History of Hanukkah

history of hanukkah
Are you sick of all the weird foreign names involved in the history of Hanukkah? Here is a very simple introduction of Hanukkah’s history with the least effort and intelligence needed to read!

What Does Hanukkah Mean?

The meaning of Hanukkah is “dedication”. And this simply refers to the re-dedication of the holy temple in Jerusalem.

So, in the beginning… Where the story took place:

ancient israel mapAs we know, Jews lived in Eretz Yisrael (Land of Israel) for thousands of years, they were sometimes forced out, but they always managed to get back to their homeland…
They had once a united kingdom named “United Kingdom of Israel” and later was split into two kingdoms. Kingdom of Israel (in the north) and Kingdom of Judah (in the south).
The northern Kingdom of Israel was conquered and vanished, and only the southern Kingdom of Judah continued into existence…

The fall of the Kingdom of Judah – Hellenized Jews…

Academically, this is the most important part of the entire history of Hanukkah.To make long story simple, Kingdom of Judah came under conquest and a new king inherited its reign. That king wasn’t the best. His name was Antiochus IV.Meanwhile some Jews, specially young ones, admired the Hellenist (Greek) way of life and tried to adopt it as much as they could, from sports to religion, everybody wanted to go Hellenic! Those are referred to as “Hellenized Jews”. There are proofs that some young men underwent extremely-painful medical operations to look as if they were never circumcised… Ouch!
There was a huge debate that led to lots of clashes between Hellenized Jews and traditional Jews.
That king decided at some point to take side of the Hellenized Jews, he even went further and banned most practices of traditional Judaism, and worse, he forced the city of Jerusalem to “worship” the god Zeus.
Worst part if that Antiochus’ soldiers converted the holy temple in Jerusalem to a place for pig sacrifices to the Greek gods.

Maccabean Revolt

Jews didn’t give up on their traditions and land. There rose a revolution called the Maccabean Revolt.
The Maccabees were the rebels against that Hellenic occupation. The most famous character of those rebels is Judah Maccabee. Somehow the revolution made it and Jerusalem came back into the hands of Jews (observant ones).

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