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מִדְרַשׁ מַעֲשֶׂה חֲנֻכָּה א׳ | Midrash Ma’aseh Ḥanukkah “alef,” a tale of the people’s resistance to the Seleucid Greek occupation

Source (Hebrew) Translation (English)

כְּתִיב (ירמיה נ:לג-לד) כֹּ֤ה אָמַר֙ יְהֹוָ֣ה צְבָא֔וֹת עֲשׁוּקִ֛ים בְנֵי־יְהוּדָ֖ה וּבְּנֵי־יִשְׂרָאֵ֥ל יַחְדָּ֑ו וְכׇל־שֹֽׁבֵיהֶם֙ הֶחֱזִ֣יקוּ בָ֔ם מֵאֲנ֖וּ שַׁלְּחָֽם׃ גֹּאֲלָ֣ם ׀ חָזָ֗ק יְהֹוָ֤ה צְבָאוֹת֙ שְׁמ֔וֹ רִ֥יב יָרִ֖יב אֶת־רִיבָ֑ם לְמַ֙עַן֙ הִרְגִּ֣יעַ אֶת־הָאָ֔רֶץ וְהִרְגִּ֖יז לְיֹשְׁבֵ֥י בָבֶֽל׃
It is written (Jeremiah 50:33): Thus said YHVH Tsevaot: the children of Yehudah are oppressed and so too are the children of Yisra’el”[1]Masoretic text has the order reversed, בְּנֵי־יִשְׂרָאֵ֥ל וּבְנֵי־יְהוּדָ֖ה – and it is written (Jeremiah 50.34) “Their redeemer is mighty, his name is YHVH Tsevaot. He will champion their cause–so as to give rest to the Earth, and unrest to the inhabitants of Babylon.”

אָמְרוּ בִּימֵי הַיְוָנִים נִתְחַיֵּב מִקְרָא זֶה שֶׁהֶעֱרִימוּ סוֹד עַל יִשְׂרָאֵל׃ אָמְרוּ בֹּאוּ וּנְחַדֵּשׁ עֲלֵיהֶם גְּזֵרוֹת עַד שֶׁיִּבְעֲטוּ בֶּאֱלֹהֵיהֶם וְיַאֲמִינוּ בַּעֲבוֹדָה זָרָה שֶׁלָּנוּ׃
It is said that in the days of the [Seleucid] Greeks that this verse was needed when they (the Greeks) conspired against the people of Yisra’el, saying “Let’s make some new decrees on them, so that they will reject their god and believe in our false idols.”

עָמְדוּ וְגָזְרוּ כׇּל־בֶּן יִשְׂרָאֵל שֶׁעוֹשֶׂה לוֹ בְּרִיחַ אוֹ־מִסְגּוּר לְפִתְחוֹ יְדַקֵּר בֶּחָרֶב׃ וְכׇל־כָּךְ לָמָּה כְּדֵי שֶׁלֹּא יִהְיֶה לְיִשְׂרָאֵל כָּבוֹד וְלֹא רְשׁוּת שֶׁכׇּל־בַּיִת שֶׁאֵין־לוֹ דֶּלֶת אֵין־לוֹ כָּבוֹד וְלֹא צְנִיעוּת וְכׇל־הָרוֹצֶה לִכָּנֵס נִכְנַס בִּין־בַּיּוֹם וּבֵין־בַּלַּיְלָה׃
They stood and decreed: every person of Yisra’el that makes a latch or a lock at the entrance to his home will be pierced by the sword. And why did they do this? So that the people of Yisra’el would not have dignity or self-possession, because every house that doesn’t have a door doesn’t have any dignity or modesty, and anyone who wants to go in, goes in, day or night.

כֵּיוָן שֶׁרָאוּ יִשְׂרָאֵל כָּךְ עָמְדוּ וּבָטְלוּ כׇּל־דְּלָתוֹת בָּתֵּיהֶם וְלֹא הָיוּ יְכוֹלִין לֹא לֶאֱכֹל וְלֹא לִשְׁתּוֹת וְלֹא לְשַׁמֵּשׁ מַטּוֹתֵיהֶם, בִּשְׁבִיל גַּנְּבִין וְלִסְטִין וּפְרִיצֵי יְוָנִים׃ וְלֹא רוֹאִין שִׁנָּה בְּעֵינֵיהֶם לֹא־י֣וֹם וְלֹא־לָ֑יְלָה וְנִתְקַיֵּם עֲלֵיהֶם מִקְרָא שֶׁכָּתוּב וּפָֽחַדְתָּ לַיְלָה וְיוֹמָם׃ (דברים כח:עו).
When the people of Yisra’el saw this, they stood and took down all the doors of their houses, and they couldn’t eat or drink or use their beds, because of thieves and robbers and Greek creepers. And their eyes didn’t see sleep in day or night, and regarding them the verse is written: “You shall be in terror, night and day” (Deuteronomy 28:66).

אָמְרוּ לִפְנֵי הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא׃ רִבּוֹנוֹ שֶׁלְּעוֹלָם כַּמָּה אָנוּ יְכוֹלִים לִסְבֹּל׃ אָמַר לָהֶם בְּעָוֹן מְזוּזָה אֶלָּא אַף־עַל־פִּי־כֵן רְוָחָה תִּמְצָא בִּגְזֵרָה זוֹ׃
They said before the blessed Holy One: “Master of the World! How much can we bear?” Hashem said to them: This is because of the sin of neglecting the mitsvah of mezuzah. Even so, some reprieve will be found in this decree.

וְהָיוּ יִשְׂרָאֵל שְׁרוּיִין בְּלֹא דְּלָתוֹת וְאֵין־לְךָ דָּבָר מַעֲבִיר רָעוֹת הָאִשָּׁה מֵעַל בַּעְלָהּ כַּדֶּלֶת שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר׃ לֵ֤ךְ עַמִּי֙ בֹּ֣א בַֽחֲדָרֶ֔יךָ וּֽסְגֹ֥ר דלתיך [דְּלָֽתְךָ֖] בַּעֲדֶ֑ךָ חֲבִ֥י כִמְעַט־רֶ֖גַע עַד־יעבור [יַעֲבׇר]־זָֽעַם׃ (ישעיה כו:כ) וְעָמְדוּ בִּגְזֵרָה זוֹ שָׁלֹשׁ שָׁנִים׃
The people of Yisra’el were left with no doors, and there’s nothing like a door to restrain a husband from his wife’s passion/fury, as it is written: “Go to your rooms, my people” (Isaiah 26:20); they withstood this decree for three years.

כֵּיוָן שֶׁרָאוּ יְוָנִים שֶׁעָמְדוּ יִשְׂרָאֵל בִּגְזֵרָה וְלֹא נִכְשָׁל אַחֵד מֵהֶם בְּשׁוּם דָּבָר רַע׃ עָמְדוּ וְגָזְרוּ עֲלֵיהֶם גְּזֵרָה אֲחֶרֶת וְהֶעֱבִירוּ קוֹל׃ כׇּל־אָדָם מִיִּשְׂרָאֵל שֶׁיֵּשׁ־לוֹ שׁוּר אוֹ־שֶׂה יֵחָקֵק עַל קַרְנָיו שֶׁאֵין־לוֹ חֵלֶק בֵּאלֹהֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל׃ וְכׇל־כָּךְ לָמָּה כְּדֵי שֶׁלֹּא יֹאכְלוּ יִשְׂרָאֵל בָּשָׂר וְלֹא חָלָב וְלֹא גְּבִינָה וְלֹא יִהְיֶה לָהֶם חֲרִישָׁה׃ אָמְרוּ יוֹדְעִים אָנוּ שֶׁאֵין יְכוֹלִין לַעֲמֹד בִּגְזֵרָה זוֹ׃
Since the Greeks saw that the people of Yisra’el were withstanding the decree, and not a one fell to anything bad, they stood and decreed a new decree, and announced: “Every person of Yisra’el that has a donkey or an ox will engrave on its horns that it has no part in the elo’ah of Yisra’el.” And why? So that the people of Yisra’el would not be able to eat meat or milk or cheese, and also wouldn’t have animals for plowing. They said to themselves, We know they won’t be able to withstand this decree. (Bwahahahaha!)

כֵּיוָן שֶׁשָּׁמְעוּ יִשְׂרָאֵל כָּךְ נִצְטַעֲרוּ צַעַר גָּדוֹל׃ אָמְרוּ חַס וְשָׁלוֹם שֶׁנִּכְפֹּר בֵּאלֹהֵינוּ׃ עָמְדוּ וּמִכְרוּ בְּהֶמְתָן בֵּין טְהוֹרָה בֵּין טְמֵאָה וְהָיוּ יִשְׂרָאֵל מְהַלְּכִין בְּרַגְלַיִם וַעֲלֵיהֶם נִתְקַיֵּם׃ רָאִ֥יתִי עֲבָדִ֖ים עַל־סוּסִ֑ים וְשָׂרִ֛ים הֹלְכִ֥ים כַּעֲבָדִ֖ים עַל־הָאָֽרֶץ׃ (קהלת י:ז).
When the people of Yisra’el heard this, they were dismayed indeed. They said, “Heaven forbid that we would reject our elo’ah.” They stood and sold their animals, [both] kosher and not kosher. And the people of Yisra’el would walk on their feet, and regarding them it is written: “I saw slaves on horses and princes walking” (Ecclesiastes 10:7).

אָמַר לָהֶם הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא בְּעָוֹן שֶׁמִּנֶּעְתָּם עַצְמְכֶם מַעֲלוֹת בְּשָׁלֹשׁ רְגָלִים לִירוּשָׁלִַם וּלְהַקְרִיב קׇרְבָּנוֹת וְלִתֵּן מַתְּנוֹת כְּהֻנָּה׃ לָכֵן נִתְקַיֵּם עֲלִיכֶם שׁוֹרְךָ טָבוּחַ לְעֵינֶיךָ (דברים כח:לא), אֶלָּא אַף־עַל־פִּי־כֵן רְוָחָה תִּמְצָא בִּגְזֵרָה זוֹ׃
The blessed Holy One said to them: this is because you failed to go up to Yerushalayim for the three harvest festivals to make sacrificial offerings and to give the priestly gifts. Therefore the verse was fulfilled in you, “your oxen will be slaughtered before your eyes” (Deuteronomy 28:31) But even so, some reprieve will be found in this decree.

וְהָיוּ הַצְּבָיִים וְהָאַיָּלִים וְכׇל־מִינֵי עוֹפוֹת טְהוֹרִים בָּאִים וְנִכְנָסִים לְבָתֵּיהֶם שֶׁלְּיִשְׂרָאֵל לְפִי שֶׁהָיוּ בְּלֹא דְּלָתוֹת׃ וּבָאִין יִשְׂרָאֵל וְתוֹפְסִין אוֹתָן וְשׁוֹחֲטִין וְאוֹכְלִין בָּשָׂר וְנוֹתְנִין שֶׁבַח לַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא וְאָמְרוּ בָּרוּךְ הוּא שֶׁהָפַךְ עֲצַת אוֹיְבֵינוּ לְטוֹבָה׃ שֶׁאִלּוּ הָיוּ דְּלָתוֹת לַבָּתִּים הֵיאַךְ הָיְתָה כׇּל־צֵידָה נִכְנֶסֶת אֶצְלֵנוּ׃
Stags and deer and all sorts of kosher birds came and entered the houses of Yisra’el, since there were no doors. And they came and caught them and slaughtered them and ate meat, and praised the blessed Holy One, saying, “Blessed is the one who overturned the plans of our enemies to good! Because if there had been doors, how could the wild animals have come into our houses?!”

הֲשִׁיבֵם הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא אַתֶּם חַסְתֶּם עַל כְּבוֹדִי וְלֹא כְּפַרְתֶּם בִּי אַף אֲנִי זִמַּנְתִּי לָכֶם צֵידָה׃
The blessed Holy One replied to them: You cared about my honor and did not renounce me; therefore, I arranged wild animals for you [to eat].

וְכֵיוָן שֶׁרָאוּ הַיְוָנִים שֶׁעָמְדוּ יִשְׂרָאֵל בִּגְזֵרָה זוֹ עָמְדוּ וְגָזְרוּ כׇּל־מִי שֶׁאִשְׁתּוֹ הוֹלֶכֶת לִטְבִילָה יִדָּקֵר בֶּחָרֶב׃ וְכׇל־הָרוֹאֶה אוֹתָהּ הֲרֵי הִיא לוֹ לְאִשָּׁה וּבָנֶיהָ לַעֲבָדִים׃
When the Greeks saw that Yisra’el had withstood the decree, they stood and decreed: “Every person whose wife goes to the mikvah will be pierced by the sword! And the one who sees her will have her for a wife! And her sons as slaves.”

כֵּיוָן שֶׁרָאוּ יִשְׂרָאֵל כָּךְ מָנְעוּ עַצְמָם מִלְּשַׁמֵּשׁ׃ וְכֵיוָן שֶׁשָּׁמְעוּ יְוָנִים כָּךְ אָמְרוּ הוֹאִיל וְאֵין יִשְׂרָאֵל מְשַׁמְּשִׁין מַטּוֹתֵיהֶם אָנוּ נִזְקָקִין לָהֶן׃
When Yisra’el heard this, they refrained from using their beds, and when the Greeks heard that, they said “It worked! The people of Yisra’el are not using their beds. We get to use their beds.”

כֵּיוָן שֶׁרָאוּ יִשְׂרָאֵל כָּךְ חָזְרוּ עַל נְשֵׁיהֶן בְּלֹא טְבִילָה בְּעַל כָּרְחָן אָמְרוּ רִבּוֹנוֹ שֶׁלְּעוֹלָם בְּעַל כְּרֵחֵינוּ שֶׁלֹּא בְּטוֹבוֹתֵינוּ שֶׁאֵין הָאִשָּׁה רוֹצָה לֵשֵׁב תַּחַת בַּעְלָהּ בְּלֹא עוֹנָתָהּ׃
When Yisra’el saw thus, they returned to their wives (though their wives had not immersed), against their [the husbands’] will. They said, “Master of the Universe! We have no choice – it’s not for our good – it’s that a woman doesn’t want to live with her husband without her pleasure.”

אָמַר לָהֶם הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא הוֹאִיל וַעֲשִׂיתֶם בְּלֹא כַּוָּנָה אֲנִי אֲטַהֵר אֶתְכֶם׃ וּפָתַח לְכׇל־אֶחָד וְאֶחָד מֵהֵן מַעֲיָן בְּתוֹךְ בֵּיתוֹ וְהָיוּ נְשֵׁיהֶם טוֹבְלוֹת בְּתוֹךְ בָּתֵּיהֶם וְנִתְקַיֵּם עֲלֵיהֶם מִקְרָא זֶה׃ וּשְׁאַבְתֶּם־מַ֖יִם בְּשָׂשׂ֑וֹן מִמַּעַיְנֵ֖י הַיְשׁוּעָֽה׃ (ישעיה יב:ג), וְנִתְקַיֵּם עֲלֵיהֶם עוֹד מִקְרָא זֶה׃ אִ֣ם ׀ רָחַ֣ץ אֲדֹנָ֗י אֵ֚ת צֹאַ֣ת בְּנוֹת־צִיּ֔וֹן וְאֶת־דְּמֵ֥י יְרוּשָׁלַ֖‍ִם יָדִ֣יחַ מִקִּרְבָּ֑הּ בְּר֥וּחַ מִשְׁפָּ֖ט וּבְר֥וּחַ בָּעֵֽר׃ (ישעיה ד:ד).
The blessed Holy One said to them: Since you did it without intention — I will purify you. And Hashem opened for each and every one of them a spring inside his home, and their wives would immerse inside their homes, and the verse was fulfilled in them, “You will draw water with joy from the waters of redemption” (Isaiah 12:3). “When YHVH washed away the filth of the daughters of Tsiyon” (Isaiah 4:4) the verse was fulfilled in them.

כֵּיוָן שֶׁרָאוּ יְוָנִים שֶׁאֵין יִשְׂרָאֵל מַרְגִּישִׁין בִּגְזֵרוֹתֵיהֶם עָמְדוּ וְגָזְרוּ עֲלֵיהֶם גְּזֵרָה מָרָה וַעֲכוּרָה שֶׁלֹּא תִּכְנֹס כָּלָה בַּלַּיְלָה הָרִאשׁוֹן מֵחֻפָּתָהּ אֶלָּא אֵצֶל הַהֶגְמוֹן שֶׁבַּמָּקוֹם הַהוּא׃
When the Greeks saw that Yisra’el was not affected by their decrees, they stood and decreed upon them a bitter and ugly decree, that a bride would not go in [to her husband] on her wedding night, but rather to the local commander.[2]the Droit du seigneur (jus primae noctis), one of the archetypal depraved acts of the Giants in the Dor Hamabul (Genesis Rabbah 26:5).

כֵּיוָן שֶׁשָּׁמְעוּ יִשְׂרָאֵל כָּךְ רָפוּ יְדֵיהֶם וְתָשַׁשׁ כְּחָם וְנִמְנְעוּ מִלְּאָרֵס׃ וְהָיוּ בְּנוֹת יִשְׂרָאֵל בּוֹגְרוֹת וּמַזְקִינוֹת כְּשֶׁהֵן בְּתוּלוֹת וְנִתְקַיֵּם עֲלֵיהֶם בְּתוּלֹתֶ֥יהָ נּוּג֖וֹת וְהִ֥יא מַר־לָֽהּ׃ (איכה א:ד), וְהָיוּ יְוָנִים מִתְעַלְּלוֹת בִּבְתוּלוֹת יִשְׂרָאֵל׃
When Yisra’el heard this, their hands became weak and their energy dissipated, and they refrained from betrothals. And the daughters of Yisra’el would mature and grow old as virgins, and the verse was fulfilled in them: “Her maidens are unhappy, and she [Jerusalem] is bitter” (Lamentations 1:4). And the Greeks would abuse the maidens of Yisra’el.

וְנָהֲגוּ בְּדָבָר הַזֶּה שָׁלֹשׁ שָׁנִים וּשְׁמוֹנָה חֳדָשִׁים עַד שֶׁבָּא מַעֲשֶׂה שֶׁלְּבַּת מַתִּתְיָהוּ כֹּהֵן גָּדוֹל שֶׁנָּשָׁאתָ לְבֶן חַשְׁמוֹנַאי וְאֶלְעָזָר הָיָה שְׁמוֹ׃
This situation continued for three years and eight months, until the marriage of the daughter of the High Priest Matityahu to the Hasmonean named Elazar.

כֵּיוָן שֶׁהִגִּיעַ יוֹם שִׂמְחָתָהּ הוֹשִׁיבוּהָ בְּאַפִּרְיוֹן׃ וּכְשֶׁהִגִּיעַ זְמַן הַסְּעוּדָה נִתְקַבְּצוּ כׇּל־גְּדוֹלֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל לְכָבוֹד מַתִּתְיָהוּ וּבֶן חַשְׁמוֹנַאי שֶׁלֹּא הָיוּ בְּאוֹתוֹ הַדּוֹר גְּדוֹלִים מֵהֶם׃ וּכְשֶׁיֵּשְׁבוּ לִסְעֹד עָמְדָה חָנָה בַּת מַתִּתְיָהוּ מֵעַל אַפִּרְיוֹן וְסָפְקָה כֵּפֶיהָ זוֹ עַל זוֹ וְקָרְעָה פֻּרְפִּירוּן שֶׁלָּהּ וְעָמְדָה לִפְנֵי כׇּל־יִשְׂרָאֵל כְּשֶׁהִיא מְגֻלָּה וְלִפְנֵי אָבִיהָ וְאִמָּהּ וְחֹתְנָה׃
On their wedding day, she was seated on a palanquin. At the time of the feast, all of the great men of Yisra’el gathered in honor of Matityahu and the Ḥasmonean, who were the greatest men of their generation. And when everyone was sitting down to eat, Ḥanah, the daughter of Matityahu stood up from her palanquin and clapped her hands one on the other and tore off her royal garment and stood before all of Yisra’el, revealed before her father and her mother and her groom!

כֵּיוָן שֶׁרָאוּ אַחֶיהָ כָּךְ נִתְבַּיְּשׁוּ וְנָתְנוּ פְּנֵיהֶם בַּקַּרְקַע וְקָרְעוּ בִּגְדֵיהֶם וְעָמְדוּ עָלֶיהָ לְהַרְגָּהּ׃
When her brothers saw this, they were embarrassed, and they put their faces in the ground and tore their clothes, and stood to kill her.

אָמְרָה לָהֶם שְׁמָעוּנִי אַחַי וְדוֹדַי׃ וּמָה אִם בִּשְׁבִיל שֶׁעָמַדְתִּי לִפְנֵי צַדִּיקִים עֲרוּמָה בְּלִי שׁוּם עֲבֵרָה הֲרֵי אֲתֶּם מִתְקַנְּאִים בִּי׃ וְאֵין אֲתֶּם מִתְקַנְּאִים לְמָסְרֵנִי בְּיַד עָרֵל לְהִתְעוֹלֵל בִּי׃ הַלֹּא יֵשׁ לָכֶם לִלְמֹד מִשִּׁמְעוֹן וְלֵוִי אֲחֵי דִינָה שֶׁלֹּא הָיוּ אֶלָּא שְׁנַיִם וְקַנְּאוּ לַאֲחוֹתָם וְהָרְגוּ כְּרַךְ כְּשֶׁכֶם וּמָסְרוּ נַפְשָׁם עַל יִחוּד שֶׁלְּמָקוֹם וְעֶזְרָם יהוה וְלֹא הִכְלִימָם׃ וַאֲתֶּם חֲמִשָּׁה אַחִים יְהוּדָה יוֹחָנָן יוֹנָתָן שִׁמְעוֹן וְאֶלְעָזָר וּפִרְחֵי כְּהֻנָּה יוֹתֵר מִמָּאתַיִם בָּחוּר׃ שִׂימוּ בִּטְחוֹנְכֶם עַל הַמָּקוֹם וְהוּא יַעֲזֹר אֶתְכֶם שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר׃ כִּ֣י אֵ֤ין לַֽיהֹוָה֙ מַעְצ֔וֹר לְהוֹשִׁ֥יעַ בְּרַ֖ב א֥וֹ בִמְעָֽט׃ (שמואל א׳ יד:ו).
She said “Listen, my brothers and uncles! So what — I stand naked before you righteous men with no sexual transgression and you get all incensed?! And you’re not becoming incensed about sending me into the hands of an uncircumcised man who will abuse me?!!!!!!! You’ve got something to learn from Shimon and Levi, the brothers of Dinah, who were just two men who became incensed/vengeful on behalf of their sister and they murdered a walled city such as Shechem and gave up their souls for the sake of the Maqom! And YHVH helped them and they were not destroyed. And YOU are five brothers – Yehudah, Yoḥanan, Yonatan, Shimon, and Elazar – and you, youth of the priesthood, are more than 200 men! Put your faith in the Maqom and he will help you, as it is said: ‘There is no stopping YHVH from winning’ (I Samuel 14:6).”

וּפָתְחָה פִּיהָ בַּבְּכִיָּה וְאָמְרָה רִבּוֹנוֹ שֶׁלְּעוֹלָם אִם לֹא תָּחוּס עָלֵינוּ חוּס עַל קְדֻשַּׁת שִׁמְךָ הַגָּדוֹל שֶׁנִּקְרָא עָלֵינוּ וּנְקֹם הַיּוֹם נִקְמָתֵנוּ׃
And she opened her mouth and wailed and said, “Master of the World! If you don’t have mercy on us, have mercy on the holiness of your great name that is called on us, and avenge us!”

בְּאוֹתָהּ שָׁעָה נִתְקַנְּאוּ אַחֶיהָ וְאָמְרוּ בּוֹאוּ וּנְטוּל עֵצָה מָה נַעֲשֶׂה׃ נָטְלוּ עֵצָה זֶה־מִזֶּה וְאָמְרוּ בֹּאוּ וְנִקַּח אַחוֹתֵנוּ וְנוֹלִיכֶנָּה אֵצֶל הַמֶּלֶךְ הַגָּדוֹל׃ וְנֹאמַר לוֹ אֲחוֹתֵנוּ בַּת כֹּהֵן גָּדוֹל וְאֵין בְּכׇל־יִשְׂרָאֵל גָּדוֹל מֵאִבֵּינוּ וְרָאִינוּ שֶׁלֹּא תָּלִין אַחוֹתֵנוּ עִם הַהֶגְמוֹן אֶלָּא עִם הַמֶּלֶךְ שֶׁהוּא גָּדוֹל כְּמוֹתֵנוּ׃ וְנִכְנָסֵנוּ עָלָיו וְנֶהֱרָגֵהוּ וְנֵצֵא וְנַתְחִיל אַחַר כָּךְ בַּעֲבָדָיו וּבַשָּׂרָיו וְהָשֵׂם יַעְזְרֶנּוּ וְיִשְׂגָּבֵנוּ׃
Right then, her brothers became incensed and said: “Come, let us have a council and decide what to do.” They took counsel from one another and said “Let us take our sister and we will go to the great king and say to him, ‘Our sister is the daughter of a high priest! There is no one greater in Yisra’el than our father, and we thought it not fitting that our sister should sleep with the local officer, rather with the king who is as great as us!’ Then we’ll go in and kill him and we’ll leave, and then we’ll start with his servants and with his officers, and Hashem will help us and strengthen us.”

נָטְלוּ עֵצָהּ וְכוּלֵּיהּ וְעָשָׂה לָהֶם הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא תְּשׁוּעָה גְּדוֹלָה׃ וְשָׁמְעוּ בַּת קוֹל מִבֵּית קֹדֶשׁ הַקֳּדָשִׁים כׇּל־יִשְׂרָאֵל נִצְּחוּ טַלַּיָּא בְּאַנְטוֹכְיָא׃ כֵּן יַעֲשֶׂה הַמָּקוֹם יְשׁוּעָה בְּיָמֵינוּ אֵלֶּה׃
They took this counsel, and the blessed Holy One made for them a great salvation, and they heard a heavenly voice from inside of the Holy of Holies: “The youth of Yisra’el have been victorious over Antioch.” So too will the Maqom bring salvation in our days.

This digital edition of Midrash Ma’aseh Ḥanukkah was transcribed from the print edition published in Otzar Hamidrashim (I. D. Eisenstein, New York: Eisenstein Press, 5675/1915, p.189-190) which was in turn prepared from the manuscript from Munich printed in Otzar Tov, Pt. 1 and Beit Hamidrash Pt. 5. [מכ״י מינכען נדפס באוצר טוב ח״א 039, ובית המדרש ח״ה] Anat Hochberg adds, “Thanks to Dena Weiss and Tali Adler for their help in my translation work.” In 2019, Isaac Gantwerk Mayer added niqqud to the unvocalized text. (Thank you!)

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Notes[ + ]

1.  Masoretic text has the order reversed, בְּנֵי־יִשְׂרָאֵ֥ל וּבְנֵי־יְהוּדָ֖ה
2.  the Droit du seigneur (jus primae noctis), one of the archetypal depraved acts of the Giants in the Dor Hamabul (Genesis Rabbah 26:5).

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