What Was the Cause of the Jewish Revolt Against Antiochus?
At the Hanukkah Seder we dip Lavash into burnt Almond Oil upon asking this question and the presentation of this ancient text.
"Moreover, King Antiochus wrote to his whole kingdom, that all should be one people. And everyone should leave his laws; so all the heathen agreed according to the commandment of the king. Yea, many also of the Israelites consented to his religion, and sacrificed unto idols, and profaned the Sabbath. For the king had sent letters by messengers unto Jerusalem and the cities of Judah that they should follow the strange laws of the land. And he forbid burnt offerings, and sacrifice, and drink offerings, in the Temple; and ordered that they should profane the Sabbaths and Festivals, pollute the sanctuary and holy people, set up altars, and groves, and chapels of idols, and sacrifice swine's flesh, and unclean beasts. He ordered hat the Jews should also leave the children uncircumcised, and make their souls abominable with all manner of uncleanness and profanation."
"To the end they might forget the law, and change all the ordinances (of the Torah). And whosoever would not do according to the commandment of the king, he said, he should die. In the selfsame manner wrote he to his whole kingdom, and appointed overseers over all the people, commanding the cities of Judah to sacrifice, city by city. Then many of the people were gathered unto there ceremonies, to wit every one that forsook the law; and so they committed evils in the land. And these proclamations drove the Israelites into secret places, even wheresoever they could flee for succor." From First Maccabees 41-53.
Antiochus was so heavy handed that his rulings produced an unintended and exaggerated reaction: The Jews resisted the extreme rulings he imposed on them. The first response is to flee to secret places, away from the authority of the Seleucid rulers. This type of overt oppression is actually very rare in Jewish history. But they are so traumatic, these times are remembered through new festivals and fast days that arose to commemorate them. Can you think of the times in Jewish history that a ruler tried to extinguish the Jewish way of life and the Jews themselves? How are they commemorated in the Jewish calendar?