Chanukah: The Maccabee struggle against the Hellenists, the miracles,
victories and defeats.
After a series of astounding victories over the armies of the Syrian Greeks, the Maccabees entered the deserted and polluted ruins of what had once been their Temple. After purifying the Temple grounds, and building a new altar and candelabra (Menorah), they discovered a pure and unpolluted cruse of oil to use to light the Menorah. Miraculously, it lasted for eight days. It was a sign that the Divine Presence had returned both to the Temple and to the Jewish people. The initial victories, however, had achieved neither independence nor security for the Jews. Time and again the Greek government, under successive rulers, sent superior forces to reverse the gains that had been achieved by the Maccabees and to once again restore the assimilated Jews to their positions of power. The Greeks even appointed an assimilated Jew, Alcimus, to replace Menelaus in the position of High Priest, and sent troops to secure his position. The story of the Chanukah miracle and the continuing struggle for dominance over Judea is the subject of this lecture.
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