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Wow! Magazine by Joshua Pundit

Hanukkah, the Festival of Lights is celebrated this week.

While many of you may be familiar with the story of the Miracle of the Oil, the truth is that Hanukkah really celebrates another miracle – the miracle of a group of untrained farmers and tradesman with hardly any arms or experience in war utterly defeating the professional armies of the Seleucid Empire, a victory for freedom that belongs to all of us alike, Jew and Gentile.

Hanukkah celebrates not only one of the important events in Jewish history but is a celebration of the triumph of faith,of light over darkness. It takes place every year,usually in mid to late December, but while its date varies if you go by the western calendar, in the Hebrew calendar Hanukkah always falls on the eve of the 24th day of the Hebrew month of Kislev.

This war for Jewish independence took place in the second century B.C.E. The story is told in the First Book of Maccabees, and retold in the Second Book of Maccabees. An excellent contemporary military history of the war can be found in Battles of the Bible, coauthored by Chaim Herzog and Mordechai Gichon.

After his death, Alexander the Great’s empire broke into several parts, and Israel was under the control of the Seleucid Greek empire, based in Syria. Israel had lived peacefully under the Persian Empire and under the Ptolemic empire (of Egypt), both which tolerated Judaism but the Seleucid Emperor Antiochus Epiphanes was an arrogant, bigoted ruler who attempted to force the Jews to abandon their religion and to adopt the Seleucid Greek customs and worship,which included idolatry[…]

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Joshua Pundit (Rob Miller) is The Watcher of Wow! Magazine.  Feel free to check out the archive of essays written by Joshua Pundit at Wow! and at his website, Joshua Pundit.