dreidel world

This is the follow on from the post about Heliocentrism, Sadducees and Sabbateans.

To recap, briefly, (for people who can’t read more than two sentences before the brain fuzz descends – i.e. everyone….), in the last post we learnt that:

  • Zadok was the first Kohen Gadol, appointed to Solomon’s Temple.
  • His descendants, the ‘Bnei Zadok‘, figure large in Yehezkel’s prophecy about the rebuilt Third Temple.
  • They also figure large in xtian prophecies about the end of days, and have the job of ‘serving Yoshki’ when he comes back after his second coming… in the Third Temple.
  • According to my historian correspondent, the ‘Bnei Zadok’ were heliocentrists, and very knowledgeable about the sun and planetary movements. The last of them, Onias III, actually went down fighting the hellenizers.
  • At the same time, we know there are a bunch of heretics who deny the validity of the oral Torah and who were against Chazal, and rabbinic Judaism, from the start.
  • These people are also called ‘Zadukim‘, or the anglicised version, ‘Sadducees’. The Sages used ‘Zadukim’ interchangeably with ‘Boethesian’ in the Gemara when talking about these heretics.
  • They got their names from the two students of Antigonus, Zadok and Boethus, who went OTD. Both of them appear to have been Kohanim, and heretical thinking appears to have been extremely pronounced amongst the Kohanim of that time. (See Pirkei Avot 1:3).
  • Antigonus got the tradition from Shimon HaTzaddik.
  • These ‘Sadducees-Boethesians’  are somehow connected to the problem of Jewish-xtians, Karaites, Sabbateans, Frankists and Jews-for-Jesus who have been plaguing our community, and trying to dismantle Judaism from within, for the last two millenia.
  • And the last place we got to, was the account in the Gemara where we learned about the strange case of ‘Chonyo’ and his brother ‘Shimi’ – two sons of Shimon HaTzaddik – who were battling it out to see who would become the Kohen Gadol.

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As we learnt in the last post, ‘Chonyo’ and ‘Shimi’ are battling it out to be the Kohen Gadol, after the death of Shimon HaTzaddik.

Depending on if you follow R’ Meir’s view (that Chonyo was the victim) or R’ Yehuda’s view (the Chonyo was the aggressor) – either way, Chonyo the son of Shimon HaTzaddik ends up in Egypt, where he builds some sort of temple – totally against halacha – and starts offering sacrifices there.

Again, the Gemara is split as to whether Chonyo was really ‘serving Hashem’, or really serving idols in his temple.

In the note at the bottom of Menuchot 109b, we learnt this:

Josephus Flavius reports that it was a smaller and poorer version. Josephus writes further that Chonyo [whom he calls ‘Onias’ and describes as a descendant of Shimon HaTzaddik] appealed to Ptolemy Philometer and his queen Cleopatra, who ruled Egypt from Alexandria, to allow him to develop a certain stretch of land for a Jewish Temple.

Josephus states that this land was in an area known as ‘the Nomus of Heliopolis’

We also learnt that:

Rambam adds that the Copts and their associates were attracted to Chonyo.

Chonyo encouraged them to serve Hashem and they listened to him. His statements were much esteemed by them and they made him their priest and honored his temple.

They served Hashem there and brought offerings according to what Chonyo had instructed them. The temple stood for hundreds of years.

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According to the ‘standard’ Jewish history we’re all told, Shimon HaTzaddik stopped Alexander the Great from conquering Jerusalem in the year 3448 (313 BCE).

This snippet comes from the Chabad website HERE:

In 3448, the Jewish people entered a time of great turbulence, both in the spiritual and material realms. Prophecy had come to a close, and Alexander the Great was conquering the known world.

Fortunately, a great leader, Shimon HaTzadik, deftly steered the people through uncharted waters. As Kohen Gadol and head of the Sanhedrin, he embodied both religious and political power. (In the absence of the monarchy, the Kohen Gadol represented the nation to the outside world. Previously, it was a purely religious office.)…

In 3448, Alexander marched through the land of Israel, bringing Persian rule to an end.

Filled with trepidation, the Jews sent a delegation of Kohanimled by Shimon HaTzadik, all dressed in their priestly raiments. Upon approaching Alexander, they were astounded when the great conqueror prostrated himself before Shimon! When asked the reason for such inexplicable behavior, Alexander replied that before his battles a vision of Shimon appeared to him promising victory.

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(See the full account in the Gemara, Tractate Yoma 69a.)

There’s just one problem with this: the dates don’t add up, historically.

When you ask the simple question ‘when did Shimon HaTzaddik actually live?’ you get the same sort of tremendous confusion that bears all the hallmarks of a massive cover-up. So, let’s start unpicking things by laying out a clear timeline, below.

I’m going to stick with the Hebrew dating, because ‘secular dating’ is by no means as solid and reliable.

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3338 – The First Temple is destroyed, and the Jewish people go into exile in Babylonia. (442 BCE, according to the Seder Olam).

3408 – Darius II succeeds Ahashverosh (of the Purim story) and gives the Jews permission to return to Israel and start rebuilding the Second Temple.

3412 – The rebuilt Second Temple in Jerusalem is completed.

3426 – Nehemiah is given permission to become the official governor of the Jews, in Israel. He rebuilds the wall surrounding Jerusalem.

3448 – Alexander the Great sweeps over the Middle East, and conquers Israel, bringing it under Greek rule.

So far so good?

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Now, let’s try to fit in the dates for the Chanukah Story.

3538-3574 – Antiochus III reigns in Judea, after wresting control of the country from King Ptolemy V Epiphanes of Egypt. (222-186 B.C.E)

3575 – Antiochus III dies, and his son Seleucus IV Philopator takes over as Greek ruler of Judea.

Around this time (the secular date given is 187 BCE, which equates to 3573) Seleucus decides to ransack the Temple treasury in Jerusalem, at the time that ‘Yochanan Kohen Gadol’ is the High Priest – the Yochanan from Chanuka, whose son Matityahu launches the rebellion against the hellenists:

[A]  man named Simon (…) reported to him [Apollonius] the treasury in Jerusalem was full of untold sums of money, so that the amount of the funds could not be reckoned, and that they did not belong to the account of the sacrifices, but that it was possible for them to fall under the control of the king. When Apollonius met the king, he told him of the money about which he had been informed. The king chose Heliodorus, who was in charge of his affairs, and sent him with commands to effect the removal of the reported wealth.

— 2 Maccabees 3:2-4, 6-7 (NRSV)
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NOTE: We have a firm time here for when ‘Yochanan Kohen Gadol’ was the High Priest, at least between 3575 and 3585.
3585 – Seleucus IV Philopator is assassinated by that same Heliodorus, above, who becomes regent of Judea for a short while, Seleucus’ brother claims the throne. This is the Greek King of the Chanukah account, Antiochus IV Epiphanes.
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Now, things get interesting.

When does the revolt of ‘Matityahu ben Yochanan Kohen Gadol‘ start?

3592 – 168 BCE.

(Note: is really hard to find a Jewish date for this, from authentic Jewish sources….If that seems surprising, I think you’ll start to see why this information is so hard to come by, shortly.) This snippet comes from Wikipedia, HERE:

Seleucid King Antiochus IV Epiphanes launched a massive campaign of repression against the Jewish religion in 168 BCE.

The reason he did so is not entirely clear, but it seems to have been related to the King mistaking an internal conflict among the Jewish priesthood as a full-scale rebellion. Jewish practices were banned, Jerusalem was placed under direct Seleucid control, and the Second Temple in Jerusalem was made the site of a syncretic Pagan-Jewish cult
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So…. who was the ‘Kohen Gadol’ at this time?

Let’s head over to Chabad, who excel like no other Jewish site, when it comes to finding priceless nuggets of information that give more clues about what was really going on, in real Jewish history – however much they try to cover it up.

Snippet from HERE:

Seleucus was killed and his brother Antiochus IV began to reign over Syria (in 3586 – 174 B.C.E.).

Desiring to unify his kingdom through the medium of a common religion and culture, Antiochus tried to root out the individualism of the Jews by suppressing all the Jewish Laws.

He removed the righteous High Priest, Yochanan, from the Temple in Jerusalem, and in his place installed Yochanan’s brother Joshua, who loved to call himself by the Greek name of Jason.

For he was a member of the Hellenist party, and he used his high office to spread more and more of the Greek customs among the priesthood.

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I know a lot of people get lost in all the info, so let’s sum this up as we go along:

  • The Kohen Gadol at the time Antiochus IV Epiphanes (the Chanuka tyrant) takes over as ruler of Judea is one ‘Yochanan Kohen Gadol’. We know this, because he is the Kohen Gadol who attempts to stop Antiochus IV’s brother, Seleucus, from stealing the Temple treasures, a few years’ earlier, (and because Chabad tells us….)
  • Antiochus begins his extremely harsh repression of the Jewish people – when circumcusion, Shabbat and the New Moon is outlawed – at this time, apparently mistaking an ‘internal conflict among the Jewish priesthood as a full-scale rebellion’.
  • The Gemara in Tractate Menuchot 109b tells us of a dispute between two sons of ‘Shimon HaTzaddik’, the Kohen Gadol, over who was to become the next Kohen Gadol. These two sons are named as ‘Chonyo’ and ‘Shimi’. There is a conflicting account over who is the good guy, and who is the bad guy. But both accounts agree that ‘Chonyo’ ends up fleeing Jerusalem, and goes to Egypt where he starts his own temple
  • Josephus tells us ‘Chonyo’ is also known as ‘Onias’.
  • The rebellion is begun by one ‘Matityahu ben Yochanan Kohen Gadol‘ – i.e., the son of the High Priest at the time of Antiochus’ usurping the Judean throne.

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OK, now let’s unpick some more.

Here’s some more clues from the Chabad website, HERE:

At this time the Kohen Gadol was a righteous man named Chonyo, a nickname for Jochanan.

His Hellenized brother Jason, the Greek version of Joshua, bribed Antiochus with vast sums of money to be appointed in Chonyo’s place.

Once installed as Kohen Gadol, Jason built a gymnasium close to the Temple Mount. Sadly, many of the Kohanim and Jewish youth flocked to the hedonistic entertainments provided by Jason, complete with offering sacrifices to the Greek gods….

Jason’s associate Menelaus, who may not even have been a Kohen, bribed Antiochus with even greater amounts of money to depose Jason and appoint Menelaus himself as Kohen Gadol.

Once in power, Menelaus stole the holy vessels of the Bais Hamikdash to raise the vast sums he needed to pay his bribe.

When Chonyo protested this brazen behavior, Menelaus had him murdered.

The Sanhedrin then sent a delegation to Antiochus accusing Menelaus of great excesses, but Menelaus bribed the king’s advisors and had the sages executed.

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So, now more of the story is coming into focus.

Yochanan = ‘Chonyo’ = Onias.

This would appear to be the same ‘Chonyo’ described in Menuchot 109b, who is fighting with his brother ‘Shimi’ over who will be the next High Priest.

Jason = Joshua / Jesus = ‘Shimi’

He’s the Hellenised brother, who builds a Greek gymnasium right next to Har HaBayit…. and apparently, he’s also the son of Shimon HaTzaddik.

And now, we also have two versions of that same story of Yochanan / Chonyo / Onias trying to stop some evil Hellenist from ransacking the Temple treasury. Except in one version, the villain is meant to be Seleucus’ agent Heliodorus, who apparently fails, and in the second version, it’s the arch-hellenist ‘Menelaus’ – who apparently succeeds, and has Yochanan / Chonyo / Onias killed when he’s deposed from being High Priest, and sent into exile in Daphne.

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Now, let’s see if we can track down ‘Yochanan / Chonyo / Onias’ and ‘Jason’ more in the real world.

This comes from Wiki HERE:

Jason was the High Priest of Israel from around 175 BCE to 171 BCE during the Second Temple period of Judaism.

He was of the Oniad family and was brother to Onias III, his predecessor as High Priest. Josephus records that his name was originally Jesus or Joshua before he changed it…

Onias III ruled as High Priest for an unknown length of time prior to Jason’s accession. Both Onias III and Jason were sons of Simon II, an earlier High Priest.

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Who is this ‘Simon II’?

This from Wiki, HERE:

Simon II (219–199 BCE) was a Jewish High Priest during the Second Temple period. He was the son of Onias II.

Some identify him with Simeon the Just.

I.E., he is ‘Shimon HaTzaddik’.

Notice that ‘Simon II’ apparently only lived for 20 years… that’s baloney.

We know that Shimon HaTzaddik served as Kohen Gadol for 40 years, so if it’s the same person, he must have lived at least a few years more than that.

As usual, the dates here are deliberately all over the place, but it’s at least possible that all these repeated ‘Shimons’ and ‘Onias” are actually just the same person, split into multiples to deliberately confuse us all, that the main ‘enemy’ leading the Hellenisers in Judaea was none other than ‘Jason -Jesus’, the son of Shimon HaTzaddik.

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OK, so let’s just finish up this particular post trying to trace what happened to ‘Jesus the Kohen Gadol’, son of Shimon HaTzaddik.

Remember, he descended from the same ‘Bnei Zadok’ as his apparently more righteous brother Yochanan / Chonyo / Onias III, and we know that the ‘Zadukim’ were the hellenizing Sadducees, who were against the Sages, (aka ‘Pharisees’).

We also know from the Gemara that there are conflicting accounts of what happened to ‘Onias’, and his brother, but that someone from this family went down to Egypt, and started a temple there.

And just to make things even more confused, Josephus says that the really, really  bad High Priest, Menelaus, was actually also a brother of Jason-Jesus, and Yochanan / Chonyo /Onias.

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As always, let’s go back to the ‘facts’ we do have, to see if we can stand more of them up with secondary sources.

There is more biographical details about Jason-Jesus from the Jewish Virtual Library site HERE, citing Maccabees 4:7–29:

Antiochus also granted him authority to establish in Jerusalem a Hellenist polis whose citizens were selected and registered by Jason himself.

Armed with this authority, he established within Jerusalem a city-state called Antiochia, whose citizens he chose from the Hellenized aristocracy of Jerusalem, and erected a gymnasium in the capital. His actions led to a strengthening of Hellenistic culture in the city and to a weakening of the traditional way of life and of religious worship (II Macc. 4:7–15).

This policy of Jason and his supporters was the chief cause of the Hasmonean revolt which broke out afterward, and which finally freed Judea from the rule of the Seleucids and gave birth to the Hasmonean dynasty.

Jason sent envoys and gifts to Tyre in honor of the festivities to the Tyrean god Heracles. He also welcomed Antiochus when he visited Jerusalem in 174 B.C.E.

However, three years later he was dismissed from the high priesthood by the king, and Menelaus, who offered Antiochus a larger sum of money for the office, was appointed in his stead.

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A few years later, in 168 B.C.E., when a false rumor spread that Antiochus was dead, [Jason-Jesus] attempted to return and seize power in Jerusalem.

He was unsuccessful, however, and was compelled to leave the city after instituting a slaughter of the inhabitants.

For a while he was imprisoned by the Arabian king, Aretas.

His last years were spent wandering from place to place, and he was not buried in the family sepulcher.

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So, it seems it was Jason-Jesus’ attempt to seize power in Jerusalem in 168 BCE that actually caused Antiochus Epiphanes to ratchet up his campaign of persecuting the Jews, and outlawing Jewish practice and circumcision.

Our biggest enemies always come from within.

On the Wikipedia page, (quoting more of the Book of Maccabees II)  we learn that he also spent at least some time in Ptolemic Egypt – where that temple was built, mentioned in Menuchot 109b.

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Getting back to that temple, it definitely did exist.

But there’s a question of whether it was actually built by Yochanan / Chonyo / Onias III, Jason-Jesus’ brother, or by his son, Onias IV.

Snippet from HERE):

The temple was probably built by Junio IV, son of Junio III between 170 and 154 BC, in Egypt. The dynasty of Honio’s sons served as high priests in the temple for its 243-year existence and in fact continued the dynasty of the priests of Zadok.

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Snippet from HERE:

After being removed from the ministry of the high priesthood, he went down with his family and supporters to Egypt, sometime between 166 and 162 BC… Upon his arrival, Honio [IV] sent a letter to Ptolemy VI Philomator and his wife Cleopatra, as noted by Josephus Flavius in Antiquity of the Jews, Book 13: 64-68.

More:

By a unique coincidence, an interesting alliance was formed between the son of a Jewish high priest who fled to Egypt from political persecution and the desecration of the Temple, in order to fulfill an ancient prophecy about a new temple in Egypt, and the supreme ruler of Egypt.

Ptolemy [Philopater] enlists [Chonyo / Onias IV] sons and supporters as allies and as a military force in exchange for land and permission to establish their temple there.

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Chonyo / Onias IV gets VERY cosy with the Egyptian rulers.

When Ptolemy Philopater dies, it’s Onias IV, head of his army, and his Jewish mercenaries, who save the Egyptian Queen Cleopatra when a civil war erupts.

I’m starting to think that ‘Onias IV’ may be one and the same as ‘Jason-Jesus-Joshua’, the hellenizing High Priest from Jerusalem, who sparks them massive Greek oppression of the Jews, then basically scarpers. He has a lot of military experience and is basically an immoral git.

It kinda makes sense that ‘Jesus the power hungry Kohen Gadol’ would build his own temple down in Heliopolis, and start his own religion.

I am going to stop here, for now, because I have some more mind-blowing information linking the ‘Bnei Zadok’ with Yoshki, xtianity – and also the Ptolemy family.

But that deserves it’s own post.

TBC

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PS: Once all this information is finally shaken out, some more, I will do a post setting it all out very clearly.

I know it’s not always easy to follow the progression of these posts, but each one is a stepping stone clearing more of the confusion out of the way.

So bear with me.

The end is finally looming into sight.

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7 replies
  1. Yosef from the Galil
    Yosef from the Galil says:

    The same Jason whose tomb is supposedly in Rehavia?
    Very interesting post. Looking forward to the next one.

    Reply
  2. Reuven
    Reuven says:

    Interesting. According to Wikipedia on ‘Jason’s Tomb’:
    – “Another inscription states that Jason sailed to the coast of Egypt”

    Hmm, just like a certain student of Yehoshua Ben Perachia who also went down to Egypt to learn black magic.

    Or, the son of Yochanan Kohen Gadol who went to Egypt to build the ‘other’ Temple.

    Or, both are the same person anyway…

    Hmm…!

    Reply
    • Daisy
      Daisy says:

      Speaking of which: it is interesting that while in Egypt he started proselytizing to goyim in his temple…. hmmm, rings a bell?

      Reply

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