The Seleucid king, Antiochus, did not begin with a plan for physical genocide against the Jews, as Pharaoh and Haman had plotted before him. Neither did he intend to destroy their society. Rather, he acknowledged the mitzvot as the Jewish people's culture, and the Bible as their great work of literature. What he could not tolerate was that these people claimed their practices to be divinely ordained.

The Greeks were great philosophers, but they refused to acknowledge that a human being could have any relationship to the Primal Being. This not only appeared irrational to anyone bred in Hellenist culture, but downright dangerous — for it prevented the Jews from total obedience to any flesh and blood king.

So he outlawed three specific mitzvot, predicting that when the Jews would cease to observe these actions, it would lead to their end as a people dedicated to G‑d. And so the war began — not against their bodies, but as a war against their souls.


Light comes from beyond, penetrates our world and brings it clarity. Darkness enters when the human mind closes the channels of Above, deciding there is nothing but that which can be measured and understood.

Tell an astro-biologist, "I don't believe there is life anywhere else in the universe, since all I have seen is life on earth." He will certainly call you closed-minded. Yet a scientist who tells you "I don't believe there is anything but the material world since all I have seen is the material world!" is still considered rational.