|Eleazar sacrifices himself to bring down the elephant on which the king rides. |
Engraved by Jan de Broen from the design of Bernard Picart (1673-1733)
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This leaves the victory of the Hasmoneans over the Greeks as the main reason that the Sages established Chanukah, something also easily explained in naturalistic terms, especially since Maimonides does not mention anything about “the few versus the many.” If so, then like Purim, Chanukah is a holiday celebrating the Jewish defeat of gentile enemies in battle. This makes the ending of these halakhot, which focus on the importance of peace, all the more striking.