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מִדְרַשׁ מַעֲשֶׂה חֲנֻכָּה ב׳ | Midrash Ma’aseh Ḥanukkah “bet,” a retelling of Megillat Antiokhus as Midrash Aggadah

A retelling of the story found in Megillat Antiokhus as midrash aggadah. This is the first English translation of it, as far as we know. This Midrash appears to be the source for the Ladino Megillat Antiokhus containing details of sexual violence and an expansion of the story of the final battle between the Seleucid Greeks and the Hasmonean Maccabees.

Source (Hebrew) Translation (English)

בִּשְׁנַת עֶשְׂרִים וְשָׁלוֹשׁ שָׁנִים לְמֶלֶךְ אַנְטְיוּכָּס הוּא שְׁנַת הַשְּׁלוֹשׁ עֶשְׂרֵה וּמָאתַיִם לְבִנְיַן בַּיִת שֵׁנִי רוּחַ רָעָה נֹסְסָה בוֹ וְחֶרֶב חַדָּה לְשׁוֹנוֹ שְׁלוּפָה מִתְעָרָה לְהַכּוֹת אֶרֶץ בְּשֵׁבֶט פִּיו׃ 
In the twenty-third year of King Antiokhus, that is the two hundred and thirteenth year from the building of the Second Temple, an evil spirit drove him on[1]Isaiah 59:19, his tongue was a sharp sword[2]Psalm 57:5 outstretched from its sheath[3]I Samuel 17:51, to strike down the land with the rod of his mouth[4]Isaiah 11:4.

וַיַּ֣עַן וַיֹּא֔מֶר לְכׇל־שָׂרָ֖יו וַעֲבָדָ֑יו הַֽפַּרְתְּמִ֛ים הַיֹּשְׁבִ֥ים רִאשֹׁנָ֖ה בַּמַּלְכֽוּת׃ הֲל֤וֹא תֵֽדְעוּ֙ הֲל֣וֹא תִשְׁמָ֔עוּ כִּי הִנֵּה עַם בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל אֲשֶׁר בִּירוּשָׁלִַם גּ֖וֹי עַ֣ז פָּנִ֑ים וְדָתֵיהֶ֞ם שֹׁנ֣וֹת מִכׇּל־עָ֗ם וְאֶת־דָּתֵ֤י הַמֶּ֙לֶךְ֙ אֵינָ֣ם עֹשִׂ֔ים אֲשֶׁר גָּאוֹן וְגֹבַהּ לָהֶם׃ הָאוֹמְרִים יָדֵינוּ רָמָה וְתָמִיד כׇּל־הַיָּמִים מְקֻיָּם שִׁבְרוֹן הַמְּלָכִים לֵאמֹר׃ כִּֽי־הִנֵּ֤ה הַחֹ֙שֶׁךְ֙ יְכַסֶּה־אֶ֔רֶץ וַעֲרָפֶ֖ל לְאֻמִּ֑ים וְזָ֤רַח בַּחֹ֨שֶׁךְ֙ א֣וֹר לַיְשָׁרִ֔ים וּֽלְכׇל־בְּנֵ֧י יִשְׂרָאֵ֛ל הָ֥יָה א֖וֹר בְּמוֹשְׁבֹתָֽם׃ וְלִי אֲנִי הַמֶּלֶךְ אֵין־שֹׁוֶ֖ה לְהַנִּיחָֽם׃ וְעַתָּה קוּמוּ וְנָקוּמוּ עֲלֵיהֶם לְמִלְחָמָה לְ֭כוּ וְנַכְחִידֵ֣ם מִגּ֑וֹי וְלֹֽא־יִזָּכֵ֖ר שֵֽׁם־יִשְׂרָאֵ֣ל עֽוֹד׃ הָ֥בָה נִֽתְחַכְּמָ֖ה ל֑וֹ לְבַטֵּל מֵהֶם אֶת יוֹם הַשַּׁבָּת וּמִלָּה וְרֹאשׁ חֹדֶשׁ וַיִּיטַב הַדָּבָר בְּעֵינֵי שָׂרָיו וַעֲבָדָיו לַעֲשׂוֹת כִּדְבַר הַמֶּלֶךְ׃
And he answered and said to all his officials and servants, the nobles[5]Esther 1:3 sitting first in the kingdom[6]Esther 1:15: “Do you not know? Have you not heard?[7]Isaiah 40:21 For this people, the children of Yisrael who are in Yerushalayim, are a ruthless nation[8]Deuteronomy 28:50, and their laws are different from all peoples, and the laws of the king they do not obey[9]Esther 3:8, which are great and high for them. They say, ‘Our own hand has prevailed![10]Deuteronomy 32:27 And always, every day, the destruction of kings is fulfilled, as is said: Lo, darkness shall cover the earth, And thick clouds the peoples[11]Isaiah 60:2, and a light shines for the upright in the darkness[12]Psalm 112:4, and all the children of Yisrael had light in their dwellings![13]Exodus 10:23 And to me, I, the King, it is not in my interest to let them be.[14]Esther 3:8 So now get up and we’ll make war upon them; let’s wipe them out as a nation[15]Obadiah 1:1; and Yisrael’s name will be mentioned no more![16]Psalm 83:5 Come, let us be wise about them[17]Exodus 1:10 to nullify their rest day and circumcision and new moon!” And it was good in the eyes of his officials and servants to do according to the word of the king.

בָּעֵת הַהִיא שָׁלַח אֶת־נִיקָנוֺר מִשְׁנֵהוּ בְּחַיִל גָּדוֺל וְעַם רָב׃ וַיָּבֹא לִיְרוּשָׁלִַם וַיָּצַר עָלֶיהָ בְּקוֹל עֲנוֹת וְחֵרוּפִים לְחַרֵף מַעַרְכֹת אֱלֹהִים וַיַהֲרוֺג בָּהּ הֶרֶג רַב׃
At that time he sent Niqanor his second-in-command with a great army and many people.[18]Megilat Antiokhus v. 12 And he went to Yerushalayim and besieged it[19]Daniel 1:1 loudly and defiantly, to defy the rank of God[20]I Samuel 17:36, and he killed there a great many kills[21]Megilat Antiokhus v. 13.

אָמַר רַבִּי שִׁמְעוֹן בֶּן יוֹחַאי בַּת הָיְתָה לוֹ לְמַתִּתְיָהוּ כֹּהֵן גָּדוֹל שֶׁאֵין כְּיׇפְיָהּ בְּכׇל־הָעוֹלָם וּמְקֻדֶּשֶׁת לְאֶחָד מִבְּנֵי חַשְׁמוֹנַאי׃ וּבָא אֶחָד מִן־הַיְוָנִים וּתְפָסָהּ בִּבְלוֹרִיתָהּ וְהִצִּיעַ סֵפֶר תּוֹרָה תַּחְתֶּיהָ וּבָא אֵלֶיהָ בִּפְנֵי אֲרוּסָהּ׃ וּלְהַעֲלוֹת חַמָּה וְלִנְקֹם נָקָם בָּנָה בַּמָּה בְּבֵית הַמִּקְדָּשׁ וְשָׁחֲטוּ חזיר [דָּבָר אַחֵר] וְיָבִיאוּ אֶת־דָּמוֹ אֶל־עֶזְרַת הַקֹּדֶשׁ׃
Said Rabbi Shimon ben Yoḥai, Matityahu the high priest had a daughter whose beauty was unmatched throughout the world, who was betrothed to one of the Ḥashmonai. And one of the [Seleucid] Greeks came and grabbed her by her forelock and laid out a Torah scroll below her and came in her right in front of her fiancé! And when the sun rose, so as to take vengeance, he built an altar in the Holy Temple and slaughtered a you-know-what[22]a euphemistic term for חֲזִיר (pig). and brought its blood to the holy courtyard!

וְר֣וּחַ יְהֹוָ֔ה לָבְשָׁ֖ה אֶת־יוֹחָנָן בֶּן־מַתִּתְיָהוּ וַיְּקַנֵּא קִנְאַת יְהוָה צְבָאוֹת׃ וַיַּחְמֹל עַל עַם הַקֹּדֶשׁ שֶׂה פְזוּרָה יִשְׂרָאֵל וַיִּלְבַּשׁ בִּגְדֵי נָקָם לִנְקֹם נִקְמַת בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל מֵאֵת הַיְּוָנִים׃ וַיִּוָּעֵץ בְּלִבּוֹ וַיַּעַשׂ לוֹ חֶרֶב קְטָנָה וַיַּחְגֹּר אוֹתָהּ תַּחַת מֵעִילוֹ וַיֵּצֵא לִרְחוֹב הָעִיר וַיָּב֕וֹא עַ֖ד לִפְנֵ֣י שַֽׁעַר־הַמֶּ֑לֶךְ׃ וַיִּקְרָא לַשּׁוֹעֲרִים וַיֹּאמֶר אֲלֵיהֶם אֲנִי יוֹחָנָן בֶּן־מַתִּתְיָהוּ הִנְנִי בָּא לָבֹא לִפְנֵי אֲדוֹנֵיכֶם׃ וַיֹּ֨אמְר֜וּ נַעֲרֵ֤י הַמֶּ֙לֶךְ֙ אֶל־הַמֶּלֶךְ הִנֵּ֥ה יוֹחָנָן הַכֹּהֵן הַגָּדוֹל עֹמֵ֣ד בֶּחָצֵ֑ר וַיֹּ֥אמֶר הַמֶּ֖לֶךְ יָבֽוֹא׃
And a divine spirit enclothed[23]Judges 6:34 Yoḥanan son of Matityahu, and he was zealous with the zeal of YHWH of Multitudes[24]Isaiah 37:32. And He had mercy on the Holy People, the scattered flock Yisrael[25]Jeremiah 50:17, and put on the garments of vengeance[26]Isaiah 59:17 to avenge the vengeance of the children of Yisrael upon[27]Numbers 31:2 the [Seleucid] Greeks. And he planned to himself, and he made himself a short sword and strapped it under his robe, and he went out to the city street, and he went up to the gate of the king[28]Esther 4:2. And he called to the gatekeepers and said to them, “I am Yoḥanan son of Matityahu, and I am here having come to come before your master.”

וַיָּבֹא יוֹחָנָן לִפְנֵי הַמֶּלֶךְ וַיֹּאמֶר לוֹ נִיקָנוֹר מַדּ֙וּעַ֙ אַתָּ֣ה עוֹבֵ֔ר אֵ֖ת מִצְוַ֥ת הַמֶּֽלֶךְ וְאֵינְךָ חָפֵץ בִּשְׁלוֹם מַלְכוּתוֹ ׃הֲל֨וֹא יָדַ֜עְתָּ אִם־לֹ֣א שָׁמַ֗עְתָּ כִּי יֶשׁ־לְאֵ֣ל יָדִ֔י בְּכֹחַ גְּבוּרַת חַיָּלוּת לַעֲשׂ֥וֹת עִמָּכֶ֖ם רָ֑ע עַד־בִּלְתִּ֥י הִשְׁאִֽיר־לָכֶם שָׂרִ֥יד וּפָלִֽיט׃ כִּ֥י עַתָּ֛ה גַּם־אֹתְכָ֥ה הָרַ֖גְתִּי וְאוֹתָם שָׂרַפְתִּים כְּ֝קַ֗שׁ לִפְנֵי־רֽוּחַ׃ וּמִ֚י בְּכׇל־אֱלֹהֵ֣י הָאֲרָצ֔וֹת אֲשֶׁר־הִצִּ֥ילוּ אֶת־אַרְצָ֖ם מִיָּדִ֑י כִּֽי־יַצִּ֧יל יְהֹוָ֛ה אֶת־יְרוּשָׁלַ֖‍ִם מִיָּדִֽי׃
And Yoḥanan went before the king, and Niqanor said to him, “Why do you transgress the king’s command,[29]Esther 3:3 and not desire peace of his kingdom? Do you not know, have you not heard[30]Isaiah 40:28 that I have the power (in strength and military might) to do you harm,[31]Genesis 31:29 so that not one of you escapes or gets away![32]Joshua 8:22 For now you as well I should kill[33]Numbers 22:33, and them, I burned them like chaff before the wind![34]Psalm 83:14 And whom among all the national gods have saved their lands from my hand, that YHWH should save Yerushalayim from my hand[35]II Kings 18:35!”

וַיַּעַן יוֹחָנָן לַמֶּלֶךְ לֵאמֹר׃ עַתָּה בָּאתִי אֵלֶיךָ כׇּל־אֲשֶׁר תַּחְפֹּץ אֶעֱשֶׂה לֹ֥א אָס֖וּר מִמִצְוֹתֶיךָ יָמִ֥ין וּשְׂמֹֽאול׃ וְיֹאמַר לוֹ הַמֶּלֶךְ וּבַמֶּ֣ה ׀ יִוָּדַ֣ע אֵפ֗וֹא כִּי אַתָּה סָר אֶל מִשְׁמַעְתִּי׃הַלֹּא כַּאֲשֶׁר תִּקְרַב אֶל הַמִּזְבֵּחַ וְתַּעֲשֶׂה אֶת־חַטָּֽאתְךָ֙ וְאֶת־עֹ֣לָתֶ֔ךָ בְּחָלָב וְדָם הַחֲזִיר הַזֶּה וַתִּלְבַּשׁ בִּגְדֵי מַלְכוּת אֲשֶׁ֥ר לָֽבַשׁ־בּ֖וֹ הַמֶּ֑לֶךְ וַתִּרְכַּב עַל מִרְכֶּ֤בֶת הַמִּשְׁנֶה֙ אֲשֶׁר־ל֔וֹ וַאֲשֶׁ֥ר נִתַּ֛ן כֶּ֥תֶר מַלְכ֖וּת בְּרֹאשֶֽׁךָ׃
And Yoḥanan answered the king and said, “Now I have come to you; all that you desire I will do, I will not turn away from your commands left or right.” And the king said, “And by how will it be known that you have turned to my word? Why not, when you go up to the altar, do your sin and burnt-offerings[36]Leviticus 9:6 with the fat and blood of this swine, and you will wear royal clothes that the king himself wore[37]Esther 6:8, and ride on the second-in-command chariot that is his[38]Genesis 41:43, and a royal crown will be put on your head![39]Esther 6:8

וַיֹּאמֶר יוֹחָנָן אָנֹכִ֖י אֶֽעֱשֶׂ֥ה כִדְבָרֶֽךָ כַּאֲשֶׁ֥ר אֲדֹנִ֖י מְצַוֶּֽה׃ רַק אֵין דָבָר כִּ֣י יָגֹ֗רְתִּי מִפְּנֵ֤י הָאַף֙ וְהַ֣חֵמָ֔ה עַם בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל הֵן אֶזְבַּח תּוֹעֲבַת יהוה עַל הַמִּזְבֵּחַ לְעֵינֵיהֶם וְלֹא יִסְקְלוּנִי׃ אַךְ־בְּזֹאת יֵאוֹת־לִי לַעֲשׂוֹת כִּדְבָרֶךָ בְּהוֹצִיאֲךָ כׇּל־אִישׁ מִלְּפָנֶיךָ וַאֲנִי וְאַתָּה וְאֵין זוּלָתֶךָ וְאָז אֶעֱשֶׂה כִּדְבַר הַמֶּלֶךְ פָּן־יוֹדִיעוּן הַדָּבָר אֶל־עַם בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל׃ וַיִּיטַב֙ הַדָּבָ֔ר בְּעֵינֵ֥י הַמֶּ֖לֶךְ וַיְצַו לֵאמֹר הוֹצִ֥יאוּ כׇל־אִ֖ישׁ מֵעָלָ֑י וְלֹא־עָ֤מַד אִישׁ֙ אִתּ֔וֹ מִכׇּל־הַנִּצָבִים עָלָיו׃
And Yoḥanan said, “I will do as you say[40]Genesis 47:30, as my lord commands[41]Numbers 32:25. Only it can’t be, for I am in fear of the great anger[42]Deuteronomy 9:19 of the people of the children of Yisrael; if I sacrifice an abomination of God upon the altar before their eyes won’t they stone me? Only this can be acceptable[43]Genesis 34:22 for me to do as you say: have every man go away from me, leaving I and you alone and none others, and then I will do according to the word of the king, lest the matter be known to the people of the children of Yisrael. And the matter was good in the eyes of the king[44]Esther 1:21, and he commanded and said, “Every man get away from me!” and not a man was with him[45]Genesis 45:1 from all who stood by him.

וַיְהִי בְּלַכָּתָם וַיִּתְפַּלֵּל יוֹחָנָן לִפְנֵי יהוה וַיֹּאמַר׃ יְהֹוָ֞ה אֱלֹהֵ֤י יִשְׂרָאֵל֙ יֹשֵׁ֣ב הַכְּרֻבִ֔ים אַתָּה־ה֤וּא הָאֱלֹהִים֙ לְבַדְּךָ֔ לְכֹ֖ל מַמְלְכ֣וֹת הָאָ֑רֶץ אַתָּ֣ה עָשִׂ֔יתָ אֶת־הַשָּׁמַ֖יִם וְאֶת־הָאָֽרֶץ׃ הַטֵּה ׀ אׇזְנְךָ֙ וּֽשְׁמָ֔ע פְּקַ֧ח יְהֹוָ֛ה עֵינֶ֖יךָ וּרְאֵ֑ה וּשְׁמַ֗ע אֵ֚ת דִּבְרֵ֣י אַנְטְיוּכָס אֲשֶׁ֣ר שְׁלָח֔וֹ לְחָרֵ֖ף מַעַרְכוֹת אֱלֹהִ֥ים חַיִּ֖ים וּמֶ֣לֶךְ עוֹלָ֑ם׃ אׇמְנָ֖ם יְהֹוָ֑ה הֶחֱרִ֜יבוּ מַלְכֵ֥י אַשּׁ֛וּר אֶת־הַגּוֹיִ֖ם וְאֶת־אַרְצָֽם׃ וְנָתְנ֥וּ אֶת־אֱלֹהֵיהֶ֖ם בָּאֵ֑שׁ כִּי֩ לֹ֨א אֱלֹהִ֜ים הֵ֗מָּה כִּ֣י אִם־מַעֲשֵׂ֧ה יְדֵי־אָדָ֛ם עֵ֥ץ וָאֶ֖בֶן וַֽיְאַבְּדֽוּם׃ וְעַתָּה֙ יְהֹוָ֣ה אֱלֹהֵ֔ינוּ הוֹשִׁיעֵ֥נוּ נָ֖א מִיָּד֑וֹ פֶּן־יֵלֵךְ וְיִשְׁתַּבַּח וְיִתְפָּאַר בְּבֵית־דָּגֹן אֱלֹהָיו לֵאמֹר אֱלֹהַי נְתָנָם בְּיָדִי וְכֹּחִי֙ וְעֹ֣צֶם יָדִ֔י עָ֥שָׂה לִ֖י אֶת־הַחַ֥יִל הַזֶּֽה׃
And it was, when they went out, Yoḥanan prayed before God and said: YHWH, God of Yisrael, who sits on the cherubim, You are God alone of all the nations of the earth; You made the heaven and the earth. Turn your ear and hear, open, God, your eyes and see, and hear the words of[46]II Kings 19:15-16 Antiokhus, which he sent out to defy the rank of the Living God and Eternal Sovereign[47]Jeremiah 10:10! True, YHWH, the kings of Assyria have made ruins of the nations and their lands, and put their gods to the fire, for they are not gods, but works of human hand, wood and stone, and destroyed them. And now, YHWH our God, please save us from his hand,[48]II Kings 19:17-19 lest he go and praise and glorify in the house of Dagon his god and say, ‘My god gave them in my hand, and my strength and the power of my hand won this glory for me![49]Deuteronomy 8:17'”

וּכְכִלּוֹת עֲתִרָתוֹ חִזֵּק וְאָמַץ לְבָבוֹ וַיֹּאמַ֑ר אֲדֹנָ֣י יֱהֹוִ֡ה זׇכְרֵ֣נִי נָא֩ וְחַזְּקֵ֨נִי נָ֜א אַ֣ךְ הַפַּ֤עַם הַזֶּה֙ וְאִנָּקְמָה נִקְמָת־בְנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל׃ וַיִּקְרַב יוֹחָנָן אֵלָיו וַיִּתְקַע הָחֶרֶב בְּלִבּוֹ׃ וַיְהִי בַּאֲשֶׁ֣ר כָּרַ֔ע שָׁ֖ם נָפַ֥ל שָׁדֽוּד אֶת־פְּנֵי הַקֹדֶשׁ׃ וַיְהִ֗י אַ֣ךְ יָצֹ֤א יָצָא֙ יוֹחָנָן כֹּהֵן גָּדוֹל מֵאֵת פְּנֵי־הַקֹּדֶשׁ וַיָּרַע תְּרוּעָה גְדוֹלָה וַיַּעֲרֹךְ מִלְחָמָה בָּעַמִּים וַיַּהֲרֹג בָּהֶם הֶרֶג רַב שִׁבְעָה אֶלֶף וְשֶׁבַע מֵאוֹת וּשְׁנַיִם וְשִׁבְעִים מִבַּלְעֲדֵי הָעָם אֲשֶׁר נֶהֶרְגוּ אִישׁ בְּחֶרֶב רֵעֵהוּ׃
And at the end of his petition he strengthened and fortified his heart and said, “My lord YHWH, remember me, please, and strengthen me please, just this one time, that I may avenge the vengeance[50]Judges 16:28 of the children of Yisrael.” And Yoḥanan drew near, and stabbed the sword into his heart. And it was, when he crouched there, he fell, destroyed[51]Judges 5:27 in the holy presence. And it was, just as Yoḥanan the high priest was leaving[52]Genesis 27:30 from the holy presence, he blew a great blast and laid out war on the peoples, and they killed of them a great many kills — seven thousand seven hundred and seventy-two, not counting the people who were killed by their fellow’s sword.

וַיְהִי כַּאֲשֶׁר שָׁמַע אַנְטִיוּכַס כִּי נֶהֱרַג מִשְׁנֵהוּ נִיקָנוֹר וַיָּצַר לוֹ מְאֹד וַיִּשְׁלַח וַיִּקְרָא לְכׇל־שָׂרָיו וַעֲבָדָיו וְגַם לְמִשְׁנֵהוּ הַגָּדוֹל וַיֹּאמֵר אֲלֵיהֶם הַאִ֚ם בְּג֣וֹי הַזֶ֔ה לֹ֥א תִתְנַקֵּ֖ם נַפְשִֽׁי אֲשֶׁר הִשְׁחִיתוּ וְחָבְלוּ חַיָּלוּת וַיָּבֹזּוּ מַחֲנוֹתַי וְשָׂרַי׃ וְעַתָּה מָה אָנוּ מַחְשִׁים הָבָה נֹא נָבוֹא אֲלֵיהֶם לַמִּלְחָמָה לְבַטֵּל מֵהֶם אֶת־הַשַּׁבָּת וְרֹאשׁ חֹדֶשׁ וּמִלָּה וּמִי הָאֱלֹהִים אֲשֶׁר יַצִּיל אוֹתָם מִיָּדִי׃ וַיִּשְׁלַח אֶת בַּגְרִיס בְּחַיִל גָּדוֹל וְעַם רַב וַיָּבֹא לִיְרוּשָׁלִַם וַיָּצַר עָלֶיהָ׃ וַ֭יַּמְרוּ אֶת־אֱלֹהִ֣ים עֶלְי֑וֹן וַיַּכְעִיס֥וּהוּ בְּבָמוֹתָ֑ם וּ֝בִפְסִילֵיהֶ֗ם יַקְנִיאֽוּהוּ בְּמִזְבַּח אֱלֹהֵיהֶם׃ וַיַּעֲבִירוּ קוֹל בַּמַּחֲנֶה מִטַּעַם הַמֶּלֶךְ לֵאמֹר כׇּל־אִישׁ וָאִישׁ אֲשֶׁר יִשְׁמֹר שַׁבָּתוֹת יהוה וְרֹאשׁ חֹדֶשׁ וּמִלָּה יוּמַת׃
And when Antiokhus heard that his second-in-command Niqanor was killed, it troubled him greatly, and he sent out and called to all his officials and servants, as well as his higher second-in-command, and said to them, “Should I not have this nation be punished[53]Jeremiah 5:29, that destroyed and injured my armies and disgraced my camps and officials? And now, why are we still? Come on, let’s go to war on them, to nullify their rest day and new moon and circumcision, and who is the god who could save them from my hand?” And he sent Bagris with a a great army and many people, and he went to Yerushalayim and besieged it[54]Daniel 1:1. And they rebelled against the highest God[55]Psalm 78:56, and they vexed Him with their high places; and with their idols they incensed Him[56]Psalm 78:58 on the altar of their gods. And they sent out a call in the camp from the king that said: “Every single man who keeps the rest days of YHWH or the new moon or circumcision will die!”

וְרַבִּים מִבְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל בַּיָּמִים הָהֵם מָסְרוּ נָפְשָׁם בַּעֲבוּר כְּבוֹד הַמָּקוֹם בָּרוּךְ הוּא וְלֹא בָּטְלוּ בְּרִית אֲבוֹתָם׃ וְאִשָׁה אַחַת מִבְּנֵי הַלְּוִיִם מָלְתָה אֶת־בְּנָהּ לִשְׁמוֹנָה יָמִים בְּתֻפִּים וּמְחוּלוֹת וְהִיא עָלְתָה עַל־חוֹמַת יְרוּשָׁלַיִם וּבְנָהּ חֲתַן דָּמִים מָהוּל בְּיָדָהּ׃ וַתַּעַן וַתֹּאמֶר לִפְנֵי יהוה כׇּל־זֹ֣את בָּ֭אַתְנוּ וְלֹ֣א שְׁכַחֲנ֑וּךָ וְלֹֽא־שִׁ֝קַּ֗רְנוּ בִּבְרִיתֶֽךָ׃ לֹא־נָס֣וֹג אָח֣וֹר לִבֵּ֑נוּ וַתֵּ֥ט אֲשֻׁרֵ֗ינוּ מִנִּ֥י אׇרְחֶֽךָ׃ וְהִשְׁלִיכָה עָצְמָה עִם בְּנָהּ מֵעַל הַחוֹמָה וַיָּמֻתוּ שְׁנֵיהֶם׃ וְכָמוֹהָ עָשׂוּ רָבִים מִבְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל וְלֹא הֵפֵרוּ אֶת־בְּרִית אֲבוֹתָם וְאֶת־קְדוֹשׁ יִשְׂרָאֵל יַעֲרִיצוּ׃
And many of the children of Yisrael in those days were giving their lives for the sake of the kavod/glory of the blessed Maqom, rather than nullify the covenant of their ancestors. And a certain Levite woman circumcised her sons at eight days with drums and dance, and she went up to the wall of Yerushalayim and her son, the bridegroom of blood[57]Exodus 4:25, she held in her hand. And she answered and said before God, “All this has come upon us, but we have not forgotten You, and we have not been false to Your covenant! Our hearts have not been led astray, our steps have not swerved from Your path![58]Psalm 44:18-19” And she threw herself with her son from atop the wall and the two of them died. And many of the children of Yisrael acted like her rather than break the covenant of their ancestors, or abandon the Holy One of Yisrael.

וּקְהַל קְדוֹשִׁים אָמְרוּ אִישׁ אֶל־רֵעֵהוּ הִנֵּה דְּבַר הַמֶּלֶךְ בְּחַמָּה שְׁפוּכָה לְבַטֵּל מִמֶּנּוּ אֶת הַשַּׁבָּת דִּבְרֵי הָרַב וְדִבְרֵי הַתַּלְמִיד דִּבְרֵי מִי שֶׁשּׁוֹמְעִים וְכָתוּב בְּתוֹרָתֵנוּ שֵׁ֤שֶׁת יָמִים֙ תַּעֲבֹ֔ד וּבַיּ֥וֹם הַשְּׁבִיעִ֖י תִּשְׁבֹּ֑ת הַלֹּא טוֹב לְחָסוּת בַּיהוָה וְנִשְׁבּוֹת אֶת שַׁבְּתוֹתֵינוּ אִם־יְחַיֻּ֣נוּ נִֽחְיֶ֔ה וְאִם־יְמִיתֻ֖נוּ וָמָֽתְנוּ׃ וַיִּוָּעֲצוּ לִשְׁבּוֹת הַשַּׁבָּת בִּמְעָרָה אַחַת הֵם נָשֵׁיהֶם וְטַפָּם׃ וַיֻּגָד לַמֶּלֶךְ לֵאמֹר לֵאמֹ֑ר הִנֵּ֣ה אֲ֠נָשִׁ֠ים בָּ֣אוּ הֵ֧נָּה בִּמְעָרָה אַחַת לִשְׁבֹּת אֶת־שַׁבְּתוֹתָם׃ וַיִּשְׁלַח הַמֶּלֶךְ אֶת־חַיְּלוֹתָיו חֲלוּצִים לַצָּבָא וַיָּשֻׁבוּ עַל־פִּי הַמְּעָרָה׃ וַיִּקְרְאוּ אוֹתָם אֲלֵיהֶם בִּדְבַר הַמֶּלֶךְ לֵאמֹר מַדּוּעַ מְרִיתֶם אֶת־דַּת הַמֶּלֶךְ וְעַתָּה בָּא־נָא וְסוּרוֹ־נָא אֶל־מִשְׁמַעְתוֹ שֶׁלַּמֶּלֶךְ וְהִצַּלְתֶּם אֶת־נַפְשׁוֹתֵיכֶם מִמָּוֶת׃ וַיַּעֲנוּ כׇּל־הָעָם יַחְדָּו לֵאמֹר אֲשֶׁר־דִּבֶּ֥ר יְהֹוָ֖ה נַעֲשֶׂ֥ה וְנִשְׁמָֽע אָשֵׁר צִוַּנִי עַל־הַר סִינַי שֵׁ֤שֶׁת יָמִים֙ תַּעֲבֹ֔ד וּבַיּ֥וֹם הַשְּׁבִיעִ֖י תִּשְׁבֹּ֑ת׃ הֲלֹא טוֹב לָנוּ מָוֶת בְּיָד יהוה פֹּה וְלֹא נְחַלֵּל אֶת־יוֹם הַשַּׁבָּת חַס וְחָלִילָה׃ וְכַאֲשֶׁר רָאוּ כׇּל־אַנְשֵׁי הַצָּבָא כִּי־לֹא אָבוּ הֲלֹךְ בְּדָתֵי מַלְכֵיהֶם וַיָּבִיאוּ עֵצִים וַיִּשְׂרְפוּ עַל־פִּי הַמְּעָרָה וַיָּמוּתוּ לִפְנֵי יהוה כְּאֶלֶף אִישׁ וְאִשָּׁה׃
And the holy congregation said one to another, “Hey, the word of the king in overflowing anger to nullify ourselves the rest day, the words of the teacher and the words of the student, the words of those who hear as it is written in our Torah, ‘Six days shall you work, and on the seventh day rest[59]Exodus 34:21’ – is it not better to trust in YHWH and rest on our rest days? If they let us live we will live, and if they kill us we will die![60]II Kings 7:4” So they planned to rest their rest-days in a certain cave – them, their wives and their children. And the king was told, “Hey, people have come here[61]Joshua 2:2 in one cave to rest rest their rest-days!” And the king sent his soldiers, leaders of the army, and they sat around the cave. And they called to them with the word of the king and said, “Why do you rebel against the king’s law? Now, come and turn to the declaration of the king, and save yourselves from death!” And all the people together responded and said, “What YHWH has said, we will do and hear[62]Exodus 24:7 what He commanded upon Mt. Sinai: ‘Six days shall you work, and on the seventh day rest.'[63]Exodus 34:21 Wouldn’t death by the hand of God here be better than to desecrate the rest day, Heaven forbid?” And when all the army men saw that they did not desire to follow the laws of their kings, they brought wood and burned it at the entrance to the cave, and about a thousand men and women died.

וַיְהִי כִּשְׁמֹעַ יוֹחָנָן בֵּן־מַתִּתְיָהוּ וְאַרְבַּע אָחִיו אֶת־כׇּל־זֹאת אָזְרוּ חַיִל בִּגְבוּרָתָם וּבְעֶזְרָם וּמָגִנָּם שֶׁלַּאֲבִיהֶם שֶׁבַּשָּׁמַיִם אֲשֶׁר בָּטְחוּ־בּוֹ וַיִּלָּחֲמוּ בָּעַמִּים וַיַּהַרְגוּ הֶרֶג רַב אֵין־חֵקֶר וְאֵין־מִסְפָּר לֹֽא־נִשְׁאַ֥ר בָּהֶ֖ם עַד־אֶחָֽד׃ אֶפֶס זוּלָתִי בַּגְרִיס אֲשֶׁר נָס אֶל־אַנְטִיּוֹכְיָא אֶל־הַמֶּלֶךְ וְעִמּוֹ אַנָּשִׁים פְּלִיטֵי חֶרֶב מֻכִּים וּמְעֻנִּים׃ וַיָּעַץ בַּגְרִיס וַיֹּאמֶר לְאַנְטִיוּכַס הֵן אַתָּה שַׂמְתָּ טַעַם לְבַטֵּל אֶת הַשַּׁבָּת רֹאשׁ חֹדֶשׁ וּמִלָּה׃ נָבֹ֣ל תִּבֹּ֔ל גַּם־אַתָּ֕ה גַּם־הָעָ֥ם הַזֶּ֖ה אֲשֶׁ֣ר בְּרַגְלֶיךָ׃ כִּי אִם־יֵלְכוּ כׇּל־הָעָם וְכׇל־הַלְּשׁוֹנוֹת הָאֵלֶּה לֹא יוּכְלוּן לַעֲמֹד בִּפְנֵי חֲמֵשֶׁת בְּנֵי מַתְתֵּיתוֹ כֹּהֵן גָּדוֹל אֲשֶׁר מֵאֲרָיוֹת גָּבְרוּ וּמִנְשָׁרִים קָלוּ׃
And when Yoḥanan son of Matityahu and his four brother heard all this, they girded their loins with strength and with the help and shield of their Father who is in heaven in whom they trusted, and they made war on the peoples and killed a great many kills without boundary or number, not even one of them was left[64]Exodus 14:28. None remained save Bagris who fled to Antioch, to the king, and with him men, sword-refugees, beaten and weary. And Bagris advised and said to Antiokhus, “Hey, did you put out the rule to nullify the rest-day, new moon and circumcision? You will wear yourselves out, you and all the people who are[65]Exodus 18:18 at your feet. For even if all these peoples and languages went out, they could not withstand the presence of the five sons of Matityahu the high priest, who are stronger than lions and swifter than eagles.

וְעַתָּה הַמֶּלֶךְ עֲצָתִי תִּיטַב עָלֶיךָ וְלֹא תִּלְחַם בִּמְתֵי מְעַט פָּן־נִהְיֶה לָבוּז וּלְקַלֵּס לְעֵינֵי כׇּל־הָעַמִּים וּמַלְכֵי־אֶ֭רֶץ וְכׇל־לְאֻמִּ֑ים׃ אִם־עַל־הַמֶּ֣לֶךְ ט֔וֹב יִכָּתֵ֖ב וְנִשְׁלוֹחַ סְפָרִים בְּכׇל־מְדִינוֹת מַלְכוּתֶךָ וַיָּבוֹאוּ כׇּל־שָׂרִי עַם וָעַם וְלֹא־יִשָּׂאֵר מֵהֶם עַד־אֶחָד׃ וַיַּעַשׂ הַמֶּלֶךְ כִּדְבַר בַּגְרִיס וְיָבֹאוּ מִכׇּל־מְדִינוֹת הַמֶּלֶךְ שָׂרֵי עַם וָעַם עִם אֲלָפִים וְרִבְבוֹת חַיָּלוּת חֲלוּצֵי צָבָא׃
And now, king, may my advice be good before you, that you do not battle them with a small number, lest we become a shame and disgrace before all the peoples and the kings of the land and all the nations[66]Psalm 148:11. If it appears good to the king, let it be written[67]Esther 3:9, and let us send books in all the lands of your kingdom and let all the officials of every people go out, and let there not be one of them left.” And the king did according to the word of Bagris, and the king sent out from all the lands the officials of each nation, with thousands upon myriads of soldiers, leaders of the army.

וְכַאֲשֶׁר רָאָה בַּגְרִיס כִּי כַבִּיר מָצְאוֹ יָדוֹ וְחַיָּלִים יִגְבַּר וְרָב מְאֹד מַחֲנֵהוּ אֵין חֵקֶר וְאֵין מִסְפַּר קָם בַּגְרִיס וַיָּבֹא לִיְרוּשָׁלִַם וַיָּצַר עָלֶיהָ וַיְּחָל לְחָרֵ֖ף מַעַרְכוֹת אֱלֹהִ֥ים חַיִּ֖ים וּמֶ֣לֶךְ עוֹלָ֑ם וַיְבַקַּע הַחוֹמָה וַיְנַתֵּק וַיְשַׁבֵּר בַּמִּקְדָּשׁ שְׁלוֹשׁ עֶשְׂרֵה פְּרָצוֹת׃ וְיַחֲשֹׁב בְּלִבּוֹ לֵאמֹר הַפַּעַם הַזֹּאת לֹא יוּכְלוּ לִי כִּֽי־רַ֣ב חֵילִ֑י וְכִֽי־כַ֝בִּ֗יר מָצְאָ֥ה יָדִֽי׃ אָמַר רַבִּי יִצְחָק בַּר נַחְמָנִי אֶלֶף וּשְׁמוֹנִים רִבּוֹא גְּיָסוֹת בָּאוּ עִם בַּגְרִיס הָרָשָׁע׃ וְאָמַר לְיִשְׂרָאֵל שׁוֹטִים אֲתֶּם שֶׁתֹּעֲשׂוּ מִלְחָמָה עִם חַיָּלִים שֶׁאֵין לָהֶם שִׁעוּר׃ אִם תֹּאמְרוּ אֱלֹהֵיכֶם יָבִיא מַבּוּל כְּבָר נִשְׁבַּע שֶׁלֹּא יָבִיא מַבּוּל לְעוֹלָם׃ וְאִם גַּבְרִיאֵל יַעֲמֹד בָּנוּ לִשְׂרֹף אוֹתָנוּ כְּמוֹ שֶׁעָשָׂה לְסַנְחֵרִיב הֲרֵי אָנוּ סְכִים עַצְמֵנוּ בְּדַם חֲזִיר וּבְשִׁכְבַת זֶרַע שֶׁלְּסוּסִים וְלֹא יָגַע בָּנוּ׃
And when Bagris saw that great was his means and his army was growing and very strong, his camps without boundary or number, Bagris got up and went to Yerushalayim and besieged it[68]Daniel 1:1 and began to defy the rank of the Living God and Eternal Sovereign[69]Jeremiah 10:10, and he broke the walls and cut them down and broke thirteen breaches in the Temple. And he said to himself, “This time they cannot overcome me because of my great wealth and the greatness my hands have gained![70]Job 31:25” Said Rabbi Yitsḥaq ben Naḥmani, 801,000 corps came with the wicked Bagris. And he said to Yisrael, “You are idiots to do war with armies that are without limit! If you say your God will bring a flood, it was already sworn that God would not bring another flood ever! And if Gabriel stands among us to burn us as he did to Sanḥerib, behold, we cover ourselves with the blood of swine and the semen of horses, and he cannot touch us!”

נָשְׂאוּ יִשְׂרָאֵל עֵינֵיהֶם לַמָּרוֹם וַיֹּאמְרוּ לֹ֤א לָ֥נוּ יְהֹוָ֗ה לֹ֫א לָ֥נוּ כִּֽי־לְ֭שִׁמְךָ תֵּ֣ן כָּב֑וֹד שֶׁלֹּא יִתְבַּזֶּה בְּעוֹבְדֵי כוֹכָבִים וּמַזָּלוֹת׃ עַכְשָׁיו יֹאמְרוּ אֵין לֵאלֹהֵיהֶם עֵצָה אַחֶרֶת וְכָךְ כְּתִיב גְּדֹל֙ הָֽעֵצָ֔ה וְרַ֖ב הָעֲלִֽילִיָּ֑ה׃ אָמַר הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא חַיֵּיכֶם מַחְשְׁבֹתַי גְּדוֹלָה מִשֶּׁלָּכֶם כִּ֤י ׀ לֹא־יִטֹּ֣שׁ יְהֹוָ֣ה עַמּ֑וֹ וְ֝נַחֲלָת֗וֹ לֹ֣א יַעֲזֹֽב׃
And Yisrael lifted its eyes to on high and they said, “Not for us, YHWH, not for us but for Your own name grant honor[71]Psalm 115:1, that it not be shamed by idolaters! Now they will say ‘their god has no other ideas,’ of whom it is written ‘Great in ideas and vast in deeds'[72]Jeremiah 32:19!” The blessed Holy One said, “By your lives, my ideas are greater than yours, for YHWH will not forsake His people, will not abandon His inheritance.[73]Psalm 94:14

בְּאוֹתָהּ שָׁעָה הָיוּ יִשְׂרָאֵל מְצַפִּים לַהֲרֵי מִזְרַח אוּלַי יָבוֹאוּ לָהֶם עוֹבְדֵי כוֹכָבִים וּמַזָּלוֹת פַּרְסִיִּים לְעֶזְרָתָם׃ אָז חָרָה לוֹ לְמַתִּתְיָהוּ כֹּהֵן גָּדוֹל וְאָמַר לוֹ לְחַשְׁמוֹנַאי וְלֹא כְּתִיב אָר֤וּר הַגֶּ֙בֶר֙ אֲשֶׁ֣ר שָׂ֥ם בָּשָׂ֖ר זְרֹע֑וֹ וּמִן־יְהוָ֖ה יָס֥וּר לִבּֽוֹ וּבָרוּךְ הַגֶּ֔בֶר אֲשֶׁ֥ר יִבְטַ֖ח בַּֽיהוָ֑ה וְהָיָ֥ה יְהוָ֖ה מִבְטַחֽוֹ׃ אָמַר לוֹ יָפֶה אָמַרְתָּ אֲנִי וְשִׁבְעָה בָּנַי וְאַתָּה וַחֲמִשָׁה בְּנִים הֵם שְׁנֵים עָשָׂר שִׁבְטֵי־יָ֭הּ עֵד֣וּת לְיִשְׂרָאֵ֑ל׃ מֻבְטָח אֲנִי בַּקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא שֶׁיַּעֲשֶׂה לָנוּ נִסִּים וְנִפְלָאוֹת׃ וַיָּצוּמוּ וַיִּלְבְּשׁוּ שַׂקִּים וְאֵפֶר לְבַקֵּשׁ רַחֲמִים מִלִּפְנֵי אֱלֹהֵי הַשָּׁמַיִם עֶזְרָם וּמָגִנָּם שֶׁלְּיִשְׂרָאֵל׃ וּכְכַלּוֹתָם לְהִתְפַּלֵּל קָמוּ מִכָּרוּעַ עַל־בִּרְכֵּיהֶם וַיַּעַצְמוּ עַשְׁתָּנוֹתָם׃ מִנְשָׁרִים קָלוּ וּמֵאֲרָיוֹת גָּבְרוּ וַיִּלָּחֲמוּ בָּעַמִּים וַיַּהַרְגוּ בָּהֶם הֶרֶג רַב׃
At the time Yisrael would expect that from the eastern mountains, maybe Persian idolaters would come to help them. Then this was angering to Matityahu the high priest, and he said to him, to Ḥashmonai, “And isn’t written, ‘Cursed is the man who places flesh as his strength and turns his heart from YHWH[74]Jeremiah 17:5,’ and ‘Blessed is the man who trusts in YHWH and whose only trust is in YHWH[75]Jeremiah 17:7?'” And he said, “You have spoken well. I and my seven sons and you and your five sons are like the twelve tribes of YAH, witness to Yisrael[76]Psalm 122:4. I trust that the blessed Holy One will do miracles and wonders for us.” And they fasted and wore sackcloth and ashes to beg for mercy from before the God of Heaven, the help and shield of Yisrael. And when they finished praying they arise from crouching on their knees and composed their thoughts. Faster than eagles, stronger than lions they were, and made war on the people and killed a great many kills.

אָמַר רַבִּי יִצְחָק בַּר־נַחְמָנִי בְּאוֹתָהּ שָׁעָה תָּפַס הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא שִׁבְעִים שָׂרִים שֶׁלְּמַעְלָה מִשָּׂרֵי אוּמוֹת הָעוֹלָם וְרָצַע אוֹתָם בְּמַרְצֵעַ שֶׁלְּאֵשׁ וַיֹּאמֶר לָהֶם הִרְגוּ אִישׁ אֶת־קְרוֹבוֹ וְאִם־יִמָּלֵט אֶחָד מֵהֶם נָפְשֵׁיכֶם תַּחַת נַפְשׁוֹ׃ וּכְשֶׁהָיוּ הַיְוָנִים מוֹרִים חִצִּים וַחֲרָבוֹת בָּאוּ הַמַּלְאָכִים וְנָעֲצוּ אוֹתָם בְּלִבּוֹ שֶׁלַּיִּוּוּנִים הֱוֵי חַ֭רְבָּם תָּב֣וֹא בְלִבָּ֑ם וְ֝קַשְּׁתוֹתָ֗ם תִּשָּׁבַֽרְנָה׃ וְהָיוּ בְּנֵי חַשְׁמוֹנַאי רוֹאִים הַנִּסִּים וְאוֹמְרִים יהוה יִלְחַם לָנוּ׃ וְכׇל־מֶלֶךְ וּמֶלֶךְ מֵהַמְּלָכִים שֶׁנֶּהֱרַג הָיוּ בָּאִים הַמַּלְאָכִים וּמְבַזְבְּזִים מִמֶּנּוּ וְהֵטִילוּ לְבָתֵּיהֶם שֶׁלְּיִשְׂרָאֵל שֶׁהֵם לֹא הָיוּ יְכוֹלִים לִטֹּל אֶת־הַשָּׁלָל מִפְּנֵי הַחֲלָלִים׃
Said Rabbi Yitsḥaq bar Naḥmani, at that time the blessed Holy One caught seventy lower officials from the officials of the nations of the earth and pierced them with an awl of fire, and said to them “Kill the men near you, and if one of them is left your souls for theirs!” And since the [Seleucid] Greeks were educated in arrows and swords, the angels came and inserted them into their hearts, so that their swords would go into their hearts and their bows be broken[77]Psalm 37:15. And the Ḥashmonai were seeing the miracles and saying, “YHWH is fighting for us!” And every single king from the kings who were killed, angels would come up and waste them, and commanded upon the houses of Yisrael that they could not take spoils from the corpses.

וְאֶת־חַיְּלוֹתֵיהֶם מֵהֶם שָׂרְפוּ בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל מֵהֶם דָּקְרוּ בַּחֶרֶב וּמֵהֵם תָּלוּ עַל־הָעֵץ וּבַגְרִיס הָרָשָׁע שָׂרְפוּ אוֹתוֹ בֵּית יִשְׂרָאֵל בָּאֵשׁ׃ וְאַז אַנְטִיוּכָס הַמֶּלֶךְ כַּאֲשֶׁר שָׁמַע אֲשֶׁר נֶהֱרְגוּ בַּגְרִיס וְכׇל־שָׂרֵי הַחַיִל אֲשֶׁר עִמּוֹ וַיָּנׇס בִּמְדִינוֹת הַיָּם׃ וְהָיָה כׇּל־מֹצְאוֹ אוֹתוֹ בַּמָּקוֹם אֲשֶׁר הָיָה שָׁם שֶׁשָּׁם בָּאוּ הַמּוֹרְדִים בּוֹ הָיוּ קוֹרְאִין אוֹתוֹ הַבּוֹרֵחַ׃
And their forces, some the children of Yisrael burned, some they stabbed with a sword, and some they hung on a tree, and Bagris the wicked the house of Yisrael burned in fire. And as King Antiokhus heard that Bagris and all the officials his force with him were killed, he fled to the sea lands. And it would be, everyone found him in the places he was, for there came rebels against him who would call him “the coward!”

וְאַחַר כֵּן בָּאוּ בְּנֵי חַשְׁמוֹנַאי לְבֵית הַמִּקְדָּשׁ וַיִּבְנוּ הֶעָרִים וַיִּסְגְּרוּ הַפְּרָצוֹת וַיְטַהֲרוּ אֶת־הָעֲזָרָה מִן־הַהֲרוּגִים וּמֵהַטֻּמְאוֹת׃ וַיְבַקְשׁוּ שֶׁמֶן זַיִת זָךְ לְהַדְלִיק אֶת־הַמְּנוֹרָה וְלֹא מָצְאוּ כִּי אִם־צְלוֹחִית אַחַת אֲשֶׁר הָיְתָה חֲתוּמָה בְּטַבַּעַת הַכֹּהֵן גָּדוֹל וְיָדְעוּ כִּי הוּא שֶׁמֶן טָהוֹר׃ וְהָיָה בָּהּ כְּשִׁעוּר הַדְלָקַת יוֹם אֶחָד וֶאֱלֹהֵי הַשָּׁמַיִם אֲשֶׁר שָׁכַן שְׁמוֹ שָׁם הִנִּיחַ בְּרָכָה בַּשֶּׁמֶן וְהָיוּ מוֹצְאִים כׇּל־לַיְלָה וְלַיְלָה אַחַר עֲרִיכַת הַנֵּרוֹת הֶאָסִיךְ מְלֵאָה שֶׁמֶן וְהֶעֱלוּ הַנֵּרוֹת מִמֶּנּוּ שְׁמוֹנָה יָמִים׃ וְעַל הַצָּלָתָם וְנֵס הֶאָסִיךְ הַהוּא קִיְּמ֣וּ וְקִבְּל֣וּ הַיְּהוּדִים֩ ׀ עֲלֵיהֶ֨ם ׀ וְעַל־זַרְעָ֜ם לִהְי֣וֹת עֹשִׂ֗ים אֵ֣ת שְׁמוֹנַת יְמֵי חֲנֻכָּה בְּהַלֵּל וּבְהוֹדָאָה בְּכׇל־שָׁנָ֖ה וְשָׁנָֽה וְזִכְרָ֖ם לֹא־יָס֥וּף מִזַּרְעָֽם׃
And after that, the Ḥashmonai came to the Holy Temple and rebuilt the cities and repaired the breaches and purified the courtyard from the slain and impure. And they sought out pure olive oil to light the menorah and could not find it, except for a single vial that was sealed with the mark of the high priest, so they know that it was pure oil. And it was for them about the time to light for the first day, and the God of Heaven whose name dwells there rested a blessing on the oil, and they found every single night after the light was established it was poured full with oil, and the lights stayed up for eight days. And for their redemption and that miracle of the oil pour, the Jews ordained and accepted upon themselves and their seed to do[78]Esther 9:27 the eight days of Ḥanukkah with praise and thanksgiving every single year[79]Esther 9:27, and their memory would not be lost from their seed. [80]Esther 9:28

בָּרוּךְ הָרַב אֶת־רִיבֵנוּ וְהַנּוֹקֵם אֶת־נִקְמָתֵנוּ וְהַמְּשַׁלֵּם גְּמוּל לְכׇל־אוֹיְבֵי נְפָשֵׁינוּ׃ בְּרוֹךְ הָאֵל הַמּוֹשִׁיעַ׃ תַּם מִדְרַשׁ מַעֲשֵׂה חֲנֻכָּה׃
Blessed is the one who fights our fights and avenges our vengeances and repays justly all our enemies. Blessed is the God who Saves.[81]An adaptation of the blessing after the megillah reading Thus ends the midrash of the matter of Ḥanukkah.

This digital edition of Midrash Ma’aseh Ḥanukkah (bet) was transcribed from the print edition published in Otzar Hamidrashim (I. D. Eisenstein, New York: Eisenstein Press, 5675/1915, p.190-192).

Source(s)

Notes[ + ]

1.  Isaiah 59:19
2.  Psalm 57:5
3.  I Samuel 17:51
4.  Isaiah 11:4
5.  Esther 1:3
6.  Esther 1:15
7.  Isaiah 40:21
8.  Deuteronomy 28:50
9, 14.  Esther 3:8
10.  Deuteronomy 32:27
11.  Isaiah 60:2
12.  Psalm 112:4
13.  Exodus 10:23
15.  Obadiah 1:1
16.  Psalm 83:5
17.  Exodus 1:10
18.  Megilat Antiokhus v. 12
19, 54, 68.  Daniel 1:1
20.  I Samuel 17:36
21.  Megilat Antiokhus v. 13
22.  a euphemistic term for חֲזִיר (pig).
23.  Judges 6:34
24.  Isaiah 37:32
25.  Jeremiah 50:17
26.  Isaiah 59:17
27.  Numbers 31:2
28.  Esther 4:2
29.  Esther 3:3
30.  Isaiah 40:28
31.  Genesis 31:29
32.  Joshua 8:22
33.  Numbers 22:33
34.  Psalm 83:14
35.  II Kings 18:35
36.  Leviticus 9:6
37, 39.  Esther 6:8
38.  Genesis 41:43
40.  Genesis 47:30
41.  Numbers 32:25
42.  Deuteronomy 9:19
43.  Genesis 34:22
44.  Esther 1:21
45.  Genesis 45:1
46.  II Kings 19:15-16
47, 69.  Jeremiah 10:10
48.  II Kings 19:17-19
49.  Deuteronomy 8:17
50.  Judges 16:28
51.  Judges 5:27
52.  Genesis 27:30
53.  Jeremiah 5:29
55.  Psalm 78:56
56.  Psalm 78:58
57.  Exodus 4:25
58.  Psalm 44:18-19
59, 63.  Exodus 34:21
60.  II Kings 7:4
61.  Joshua 2:2
62.  Exodus 24:7
64.  Exodus 14:28
65.  Exodus 18:18
66.  Psalm 148:11
67.  Esther 3:9
70.  Job 31:25
71.  Psalm 115:1
72.  Jeremiah 32:19
73.  Psalm 94:14
74.  Jeremiah 17:5
75.  Jeremiah 17:7
76.  Psalm 122:4
77.  Psalm 37:15
78, 79.  Esther 9:27
80.  Esther 9:28
81.  An adaptation of the blessing after the megillah reading

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