Updated: Dec 15, 2020
The following is an English translation from a portion of a 1,735 year old Aramaic manuscript of the Targum of Tanakh (The Initial Meaning of Tanach). This specific portion is from the Targum of Sefer Zecharyah. While we read the text of Sefer Zecharyah on Shabbat Hanookah, very few ever get an opportunity to read the Targum of that text. Especially because this particular Targum has been censored and removed from the Targum of Tanakh and cannot be found anywhere else aside for the original manuscripts. This portion of Targum meticulously details the story of the Hashmonaim and how they miraculously defended Jerusalem from the onslaught of the Greek Empire.
To Download The Manuscript/Aramaic/Hebrew pdf booklet click the link-
It was a distressful time during the reign of Antiochus son of Antiochus, King of the Greeks, who came out from Rome, & ruled 127 countries from the most eastern part of India, to the most western part of Africa. He conquered all fortified cities & villages & ruled by sea and land, controlling them completely.
He then turned his attention to Jerusalem and said to his supporters, “Did you not hear that there exists a nation, the Judahites, whose Torah guides them towards customs and practices that are different from ours? Now come and let us subjugate them and wither away their practice of Torah so that they will be like the rest of the 70 nations and the entire Earth will be one language and practice: that of the Greeks.”
He then sent Nicanor, one of his second in commands, and his large army to Jerusalem to enforce his will. They successfully entered the city and killed everyone they could find there. They threw the corpses into the heart of the city, and the wounded were sold into bondage in the outside marketplaces. All the special musical instruments that were used to spark prophecy were destroyed and removed from the Beit Hamikdash. The Korbanot of Olah (elevation offering), Minchah (offering of thanks), and other forms of offerings to Hashem were terminated. Anything that differentiated the people of Israel from the other nations was deliberately attacked and destroyed in order to coerce the Children of Israel into joining the Greek vision of a collective “Utopia.”
After these horrific events, Yohanan, one of the sons of Matathyah was filled with a fiery rage and proceeded to craft himself a Chadifta, an extremely sharp, double-sided blade. He equipped this dagger in a secret sheath on his left thigh underneath his royal garments. Yochanan arose and went to the entrance gate to Jerusalem to purposefully be captured by the Greek guards and brought before Nicanor.
Nicanor speaks to Yohanan and asks him, “From which of the nations are you?” Yohanan responds, “I am from the children of Matathyah, the rebels against the king, but I have come before you to do your will and the will of the king.” Nicanor answers, “The thing I ask of you is not difficult. Take this cup of wine and lift it up over this Farachah (idolatrous alter) that I built and you will be made to be like one of the king’s loved ones. You will ride on the king’s horse, & wear lavish royal clothes of his, and a gold necklace will be placed around your neck.”
Yochanan told Nicanor that he will do as asked if Nicanor commanded his men to exit the room so that they should not go and say to the Children of Israel that Yohanan, the son of Matathyah, lifted a cup of wine over this idolatrous alter which would then give the Nation of Israel reason to try and convict him. Nicanor obliged Yochanan’s request, and when all the men left the room, Yochanan took the blade from his left thigh, took three steps, said three words (quick prayer), and stuck the blade in Nicanor’s heart, killing him in the process. On that day Yochanan killed 300 influential Greek officers & 3,000 officers under them, and they changed his name and gave him the nickname Mekanai. (“The one who is jealous for Me”)
Antiochus increased his fury when he heard of what happened. He sent Bagriis, another second to the king, to Jerusalem to exert his will. Bagriis and his army arrived in Jerusalem and took it over with ease, proceeded to kill everyone they could find there, and threw the corpses into the heart of the city. Those that were wounded were sold into bondage at the outside marketplaces. The Korbanoth of Olah, Minchah, and other offerings to Hashem were once again ceased. Anything that separated the people of Israel from the other nations was deliberately attacked and destroyed in order to coerce Israel into joining the Greek version of a collective “Utopia.”
Many from the Nation of Israel succumbed to the ways of the Greeks. They also started to inform & snitch to the Greeks as to where Matathyah, and his sons were residing. They then built idolatrous alters in the streets of the city. One influential member of this group offered incense on the alter and declared in a loud voice, “That who does not do the words of the King will be killed & have their souls taken from them” (suffer an excruciating, slow and painful death). Matathyah and his sons heard of these events and became filled with anger and sadness. They proceeded to kill all the Greek soldiers they could find. Only Bagriis and his entourage were able to escape.
Bagriis and his entourage arrived at the fortress walls of Jerusalem on Shabbat. While they were trying to breach the walls of the city, a distinguished man from the Nation of Israel who had succumbed to the Greek desires said to Bagriis, “Come and I will show you that there are Judahites who are hiding inside a cave.” Bagriis arrived to the mouth of the cave and called out in a sincere voice in a misguided attempt at “uniting” the Children of Israel with the Greek way, “Please come out Judahites from your cave, and eat from our bread, drink our wine, and be like us, and listen to the words of the king.”
At that moment, a prophetic word fell upon the hearts and minds of the Judahites who were hiding in the cave. They responded, “It is written with the 22 symbols of Truth in the Torah of Mosheh - that “6 days you shall do work and on the 7th you should relax and cease the undertaking of the 39 melachot.” It is better for us that we burn in a fire instead of violating the day of good, the Shabbat, and make it just like any other average day.” Bagriis heard those words, lit a fire by the mouth of the cave, and then killed approximately 1,000 outstanding men and women.
When Matathyah and his sons heard of what happened, they “went out from their places” both physically and mentally. They arrived at the Heights of the Moabites, and saw that an outstanding man from the Nation of Israel- and his wife had a baby boy. On this 8th day after the infant’s birth, the mother climbed the walls of the fortress with her son and declared with a loud voice, “We say to Bagriis and his armies of warriors & students & followers- that you will all say and admit that you have “failed to remove the dominion and power from the House of Israel.” It is better for us that we should die, than transgress the light of the Torah of Mosheh by not giving a Brit Milah to our boys.” She then performed the two acts of Brit Milah with her teeth and jumped along with her baby boy from the top of the wall and they died as one. Many of the daughters of Israel did the same in order to preserve the ways of the Torah and to not remove the covenant of Avraham from their boys flesh. Matathyah and his sons were filled with rage and sadness. They proceeded to kill all the Greek soldiers they could find. Only Bagriis and his entourage were able to escape.
Bagriis and his men returned to Antiochus and said, “All of our mighty armies from every place are nothing compared to the 5 sons of Matathyah.” Antiochus increased his rage and said to gather his personal army. Bagriis answered to Antiochus, “If you will go, you will be embarrassed. But if you just wage wars from afar- you will be celebrated. So instead, heed my good advice - write letters to all the kings you have under your rule and tell them to all go and fight the 5 sons of Matathyah.”
Antiochus listened to his advice and sent out letters to all the 127 kings under his rule. The kings obliged and they all went out from their countries and headed towards Jerusalem with iron carriages - like the sand that borders the ocean, the numbers were incomprehensible. The armies split up in groups of approximately 10,000 soldiers in the pursuit of defiling and impurifying the holiest parts of the Beit Hamikdash.
Matathyah and his 5 sons heard what was happening and decreed a tortuous fast amongst themselves. They sat on sackcloth, put ashes on their head, and cried profusely and found no calming down in front of The Elyon (above the physical) King - Almighty Hashem.
These are the names of the 5 sons of Matathyah:
The First = Yehoodah
The Second = Shimohn
The Third = Yohanan
The Fourth = Yonatan
The Youngest = Elahzar
Matathyah blessed all his sons with a unique blessing:
“Yehoodah - my son, to who can I compare you? I will compare you to Yehoodah, the son of Yaakov, because he dwells like a lion in the field.”
“Shimohn - my son, to who can I compare you? I will compare you to Shimon, the son of Yaakov, that with his power & might, he killed Chamor and destroyed all of Shechem.”
“Yohanan - my son, I will compare you to Avner, son of Ner. In battle- towards him they would go but afterwards they would not even be returnable.
“Yonatan – my son, I will compare you to Yonatan son of Shaul because scripture (Book of Samuel) states, ‘From the blood of corpses and the fats of the mighty ones, the sword of Shaul will not return clean, & the bow of Yonatan would not return empty.’”
“Elahzar – my son. Who can I compare you to? I will compare you to Yoav son of Tzerooyah, that when he draws his sword, piles of dead fly from before him.”
Yehoodah said to his brothers, “I have no armor, strong weapons, or chariots. I am giving over my soul to Hashem and will stand in the face of all the second to the kings who will arrive to conquer Jerusalem.”
Shimohn said to his brothers, “I have no armor, strong weapons, or chariots. I am giving over my soul to Hashem and will stand in the face of all 127 kings who will attempt to conquer Jerusalem.”
Yohanan said to his brothers, “I have no armor, strong weapons, or chariots. I am giving over my soul to Hashem and will stand in the face of all the wielders of scythes and spears that arrive to conquer Jerusalem.”
Yonatan said to his brothers, “I have no armor, strong weapons, or chariots. I am giving over my soul to Hashem and will stand in the face of all the wielders of bow & arrow that arrive to conquer Jerusalem.”
Elahzar said to his brothers, “I have no armor, strong weapons, or chariots. I am giving over my soul to Hashem and will stand in the face of all the elephants adorned in iron chain armor that arrive to conquer Jerusalem.”
Yehoodah said to Shimohn, “Take your bow in your left hand and your arrow in your right and send a shot over the enemy nations.”
In that moment Hashem, The Elyon (above the physical) King that exists in the Universes, sent 7 cruel angels who drove the Greek armies insane, destroying them from the inside via the destruction of their minds.
In a change of plans, Yehoodah and Shimohn changed roles as Yehoodah killed the 127 kings that arrived to overtake Jerusalem, and Shimohn killed all the second in commands. Yohanan killed all the infantry, Yonatan took out all the wielders of the bow and arrow, and Elahzar uprooted all the elephants adorned in armor out of the city.
After the fighting, the 4 eldest brothers went looking for Elahzar amongst the living and dead but he was nowhere to be found…
This entire recounting of the story of Hanookah & the Hashmonaim is the extra Targum (meaning) from a verse from the Book of Zechariah, (which we read for the Haftarah on Shabbat Hanookah) That has been censored and removed from the Targum of Tanakh and cannot be found anywhere else aside for the original manuscripts. The verse where this Targum fits in is: “And will inherit Hashem ALONG WITH (Et) Yehudah, their portion on the land, and will desire once again in Jerusalem.” (Zechariah 2, 16)
The key word in this Pasuk is ET. ET is a word that is often lost in translation. In some places it references the entire Hebrew Aleph Bet from Aleph until Tav. Here it is used to mean “Along with”. So who is receiving the inheritance to the kingdom based in Jerusalem along with Yehoodah- who are normally the kings and rulers?
The Targum- The meaning of the verse - reveals the answer- Hashem will bequeath the kingdom and rulership to the Hashmonaim ALONG WITH the kingdom & rulership of Yehudah. The Hashmonaim, Matathyah & his 5 sons - all Kohanim from the line of Levi, have a brief takeover of the entire kingdom of Israel which is normally under Yehudah’s leadership due to a state of emergency where the nation was nearly lost entirely to the Greek “culture”. And due to the Hashmonaim’s devotion to Hashem, in their merit and in their ancestors merit, Hashem brought the miracles of Hanookah as outlined here- foreseen by Zechariah. When applying this Targum, the story of the Hashmonaim, to the word ET, it becomes clear that Zecharyah was prophesying the events of Hanookah several hundred years before they occurred. Just like Hashem fulfilled the prophecy of Hanookah, Hashem The Infinite One will bring about all the miracles outlined in the rest of the prophecies in Tanakh- that are still waiting to happen…
Original transcribing from Aramaic manuscript & vowelizing & flipping it to Hebrew & translating it to English for the first time by ahavaechad.org
This cleaned up English version of the translated English Targoom - by Andrew
This English version revised by jacob night of 28th Kislev 5781:
Hanookah Sameach // Happy Hanookah
To Download The Manuscript/Aramaic/Hebrew pdf booklet click the link-