The Maccabees were a Jewish family in the 2nd century BC who led a rebellion against the Greek-Syrian government in order to reclaim their homeland of Judea and preserve their traditions and customs. Their bravery and determination is remembered during the annual holiday of Hanukkah, when Jews light the menorah to commemorate the courage of the Maccabees and the reclamation of the Second Temple in Jerusalem.
Who Were The Maccabees?
The Maccabees were a family of Jewish warriors and leaders in antient Judea between the 2nd century BC and the 1st century BC. They are best known for their struggle against the Greek-Syrian kingdom to preserve their homeland and religious traditions and for reclaiming the Second Temple of Jerusalem.
The name Maccabee is derived from the Hebrew term for “hammer” — Math Maccabee, or simply “the Hammer.” This title was given to Mattityahu, the father of the four Maccabee brothers (Simon, Judah, Jonathan and Eliezer) who spearheaded the rebellion of the Jews against the oppressive Greek-Syrian government of the Seleucid Empire. They were first able to reclaim the Second Temple of Jerusalem that had been profaned and lost to the Greeks, thus earning them the title of Hamheleqet, or “the Saviors.”
After reclaiming their land, the Maccabees revolted against the Seleucid rule with the help of their allies in the surrounding nations. After a number of military successes and reclaimed territories, they established the Hasmonean Dynasty in Judea, lasting over a century, until Roman rule took over in 63 BC.
Why Are The Maccabees Remembered During Hanukkah?
The Maccabees and their courage are remembered and celebrated during the eight-day festival of Hanukkah, known as the “Festival of Lights”. It celebrates and commemorates the miracle that occurred after the Maccabees reclaimed the Second Temple of Jerusalem from the Greeks — that is, they only had enough oil to light the menorah (candelabra) for one day, and it miraculously lasted for eight days. To this day, Jews traditionally light the menorah during Hanukkah to remember the bravery of the Maccabees and their success in reclaiming and preserving their homeland and religious customs.
Throughout the centuries, the Maccabees’ heroic battle for freedom and justice against the odds has become a timeless symbol of courage and resilience. To this day, people of all faiths can draw inspiration from the story of the Maccabees and their commitment to preserving their faith and culture throughout their struggle, and remember them fondly during the festival of Hanukkah.
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Last update 2023-11-26. Price and product availability may change.