Profile of the Day: Mattathias

Posted December 2, 2010 by Geni | One Comment

History states that when the Second Temple in Jerusalem was looted and services stopped, Judaism was  outlawed. In 167 BCE Antiochus ordered an altar to Zeus erected in the Temple.

Antiochus’s actions provoked a large-scale revolt by Mattathias, a Jewish priest, and his five sons Jochanan, Simeon, Eleazar, Jonathan, and Judah, as they led a rebellion against Antiochus. By 165 BCE the Jewish revolt against the Seleucid monarchy was successful and the Temple was liberated and rededicated.

The festival of Hanukkah was instituted by Judah Maccabee and his brothers to celebrate this event. After recovering Jerusalem and the Temple, he ordered the Temple to be cleansed, a new altar to be built and new holy vessels to be made. According to the Talmud, olive oil was needed for the menorah in the Temple, which was required to burn throughout the night every night. But there was only enough oil to burn for one day, yet miraculously, it burned for eight days, the time needed to prepare a fresh supply of oil for the menorah. An eight day festival was declared by the Jewish sages to commemorate this miracle.

Hanukkah also known as the Festival of Lights is an eight-day Jewish holiday commemorating the rededication of the Holy Temple (the Second Temple) in Jerusalem at the time of the Maccabean Revolt of the 2nd century BCE.

It is observed for eight nights and days, starting on the 25th day of Kislev according to the Hebrew calendar, which may occur at any time from late November to late December in the Gregorian calendar.

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