Saturday, 30 November 2013

Women and Hanukah

I gave a class on Shabbat on Women and Hanukah. Click on the source sheet here. This shiur was based on a great article by Rabbi Yaakov Medan co-Rosh Yeshivat Har Etzion. His article can be found here on  VBM

The class was a discussion on the role of women during the Hanukah period. Were they afflicted by the Greeks as much as the men and since they were beneficiaries of the military miracle they light the Hanukah lights or were they the agentד through which the military miracle took place through the Jewish heroine Yehudit who killed the Greek General Holofernes? Here is the story brought on

Rabbi Medan however, suggests that the texts mentioning the story of Yehudit did not necessarily happen and maybe an amalgamation of a number of stories such as Yael the Kenite who killed Sisera in Sefer Shoftim - the book of judges and stories of Roman persecution in the time of Bar Kochba.

Rabbi Medan concludes his article by suggesting the most likely thing that the Jewish women did in the time of Hanukah was that they were willing to die in order that their sons have Brit Milah (as quoted in the Book of the Macabees) and it was this sacrifice that heralded their male counterparts to start a rebellion under Mattityahu. It could well be that this is hinted at by the fact that Hanukah lasts 8 days aligning to the 8th day when the brit milah takes place.

Happy Hanukah /Hanukah Allegre/חנוכה שמח!

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