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Who were the Macabbees?

by Rabbi Herschel Finman


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The Macabees - an acronym for Mi Kamocha Ba-eylim Hashem – “Who is like You amongst the mighty O G-d” – were a group of freedom fighters that defeated the Assyrian Greeks in the year 3621 (140 BCE). After years of physical and spiritual destruction in Israel, Mattityahu son of Yochanan the High Priest – along with his five sons Yehudah, Shimon, Yochanan, Elazar and Yonatan – staged a rebellion in Modi'in when the Assyrian governor came to initiate his daughter the night before her wedding. The revolt quickly spread around the country. Mattityahu died after one year and was succeeded by his son Yehudah – “Judah the Macabbee.”


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1. The fourth son of Jacob and Leah. He was blessed by Jacob to be the leader of the tribes. Consequently, the Davidic royal dynasty is from the tribe of Judah. 2. The southern part of Israel which was occupied by the Tribes of Judah and Benjamin, and always remained under the reign of the kings from the tribe of Judah.
It is forbidden to erase or deface the name of G-d. It is therefore customary to insert a dash in middle of G-d's name, allowing us to erase or discard the paper it is written on if necessary.