Rav Mike discusses the rise and decline of the Hasmonean dynasty, from a kingdom of priests to a  Hellenistic state. Along the way he delves into the weaknesses along which Judean society began to tear in their days and explores how they become the battle lines of the coming struggles.

In this episode Rav Mike describes the rise of Hellenistic Judaism as the background for the Hanukkah story. Judah and his brothers rose in revolt because they understood that identity is a matter of life and death. Their determination liberated the Temple, but what was the nature of the light they kindled there?

The encounter between Greek and Jewish culture was love at first sight. The two cultures were bridged by language, and one of the great products of their fusion was the Septuagint – the Greek translation of the Bible. But every translation is an interpretation, and it was not clear how long Hellenistic Judaism could walk the line between acculturation and assimilation.

R’ Mike’s ongoing history podcast. The Men of the Great Assembly lie on the other side of the mists of the Persian period from Daniel. They will begin to lay the foundations of Judaism as we know it, guiding Israel away from prophecy and toward wisdom. Aside from their place in chronology, what makes them so great?

This week Rav Mike teaches about the first return to Zion after the destruction of Solomon’s Temple and how Ezra and Nehemia rebuilt the walls of Jerusalem and the Jewish people.

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