A reading of the Aruch Hashulchan's description of the Miracle of Chanukah shows that there is a word he didn't use. What is it and why ?

closed as not constructive by Isaac Moses Jun 17 '11 at 21:49

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  • How about putting up the text here, or at least a link? – Dave Nov 12 '10 at 15:59
  • @Dave. Good idea. Done. – Isaac Moses Nov 12 '10 at 16:09

I'm thinking Yevanim (instead he uses the name אנטיוכוס, and even pluralizes it in the first sentence).

That's probably got something to do with censorship (i.e., either R' Yechiel Michel changed it himself, or the government censor did so), because "Yevanim" was a popular term for the Russians, whose brand of Christianity is an offshoot of the Greek church.

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    It also happens to be more technically correct from a geographical standpoint -- the "people led by Antiochus" certainly followed Greek culture, but themselves were from Syria. But your point about censorship certainly adds to it. – Shalom Nov 12 '10 at 17:07
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    True, though it seems kind of odd to say that the אנטיוכוסים issued anti-Torah decrees, since that was true only of Antiochus IV (indeed, his father, Antiochus III, is reported as being very friendly towards the Jews). – Alex Nov 12 '10 at 18:38
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    If you're sensitive about inadvertently ascribing one Antiochus' evil to all Antiochi, you should be at least as sensitive about inadvertently ascribing some "Greeks'" evil to all Greeks! :) – Isaac Moses Nov 12 '10 at 20:10
  • True, but the difference is that there was definitely more than one Greek involved, whereas apparently there was only one Antiochus. – Alex Nov 13 '10 at 23:36
  • @Alex But proportionally, a higher percentage of Antiochi were evil than of total Greeks ever. – Double AA Nov 11 '13 at 17:31

To quote my father on this... My dad noted that it gets rid of Yavan in Malchus Yavan HaRasha. He suggests that this is because he was living in Novardok, Russia. Note how the Aruch HaShulchan must effusively praise the Czar in order to get his work published. Imagine, now, speaking about Ivan the Rasha.

I would guess that this is the answer you have in mind for this riddle.

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    actually, now i see that this is more or less the answer proposed above. – josh waxman Jan 12 '11 at 12:01
  • Actually, the answer above seems to indicate that Yavan was a popular term because of a fondness for Greek culture due to the adoption of the Greek Orthodox brand of Christianity in Russia. But writing the term "Evil Yavan" when it could appear as "Ivan the Terrible" (which is what I think you're saying) lends even more credence to the idea of censorship. – Seth J Mar 30 '11 at 20:12

It is possible that he refers to the terrible defeat suffered at Bet Zur by the Jews at the hands of Antiochus V (or rather his general Lysias), who ruled for two years after Antiochus IV's death. Due to internal Seleukid politics Lysias gave Judea its freedom anyway, and Ant V was soon killed by his cousin Demetrios I.

  • So what word didn't he use? – Seth J Apr 1 '11 at 13:20

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