My Chanukah (part 6 of 8)

Day 6

Daily Torah Reading

Day #6 – Elisaf son of Deuel, Gad. (Gilgul of Rabbi Yesheivav, one of the ten martyrs). 

Sefirah – תפארת שבהוד

Tiferet is the beauty of synthesis and balance of two extremes. Tiferet is the balance of Chesed and Gevurah.

Completion, Redemption and Transformation

The nations surrounding Israel decided to avenge the Greeks. They attacked the Jews in the Galil, Gilad, Negev, and Shomoron.Yehuda had to stop his rebuilding project of Yerushalayim in order to help these communities. He gave half of his soldiers to the command of his brother Shimon with instructions to save the Galil. Yehuda took his brother Yonatan to defend the Gilad. Yehuda Shimon and Yonatan were successful in repulsing the attacks of the nations.

The Gentiles did not accept their defeat. They sent a delegation to Lysias asking for aid. He sent an army of 100,000 soldiers and 20,000 cavalry to fight the Jews. However, this time he decided to send elephants, thirty-two, to help the fighting force. Lysias camped near Beit Zecharia, South of Yerushalayim. He set off towards Yerushalyim with his army headed by the elephants. Each elephant carried dozens of long distant expert marksmen with bows and arrows.

Yehuda and his men left Yerushalyim to initiate the battle. Yehuda’s goal was to kill the leader Lysias. He gave this mission to his brother Elazar. Elazar charged the largest and most amored elephant. He stabbed it in its belly several times before he could escape; the elephant collapsed and crushed Elazar to death. When Yehuda saw that Elazar did not succeed, this forced him to retreat with his troops to Yerushalayim. Lysias besieged Yerushalyim but was not able to capture it.   It was the Shemita year and food in Yerushalyim was in short supply. There was discussion to surrender to the the Greeks. An unexpected miracle then occurred. Antiochus (also called Epimanes, “The Crazy One”) died with great suffering from his wounds gained from the Persian/Mede war (a mosquito slowly consumed his brain). Prior to his death he ordered his young son Antiochus Eupator to succeed him and his friend Phillip to oversee the kingdom until his son grew old enough to rule.

When Lysias heard the news of the death of Antiochus, he decied to end the siege of Yerushalayim and return to Antioch to capture the regime. He sent letters to Yehuda revoking all the decrees of Antiochus. Then he ironically asked for Yehuda’s help in his war against Phillip. The Hellenist apostates and Jewish sinners mourned the new situation. These evil, assimilated, Reform Jews sent messengers to Demetrius son of Seleucus, who succeeded Anitiochus Epiphanes, and demanded that he come to their aid to repress Yehuda the leader of Orthodox/Torah Jewry.

Demetrius agreed to help and appointed Akimos as Cohen Gadol and sent him to Yerushalayim with Bacchides with many soldiers. Yehuda did not allow Alkimos to enter Yerushalayim and sent him back to Antioch.

The king then sent Alkimus back with Nicanor to destroy Yehuda and put the Reform Jewish Greek lovers back in power. Nicanor deployed his army above Beit Choron.

Yehuda encamped in Chadasha located in the Givon Valley. Yehuda encourage his men with Tefilah and Talmud Torah, reminding his troops of how G-d destroyed the Assyrian army of King Chizkiyahu.

On the 13th of Adar, Yehuda’s troops attacked Nicanor’s camp and killed the evil Nicanor.   They put on display his head and his arm, which he used to point towards Yerushalayim stating that he would not return home until he conquered the Holy city. The 13th of Adar was extablished as a chag for joy and thanksgiving.

After this victory there was a period of peace. The avoda in the Beis Hamikdash resumed and the soliders returned home after years of fighting.

Demetrius used this opportunity to send Bacchides with 20,000 troops and 2,000 calvalry to be deployed North of Yerushalayim near Beit El.

This time Yehuda was only able to amass 800 soldiers willing to go to war to defend Israel. Instead to waiting for more Jewish soldiers to arrive, Yehuda was adamant that:

“We must never retreat from our enemies, for retreat is the first step towards defeat. We had better die for our people and our Torah, rather than run away in disgrace from our enemies.”

Yehuda and his men fought well for an entire day, however, in the evening the Greeks killed Yehuda and many of his men on Har Chazor. Yehuda was buried in his family’s gravesite in Modiin near his father Matisyahu.

About the Author
Arie E. Pelta, M.D., a Board Certified General and Colorectal Surgeon from the USA , made aliyah with his wife and 7 children in 2013. He is also a active Medical Corps Officer holding the rank of Captain in the IDF Reserves. Currently practicing in Laniado Hospital in Netanya and at Assuta Medical Center in Tel Aviv, part of the Assia Medical group; speciaizing in the surgical care of all problems of the colon, rectum and anus.
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