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Mattityahu

Mattityahu

? - 139 BCE

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In the 2nd century before the common era, the Holy Land was ruled by the Seleucids (Syrian-Greeks) who, with the collaboration of the Jewish Hellenists, introduced pagan idols into the Holy Temple and set about to forcefully Hellenize the people of Israel. Mattiyahu, the son of the High Priest Jochanan, was already an old man when he picked up a sword and raised the flag of revolt in the village of Modiin in the Judean hills. Many rallied under his cry, "Who that is for G‑d, come with me!" and resisted and battled the Greeks from their mountain hideouts.

After heading the revolt for one year, Mattityahu died on the 15th of Cheshvan of the year 3622 from creation (139 BCE). His five sons — the "Macabees" Judah, Yochanan, Shimon, Elazar and Yonatan — carried on the battle to their eventual victory, celebrated each year since by Jews the world over with the festival of Chanukah.

Links: VirtualChanukah.com; a Chanukah anthology

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