out his white hair, whereas the old one used to pluck out his black hair. He thus finally remained bald on both sides. He further said to them: I will accordingly tell you something which will be equally interesting to both of you… ► (Aesop’s Fables) In the old days, when men were allowed to have many wives, a middle-aged man had one wife that was old and one that was young; each loved him very much, and desired to see him like herself. Now the Man's hair was turning grey, which the young Wife did not like, as it made him look too old for her husband. So every night she used to comb his hair and pick out the white ones. But the elder Wife saw her husband growing grey with great pleasure, for she did not like to be mistaken for his mother. So every morning she used to arrange his hair and pick out as many of the black ones as she could. The consequence was the man soon found himself entirely bald. Yield to all and you will soon have nothing to yield.
Studying Greek Rabban Gamaliel was given permission to teach the students Greek due to the relationship with the Romans. (Tosefta Sot 15:8) R. Gamaliel's son, Rabbi Simeon even said, "There were a 1000 pupils in my father's house; 500 studied the Torah and 500 studied Greek wisdom." (Bavli Sota 49b)
May a Jew study Greek? תלמוד ירושלמי מסכת פיאה פרק א דף טו טור ג / ה " א ► שאלו את רבי יהושע מהו שילמד אדם את בנו יוונית אמר להם ילמדנו בשעה שאינה לא יום ולא לילה דכתיב והגית בו יומם ולילה ► מעתה אסור לאדם ללמד את בנו אומנות בגין דכתיב והגית בו יומם ולילה ► והתני ר ' ישמעאל ובחר ' בחיים זו אומנות ► רבי בא בריה דרבי חייא בר ווא רבי חייא בשם רבי יוחנן מפני המסורות ► רבי אבהו בשם רבי יוחנן מותר לאדם ללמד את בתו יוונית מפני שהוא תכשיט לה ► שמע שמעון בר ווה אמר בגין דו בעה מלפה בנתיה הוא תלי ליה בר ' יוחנן יבא עלי אם שמעתיה מר ' יוחנן ► They asked R. Yehoshua, May one teach his son Greek? He replied, he may teach it at a time which is neither day nor night for it is written, You shall study it day and night. ► If so, then one may not teach his son a trade since it is written, You shall study it day and night. ► But didn’t R. Ishmael say, Choose life – this is a trade. ► R. Abba…because of the slanderers. ► R Abhu said in the name of R. Yohanan, One may teach his daughter Greek for it serves her as an ornament. ► Shimon bar Abba heard this. He said, because he wanted to teach his daughters he ascribed it to R. Yohanan. May [a curse] come upon me if I heard this from R. Yohanan.
Pandora’s Jar Beresheet Rabbah, ► “And he said, I heard Your voice, and I was afraid for I am naked and I hid. And he said, who told you that you are naked?” (Gen 3:9-10) ► Rabbi Levi said, This should be compared to a woman who comes to borrow vinegar, who enters into the house of the wife of a colleague. ► She [the borrower] asks her [the wife], “How does your husband treat you?” ► She [wife] said to her [visitor], “Everything he does with me is good, except that there is this jar, which is full of snakes and scorpions, which he does not let me touch.” ► She [visitor] said, “All of his jewels are in there. And he plans to marry another woman and give them to her.” ► What did she [wife] do? She stretched out her hand into the jar. They began to bite her. ► When her husband came, he heard her voice crying out, and said, “Perhaps you touched that jar?” ► Similarly [God said to Adam]: “Did you eat from the tree which I commanded you?” (Gen 3:11)
Josephus on Pompey ► No small enormities were committed about the temple itself, which, in former ages, had been inaccessible, and seen by none; for Pompey went into it, and not a few of those that were with him also, and saw all that which it was unlawful for any other men to see but only for the high priests. ► There were in that temple the golden table, the holy candlestick, and the pouring vessels, and a great quantity of spices; and besides these there were among the treasures two thousand talents of sacred money: yet did Pompey touch nothing of all this, on account of his regard to religion; and in this point also he acted in a manner that was worthy of his virtue. ► The next day he gave order to those that had the charge of the temple to cleanse it, and to bring what offerings the law required to God; and restored the high priesthood to Hyrcanus, both because he had been useful to him in other respects, and because he hindered the Jews in the country from giving Aristobulus any assistance in his war against him Antiquities 14.4
Pompey Enters the Holy of Holies ► The first Roman to subdue the Jews and set foot into their Temple by right of conquest was Gnaeus Pompey: thereafter it was a matter of common knowledge that there were no representations of the gods within, but that the place was empty and the secret shrine contained nothing. Tacitus Histories
Rambam and His Detractors ► רמב " ם הלכות עבודת כוכבים פרק יא הלכה יא מי שנשכו עקרב או נחש מותר ללחוש על מקום הנשיכה ואפילו ו בשבת כדי ליישב דעתו ולחזק לבו, אף על פי שאין הדבר מועיל כלום הואיל ומסוכן הוא התירו לו כדי שלא תטרף דעתו עליו. ► ביאור הגר " א יורה דעה קעט ס " ק יג אבל כל הבאים אחריו חלקו עליו שהרי הרבה לחשים נאמרו בגמרא והוא נמשך אחר הפילוסופיא ולכן כתב שכשפים ושמות ולחשים ושדים וקמיעות הכל הוא שקר אבל כבר הכו אותן על קדקדו שהרי מצינו הרבה מעשיות בגמרא על פי שמות וכשפים
Adapted from Rabbi Berel Wein ► “What happened to the Hellenists? Their influence all but collapsed in the wake of the defeat. They would never return again as Hellenists, because the war brought out their true colors as traitors and they lost whatever appeal they could have had to the Jewish people. ► Most of them retreated to the city of Caesarea, which remained a Greek city (and later would become a Roman city). They were just not part of the Jewish people any longer.”
Elias Bickerman From Ezra to the Last of the Maccabees ► “Judaism was able to enrich itself with new and foreign ideas and to be saved from the mummification that overtook the religion of the Egyptians, for example, which shut itself off from Hellenism completely. ► The Maccabees preserved the Judaism of the Greek period from both dissolution and ossification. It is through their deeds that the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob could and did remaind our God.”