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Kneeling, Judiasm and Hanukah

Poster: Jessica Rechtschaffer <jsrechts@email.unc.edu>

>  Kneeling is discouraged, if not forbidden in the Jewish faith for a few
> reasons. The one that I find particularly striking is the story of a woman
> (I believe her name is Hanna) and her seven sons. This family lived in one
> of the periods of Jewish oppression, perhaps in the Maccabees time. Hanna
> and her sons were called before the king and ordered to kneel. Each son
> then finally Hanna chose death rather then rather then kneel before a
> king. I don't think it would be honoring their memories if I kneeled, even in
> the context of a game.

The story of the Maccabees is entwined in the background of a cultural
war between the Hellenist Syrians and the more traditional Jewish
community.  The local King, Antiochus, imposed Hellenistic religious
beliefs on the local religions which included the Jews.  Additionally,
there was a Jewish Hellenistic faction that espoused Greek thought that 
had gained strength at this time.  The question wasn't about kneeling in
front a king but kneeling in front of an idol and making sacrifices to
idols in the Temple. Hanna and her sons refused to bow to these idols and
make sacrifices to the Greek gods and were thus martyred as a result.

Unfortunately, while originally the Maccabees were heroes, their rule
after their victory and rededication of the Temple, was anything but a
success. They invited the Romans in to help them quash their political
opponents and we all know what the Romans did. :(
Whether you kneel or not is your own decision and you should do
whatever you feel comfortable, no matter what your religious belief is.

Some more info can be found on  Jewish Heritage On-line:

> http://www.jhom.com/calendar/kislev97/origins.html

This is an excellent resource by the way.


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