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Wednesday, December 09, 2015

Learning About the Hasmonean's Military Victories

In the Al Hanissim prayer, which we recite many times throughout the eight days of Hannukah, we thank God for helping the Jewish People defeat the armies of the Syrian-Greeks:
And [we thank You] for the miracles, for the redemption, for the mighty deeds, for the saving acts, and for the wonders which You have wrought for our ancestors in those days, at this time—

In the days of Matityahu, the son of Yochanan the High Priest, the Hasmonean and his sons, when the wicked Hellenic government rose up against Your people Israel to make them forget Your Torah and violate the decrees of Your will. But You, in Your abounding mercies, stood by them in the time of their distress. You waged their battles, defended their rights, and avenged the wrong done to them. You delivered the mighty into the hands of the weak, the many into the hands of the few, the impure into the hands of the pure, the wicked into the hands of the righteous, and the wanton sinners into the hands of those who occupy themselves with Your Torah. You made a great and holy name for Yourself in Your world, and effected a great deliverance and redemption for Your people Israel to this very day. Then Your children entered the shrine of Your House, cleansed Your Temple, purified Your Sanctuary, kindled lights in Your holy courtyards, and instituted these eight days of Chanukah to give thanks and praise to Your great Name.

How many of us know the details of these battles that we mention in our prayers so often? How many of us know where they took place and how they were fought?

Dr. Hagai Ben-Artzi has an online series explaining the battles. Here are the first four parts:

Update: parts 5. 6 and 7:

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