To fight against superior military force was totally illogical and unrealistic from the Hellenizers? standpoint. But the Maccabees rejected assessments of ?realism? that derived from the framework imposed by the imperialists, and drew instead upon the Jewish religion and the stubborn spirit of a people who had come to believe that every human being was created in the divine image, hence had a right to be treated with respect and decency. These were people who could not submit to the rule of the imperialist, and whose religion taught them that they need not, because the central Power of the universe was a power that rejected the reality of oppression. Their Torah told the tale of their origins in a slave rebellion against another imperialist power thought to be invincible?Egypt of the Pharaohs. Armed with these stories, the Maccabees and their followers used guerrilla tactics to win the first national liberation struggle in recorded history. In 165 bce they retook Jerusalem, purified and rededicated the Temple (chanukah means dedication), and rekindled the eternal light that was to glow therein. The fighting continued many years more, but eventually the Maccabees and their descendants (called Hashmona?im) set up an independent Jewish state. Guess who are todays Maccabees? The word starts with P.
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