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Judaism is a much different religion from Christianity. Jews have different beliefs, traditions, and different ideas about how the world should see God. I personally believe that the most fascinating tradition of Judaism is Hanukkah. The hope of this essay is to discuss some of the many aspects of Hanukkah. An example of which is the history of Hanukkah, the celebration of candles, and the activities in which partake in to celebrate this special occasion.
The history of Hanukkah is a story of the struggle for religious freedom and it commemorates the victory of the Jews over the Hellenistic Syrians in the year 165 B.C.E. The story begins in 338 B.C.E. when Philip of Macedon invaded Greece. Athens and the Greek states, along with their pagan customs, became part of the Macedonian empire. Two years later, Philip died, and his son, Alexander, assumed the throne. Alexander the Great, as he was known, conquered territories from Macedonia and Greece across the Persian empire to the borders of India. Included in this empire were Egypt and Israel, then considered part of Syria. When Alexander's army reached Jerusalem, the Jews, already under Syrian occupation, did not resist. It was Alexander and his forces that first brought Hellenism to Jerusalem and the Jewish people. However, the Jews did not rush to adopt the Greek religion and culture. For all its beauty and accomplishments, especially in the fields of athletics, theater and philosophy, Hellenism had a dark side. In ancient Greece, behavior that is today considered abnormal, such as infanticide, pedophilia, adultery and institutionalized prostitution, were routine and even encouraged. To Jews, who valued the Torah and purity of family life, these aspects of Hellenistic culture were incompatible with their own. When Alexander died, his empire was divided between his generals: Antigonus, Seleucus, and Ptolemy. Antigonus ruled Macedonia and Greece; Seleucus ruled Babylonia, Persia and Syria; and Ptolemy ruled Egypt and Israel. Like Alexander, Ptolemy was a great champion of Hellenism. The empire he established dominated Israel for almost 100 years. It was under Ptolemaic rulers that many Jews began to adopt aspects of Greek culture. These Jews were referred to as Hellenists. For them, Greek culture represented the way of the future and the fastest way to succeed in Greek society. In 199 B.C.E., the Seleucid dynasty that ruled Syria took control of Israel from the Greek Ptolemies. It was under the Seleucids that anti-Jewish decrees were first issued against the practice of Judaism. Sabbath observance, the study of Torah, and male circumcisions, for example, were forbidden on pain of death. In the year 167 B.C.E. the Greek king, Antiochus Epiphanes began a campaign to force the Jews under his rule to formally adopt Greek practices. One Jewish family, five sons and their old father, took a stand. One day Greek forces arrived at the home of Mattityahu, an elder and religious leader of the prestigious Hasmonean family. There, the army established a Greek religious altar and ordered Mattityahu to offer a sacrifice to a pagan god. Mattityahu refused, but while he stood firm, another Jew offered to make the sacrifice. Enraged, Mattityahu killed him and attacked t
Terminology mentioned in this term paper
Names mentioned in this term paper
Alexander, Mattityahu, Philip, Judah Maccabee, Antiochus Epiphanes,
Organizations mentioned in this term paper
Locations talked about in this essay
Israel, Athens, behavior, Syria, Jerusalem, Macedonia, Egypt, Greek, Persia, India, Macedon,
Holiday talked about in this research material
Facility included in this essay
Jewish Temple, Temple,
Keywords referenced in this essay
Hanukkah, candles, Jews, Jewish, Hanukkah menorah, Greek, dreidel, Jewish people, miracle, first night, Our God, Hanukah, Greek culture, our ancestors, maccabees, the first night, one player, Jewish Temple, empire, Greece, Jewish rebellion, Israel, Jewish family, cheese, Jewish tradition, Jewish cuisine, Jewish worship, Judaism, Jewish community, nights, Christmas, Greek society, a miracle, Shamash, a little bit, the jews, Macedonian empire, holy, These words, Persian empire, one piece, pennies, pagan god, ancient greece, Seleucid dynasty, one word, Hellenistic culture, Syria, Christmas decorations, Judah Maccabee,