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| Today is the 28th of Shvat, an ancient Jewish holiday

Zev Stub    
Tuesday, 13 February 2:42 PM
Thanks to Yishai Fleisher  for this! 
The 28th of Shvat was a Hebrew festival in ancient times, celebrating Jerusalem's salvation from destruction.

Roughly a year after the Ḥanukah victory and rededication of the Temple, the Seleucid Greek military again invaded Judea from the south. The desperate imperial forces, led by the child King Antiochus V and his regent Lysias, employed war elephants for the first time in their campaign to crush the Maccabees. When the Judean fighters, led by Yehuda ben Matityahu HaKohen, engaged the foreign soldiers at Beit Zakharia, they were shocked by the sight of the great ferocious beasts.

Elazar Avaran, younger brother of Yehuda, quickly regained his courage and successfully killed an elephant he mistakenly believed to be carrying the king. But not being fast enough to escape after killing the beast, he himself was crushed by the fallen animal. Seeing Elazar dead and overwhelmed by the giant elephants, Yehuda's guerrillas retreated from the enemy (for the first time since launching the revolt) and took refuge within the fortified walls of Jerusalem.

Antiochus and Lysias laid siege to the city, hoping to starve the Maccabees out. But on the 28th of Shvat, after learning of a political rival seizing power in Antioch, the child king and his regent lifted the siege and redirected their forces to fight for the throne. Jerusalem was saved and the 28th of Shvat became observed as one of several festivals on the Hebrew calendar commemorating the Maccabean struggle for independence. ✊🏽🔥🏹

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