The Ramban (Nahmanides) in Parshas Vayachi says that the the Maccabees' children where killed out because they took the kingship from Shevet Yehuda. I was told (in the name of Reb Solovechick) the Rambam (Maimonides) disagrees. Where in Hilchos Chanukah does the Rambam indicate a disagreement?

  • I don't have a Rambam Al HaMishnayot handy, but if you do I would guess that this is in the Perush HaMishnayot. See on Baba Kama 6:6 Dec 21, 2011 at 0:01

1 Answer 1


Mishna Torah (Hilchos Megilla v'Chanuka 3:1-3):

בבית שני, כשמלכי יון גזרו גזרות על ישראל... וגברו בני חשמונאי הכהנים הגדולים, והרגום, והושיעו ישראל מידם; והעמידו מלך מן הכהנים, וחזרה מלכות לישראל יתר על מאתים שנים, עד החורבן השני. ... ומפני זה התקינו חכמים שבאותו הדור שיהיו שמונת ימים האלו שתחלתן כ"ה בכסליו ימי שמחה והלל ומדליקין בהן הנרות בערב על פתחי הבתים בכל לילה ולילה משמונת הלילות להראות ולגלות הנס

In this description of the story of Chanuka, the reign of the Chashmonaim is implied to be a good thing, as it is listed among the reasons that Chanuka was designated as a time of celebration.

However, it is not really clear whether Rambam would disagree with Ramban that these Kohanim were wrong in assuming kingship over Israel in that they were not from Shevet Yehuda, or whether his inclusion of the fact that "והעמידו מלך מן הכהנים, וחזרה מלכות לישראל יתר על מאתים שנים" is not because it is necassarily cause for celebration.

R' Soleveitchik did offer an explanation for the Rambam's understanding of the celebration of Chanuka, and the contribution of the Chashmonaim's rulership to our celebration. See this essay for a discussion of his theory and how it affects the question of whether the Rambam viewed the Chashmonaim as "usurpers" of the kingship.

  • If i say the Yankees(really bad example for Chanukah but serves its purpose) win, as a sports caster why does that imply that I am a Yankee fan? Dec 21, 2011 at 3:27
  • @simchashatorah, If you say that the Yankees win and you are going home to celebrate, that implies that you are a Yankees fan.
    – jake
    Dec 21, 2011 at 3:45
  • where in the Rambam do you see I am going to celebrate Dec 21, 2011 at 3:53
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    it does not say because of the malchus it says because of the story Dec 21, 2011 at 4:06
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    @simchashatorah, Yes, it is not completely clear, but it seems that the malchus is part of the story that Rambam tells explaining why we celebrate. Otherwise, why mention it at all?
    – jake
    Dec 21, 2011 at 4:08

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