The Poison that is Pharisaic Judaism—the forerunner of Rabbinic Judaism

The Sadducees came to power during the days of the Maccabees–who were a family of Kohanim that defeated the Greek attempt to Hellenize Israel. While often maligned by Rabbinic mythology, the Sadducees fought hard against Hellenization.

The Hasmonean Kingdom was sympathetic to the Sadducees as the rightful authority of the Temple and the Torah–which proves that the Sadducees were not Greek sympathizers as it was the Sadducees under the Maccabees that withstood the Hellenization of Israel.

The Hasmoneans remained loyal to the Sadducess until the time of John Hyrcanus; Hyrcanus was pressured by the Pharisees to relinquish his position as Kohen Gadol on the grounds that the Kohen Gadol should be a religious leader but not a secular one–thus exposing their earliest attempts to undermine the Kohanic rule in Israel. Hyrcanus left a will that appointed his wife as the civil ruler while his son Judas Aristobulus was made Kohen Gadol.

Judas Aristobulus became the first king of Israel since the destruction of the monarchy by the Babylonians; he was also a Kohen Gadol and thus was the first to combine the two titles. While the Sadducees were not concerned with the idea of a Kohen being a King, the Pharisees were infuriated by this and began to seek the overthrow of Sadduceean control.

Judas Aristobulus married Salome Alexandra who was the daughter of the Pharisee Shetah Bar Yossei and the brother of Simeon ben Shetah who was the first Pharisee to oust the Sadducees from the Sanhedrin. Judas died from an unknown stomach ailment–which was probably poison.

Salome Alexandra then married Judas Aristobulus’ brother Alexander Jannaeus. Alexander was a staunch Sadducee and under his rule, the Pharisees launched an open rebellion. At Alexader’s death, his two sons–both of whom were supported by the Pharisees because they were the grandsons of Simeon ben Shetah–began a civil war over the Kehunah and rule of Israel; as a result, they both appealed to Rome to intercede. Commenting on this, Josephus made the following comments

“NOW Alexander left the kingdom to Alexandra his wife, and depended upon it that the Jews would now very readily submit to her, because she had been very averse to such cruelty as he had treated them with, and had opposed his violation of their laws, and had thereby got the good-will of the people. Nor was he mistaken as to his expectations; for this woman kept the dominion, by the opinion that the people had of her piety; for she chiefly studied the ancient customs of her country, and cast those men out of the government that offended against their holy laws. And as she had two sons by Alexander, she made Hyrcanus the elder high priest, on account of his age, as also, besides that, on account of his inactive temper, no way disposing him to disturb the public. But she retained the younger, Aristobulus, with her as a private person, by reason of the warmth of his temper.

And now the Pharisees joined themselves to her, to assist her in the government. These are a certain sect of the Jews that appear more religious than others, and seem to interpret the laws more accurately. low Alexandra hearkened to them to an extraordinary degree, as being herself a woman of great piety towards God. But these Pharisees artfully insinuated themselves into her favor by little and little, and became themselves the real administrators of the public affairs: they banished and reduced whom they pleased; they bound and loosed [men] at their pleasure; (4) and, to say all at once, they had the enjoyment of the royal authority, whilst the expenses and the difficulties of it belonged to Alexandra. She was a sagacious woman in the management of great affairs, and intent always upon gathering soldiers together; so that she increased the army the one half, and procured a great body of foreign troops, till her own nation became not only very powerful at home, but terrible also to foreign potentates, while she governed other people, and the Pharisees governed her.”

War of the Jews Book 1 Chapter 5:1-2

Both the Sadducees and the Essense rejected the notion of the Pharisaic traditions being the Oral Torah delivered to Moses at Sinai; because of this, and the Pharisaic notion that only a descendant of David was allowed to be King–which is completely contrary to the Torah–the Pharisees devised the overthrow of the Hasmonean dynasty and the Sadduceean rule–which ultimately was accomplished by inviting the Romans into Israel and culminated in the total destruction of the Second Temple and the exile of the Israelites for nearly 2,000 years.

Everyone who buys into Rabbinic Judaism also lends support to those directly responsible for the destruction of the Priesthood, the Temple and sacrificial system—without which we remain impure and guilty of sin—and the exile of the Israelites just to have their own Oral Torah reign supreme of Israel.

According to the Wikipedia article on the Pharisees

“According to Josephus, the Pharisees appeared before Pompey asking him to interfere and restore the old priesthood while abolishing the royalty of the Hasmoneans altogether.[28] Pharisees also opened Jerusalem’s gates to the Romans, and actively supported them against the Sadducean faction.[29] When the Romans finally broke the entrance to the Jerusalem’s Temple, the Pharisees killed the priests who were officiating the Temple services on Saturday.[30] They regarded Pompey’s defilement of the Temple in Jerusalem as a divine punishment of Sadducean misrule. Pompey ended the monarchy in 63 BCE and named Hyrcanus II high priest and ethnarch (a lesser title than “king”).[31] Six years later Hyrcanus was deprived of the remainder of political authority and ultimate jurisdiction was given to the Proconsul of Syria, who ruled through Hyrcanus’s Idumaean associate Antipater, and later Antipater’s two sons Phasael (military governor of Judea) and Herod (military governor of Galilee). In 40 BCE Aristobulus’s son Antigonus overthrew Hyrcanus and named himself king and high priest, and Herod fled to Rome.”

About Ya'aqov ben Yisrael

I am simply a man with questions and trying to figure out the answers; my greatest joys are found in the study of Torah: its language and exegesis.
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