The Hashmonaim are an integral part of the Hanukkah story.

BUT after the story of Hanukkah the Hashmonite family did some very terrible things (wars between Jews etc) during their reign.

Why do we celebrate the Hashmonite victory during the story of Hanukkah if they became so corrupted afterwards?

Why do we not just celebrate the victory and the oil? Is there any reason to mention Matisyahu during our prayers at all?

  • why celebrate David HaMelech, if his descendants did such horrible things?
    – Menachem
    Jul 8, 2013 at 22:26

1 Answer 1


This is answered by RaMBa"M (Hil. Megillah VeHanukah 3:1).

He writes:

הושיעם מידם והצילם וגברו בני חשמונאי הכהנים הגדולים והרגום והושיעו ישראל מידם והעמידו מלך מן הכהנים וחזרה מלכות לישראל יתר על מאתים שנים עד החורבן השני.‏

[G-d] saved [Israel] from [the] hands [of the Yevanim] and rescued [Israel] from them, and the Hasmonean high priests became victorious and killed [the Yevanim] and saved Israel from them and installed a king from [among] the priests and returned to Israel a[n autonomous] kingdom for more than two hundred years until the second destruction.

(My own translation)

This is significant because, despite the fact that they were not Davidic kings, the fact that there was Jewish independence for over 200 years prevented the loss of Jewish identity and probably secured the Jewish religious observance that has subsequently survived to today.

  • Yes, but this dynasty was known to bad for the jews with all the wars that went on ETC. The gemarah does not ever even mention the hashmonaem at all!
    – Naftali
    Dec 10, 2012 at 16:13
  • I never really understood what he means by 200 years.
    – Double AA
    Dec 10, 2012 at 16:24
  • There was still Jewish autonomy in Eretz Yisrael. Religious autonomy. I think that's pretty important to the RaMBa"M.
    – Seth J
    Dec 10, 2012 at 17:22
  • @SethJ Is your comment a response to me or Naftali?
    – Double AA
    Apr 9, 2013 at 20:29

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .