Monday, December 06, 2004


Does the Chanukkah story have a happy ending? Not really. Rivka Berman: "After the rovolt concluded, the Maccabees went on to become heads of state. In a move that was both unprecedented and illegal (per Jewish law) the Hasmonean family donned the high priest’s garments and took the royal scepter. At first the Hasmonean rulers were righteous, and Judea rejoiced in its restored autonomy. A handful of successions later, the royal Hasmonean line was waylaid by internecine fighting, assassination, and internal strife. They lived in thrall to Greek powers and admired the same Helenist ideals the original Maccabees struggled against.

The corrupted Hasmonean dynasty declined in power and public reverence, and their rule ended when Herod, a Hasmonean son-in-law, seized power and killed off the rest of the Hasmonean line. "

Remember what we always say about theocracies ending in disaster? It happened to the first Jewish kings. It happened to the Macabees. And it will happen again if the self-rightuous religious people in America (and elsewhere) acquire too much power.

Meanwhile, we've yet to see a liberal, secular government go bad.

[Filed under: Lessons Jews refuse to learn]


Anonymous said...

Why do you think theocracies always end badly?

Anonymous said...

Do you think this is why the Hasmoneans are not mentioned in the Gemara?


DovBear said...

Theocracies end badly, because man is fallible and power corrupts. Even when a man tries his best he is still fallible and still corruptible. And most men don’t try their best. The glory of liberalism and secularism is that these systems of governemnt protect men from other men.

Ploni, the Rabbis of the Talmud speak of the Jewish kings, and would have gladly embraced theocracy. So I very much doubt that contempt for theocracy is the reason why the hashmonoim were omitted from the Talmud