Tuesday, 27 December 2011

The Hanukkah I Hanukkah II Hypothesis - Part 3

«Perhaps we can offer another approach?»
How about a simple hypothesis - with very few kinks to work out?

Hanukkah I -
• Military Victory
• Political Independence
• Re-Dedication of Bet Hamikdash and Mizbei'ach -
Which in turn reflects Hag Sukkot, a celebration of the First Mikdash of Sh'lomoh haMelech
Al Hanissim Account
• Josephus Account
• Macccabees Account
• Early Braittot including opinions of Beth Shammai and Beth Hillel - which are probably pre-Hurban

Then comes the Hurban
• Loss of Independence
• Loss of Mikdash
• No M'gillat Taanit
• No Halachic Hanukkah anymore
• No Need for Mishnayaot re: Hiilchot Hanukkah, only passive mention of what might have become a Minhag

Hanukkah II
• Spiritual Revival
• Miracle of Oil
• Sans Military or Political considerations
Talmud Bavli [and Scholion of M'gilat Ta'anit]
Hashgachah during Galut - reminiscent of Purim
Hallel Now for Miracle of Oil instead of for Mikdash


Thus -

1. Al Hanissim and Bavli have differing accounts because they describe different aspects based upon different eras.

2. The Mishnah was redacted when Rebbi felt that Hanukkah was "out-of-commission" Now, it is indeed possible of course that others differed during that same era...

3. IIRC none of the post-Hurban Tannaim who dominate the Mishnah are named in the Braittot, note the Mishnah re: Getz hayotzei as an exception

4. The Amoraim have a robust set of Meimrot. Suggesting Hanukkah II was in full swing shortly after Rebbi.

Just like an old battleship consigned to "mothballs" only to come back to life in a future conflict, so too Hanukkah came back to life and was refitted with a theme more fitting for Galut rather than for Military/Political Triumph.

We now observe Hanukkah II, with sparse vestiges of Hanukkah I surviving, such as Al Hanissim.



micha berger said...

Which means that Beis Hillel's position has to be explained without recourse to saying the miracle increased with each day -- the focus wasn't on the miracle yet.

Li nir'eh the initial lack of attention to the miracle makes sense: how many people could have witnesses it? The menorah is inside a room only the kohanim who reached the BHMQ could have entered. And when do we ever have a holiday about a miracle that isn't a national event?

OTOH, the war aspect was part of the general tenor of megillas Taanis, and would evaporate when the rest of the megillah did. That aspect reminds me of the difference between the two batei miqdash: the current holiness of the Temple Mount is due to the 2nd commonwealth -- when Jews settled the land and lived as Jews. The holiness established in Yehoshua's day -- that which was founded by conquering is repealed by conquering. The military aspect of Chanukah similarly disappears with the Roman military victory. But the doing-the-mitzvah aspect endures.

Nishma said...

First, I want to say that I like both vorts -- the idea of public miracle and the comparison to the conquests.

With the idea of public miracle, I am just wondering if this could actually the essence of the pshat in the Maharal. Indeed it was the public miracle of the wars that was the basis of the holiday but it was the private recount of what happened inside the Beis HaMikdash that was mgaleh the true nature of the war neis.

This approach actually also fits in nicely with Rabbi Wolpoe's approach. It was always about the neis -- just how we spoke of the neis changed because of the circumstances.


micha berger said...

R' Hecht,

Thanks for spelling that out, in particular the last paragraph. Recent exchanges have led me to realize that despite my best efforts, I seem to sound like I'm arguing when in reality I am giving a minor riff on the same theme.