Warto znać fakty: wydanie Chanukowe

Polecam przeczytanie poniższych artykułów, które przybliżają historię Chanuki od strony historycznej, przekazując fakty i wyjaśniają co jest późniejszym dodatkiem, fikcją czy też komentarzem. Zaznaczam, że jest to tekst świecki, nie religijny. Jest on także po angielsku, niestety nie mam teraz możliwości aby przetłumaczyć tak dużych ilości tekstu.

Część pierwsza, druga, trzecia i czwarta.

Tu można również przeczytać ciekawy artykuł Davida Brooksa o podobnym temacie.

Poniżej wybrane fragmenty, które mam nadzieję zachęcą do przeczytania całości.

1. The oldest telling of the story of Hanukka is found in 2 Maccabees. It does not mention the „miracle of oil.”

2. The text of the Al HaNisim prayer inserted in the Amida prayer for Hanukka does not mention the „miracle of oil.”

3. Josephus, who was a priest and served in the Temple, recounts the battles that led to the liberation of Jerusalem and the Temple but does not mention the „miracle of oil.” This is even more significant because Josephus was a member of the Perushim (Pharisees).

4. No other ancient records mention the „miracle of oil.”

The Pharisees fought with and suffered suffered from the Hasmonean kings, as the Hasmonean dynasty over time became Hellenized and the Sadducees, opponents of the rabbis, allied with the Hasmoneans.

The rabbinic dislike for the Maccabees can be summed up with the following question: How could a miracle have come through a family that would later become so evil?

But we must be clear – there is no record of a „miracle of oil” in any ancient source. The first mention of it is in the Talmud, written at least 600 years after the events took place. In contrast, 1 and 2 Maccabees were written by Jews within a few years of the events of Hanukka, and only the military victory is mentioned – no „miracle of oil.” Josephus, written just over 200 years after Hanukka has no mention of the „miracle of oil.” I repeat, nowhere in any ancient source, rabbinic or otherwise, is a „miracle of oil” mentioned.

… The Mishnah has some brief references to the rules for Chanuka , indicating that by the end of the second century C.E. there was already a custom of kindling lights at the darkest period of the year. This was a custom that may have been imported from the northern latitudes during Roman rule — perhaps in imitation of the Roman Saturnalia observances. Sometime between then and the completion of Gemara, the celebration of lights assumed greater significance and, just as today we elevate the observance of Chanuka in order to offset the influence of Christmas, the rabbis of the Talmud may have built up the idea of a miracle connected with lights, to show Jews that we had our own basis for a solstice observance.

As Hasmoneans became Hellenized, they celebrated the Roman holiday of Saturnalia, centered around the winter solstice. Observance of this pagan holiday seems to have eventually spread throughout most of the Jewish community.

Saturnalia’s  7 day candle lighting often coincided with part of Hanukka. This may have caused the populace to confuse the two celebrations, much in the way many American Jews in our times had „Hanukka bushes.” The story of the „miracle of oil” was probably added by the rabbis to give a Jewish „spin” to the lighting, by moving the custom to the 8 days of Hanukka and giving it a new reason – the „miracle of oil.”

In short, while the creation of the oil myth may possibly be dated to the early Roman period, the widespread propagation of that myth most likely began at or just before the beginning of the redaction of the Mishna. Two hundred years later, at the time of the beginning of the redaction of the Talmud, the myth had become an accepted „truth” (even though the rabbis could find no written source for that „truth”) – in large part because the rabbis themselves had successfully banned 1 & 2 Maccabees and Josephus 200-plus-years earlier.

And so the „Miracle of Oil” became the focus of Hanukka, as we see to this day.

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