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Women in the Chanukah Story

In the Chanukah story, did the women have any part of the fighting? What was their role?

The Aish Rabbi Replies:

The Maccabean women did participate in the war against the Hellenists – but not as part of the fighting army. In fact, their role was so great that there is a tradition till today for women not to do any work during the time the Chanukah candles are lit.

Another reason that women particularly emphasize Chanukah observance is because one of the evil decrees issued by the Greeks was that every woman who wanted to get married was first required to have relations with the Greek ruler.

Additionally, the miracle itself came about through the heroism of a woman. Yehudit, the daughter of Yochanan the High Priest, volunteered to save the Jewish people by visiting the Syrian-Greek tyrant Eliforni. She fed him salty food, and gave him wine to quench his thirst. He got drunk, passed out, and she took his sword and lopped off his head. When she showed the head to the Greek commanders, they fled in fear.

Happy Chanukah to all the amazing Jewish women!

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