Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Feast of Women's Liberation

Dr. Yael Levine wrote a fascinating piece in today's Ma'ariv, on some little-known midrashim that suggest that the Hasmonean resistance movement was inspired by Chana, the daughter of Matityahu the high priest. She resisted the Greek-Syrian decree of Jus Primae Noctis inspired by the story of Dinah and Shechem, and the resulting two battles won by her brothers initiated the resistance. Further, the Pri Etz Chaim of R' Chaim Vital, based on the teachings of the Ariza"l, attributes the success of the Hasmoneans to Chana's resistance, among other successes attributed to righteous women (Purim - Esther, the Exodus - Bitya Bat Pharaoh, etc.)

Dr. Levine goes on to draw a message from the story, suggesting that all of us work hard to resist infringements on the persons and selves of women, fighting prejudice, rape, prostitution and human slavery, drawing on Chana bat Matityahu's example.

The story is found in the Midrash Chanukah, which one can find in Jellinek's Beit haMidrash or Eisenstein's Otzar Midrashim, and also alluded to in the Oxford ms. (and more explicitly told in the Mishmash Nusach [what Vered Noam calls the Nusach haKilayim]) of the scholion to Megillat Taanit.

Go read Dr. Levine's editorial, linked above.

1 comment:

Aunt Laya said...

Thank you for posting this!