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Three Crowns of Isreal

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The Talmud (Hebrew: תַּלְמוּד talmūd "instruction, learning", from a root lmd "teach, study") is a central text of mainstream Judaism. It takes the form of a record of rabbinic discussions pertaining to Jewish law, ethics, philosophy, customs and history.


The Talmud has two components: the Mishnah (c. 200 CE), the first written compendium of Judaism's Oral Law; and the Gemara (c. 500 CE), a discussion of the Mishnah and related Tannaitic writings that often ventures onto other subjects and expounds broadly on the Tanakh.


Three Crowns of Isreal


*Keter Torah* (the crown of Torah) - Keter Torah* lies in wait and is accessible to all of Yisrael, as it says: (Devarim 33:4) "Moshe commanded us the Torah, as the heritage of the congregation of Yaakov." - anyone who wishes may come and take [this crown]. Perhaps you will say that the other crowns are greater than *Keter Torah*? but it says: (Pr. 8:15-16) "Through me kings rein and rulers decree just laws; through me princes rule..." - you can infer that *Keter Torah* is greater than both of them.


*Keter Kehuna* (the crown of the priesthood) - Keter Kehuna* was earned by Aharon, as it says: (Bamidbar 25:13) It shall be for him and his descendants after him a pact of priesthood for all time...


*Keter Malkhut* (the crown of royalty) - Keter Malkhut* was earned by David, as it says: (Ps. 89:37) "His line shall continue forever, his throne, as the sun before MeI





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Guest Soldier of God

Mark 7:5


5 So the Pharisees and scribes asked him, 'Why do your disciples not respect the tradition of the elders but eat their food with unclean hands?'


6 He answered, 'How rightly Isaiah prophesied about you hypocrites in the passage of scripture: This people honours me only with lip-service, while their hearts are far from me.


7 Their reverence of me is worthless; the lessons they teach are nothing but human commandments.


8 You put aside the commandment of God to observe human traditions.'


9 And he said to them, 'How ingeniously you get round the commandment of God in order to preserve your own tradition!

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Each of the tribal princes of Israel took a rod and wrote his name upon it, and the twelve rods were laid up over night in the tent of meeting.


The next morning Aaron’s rod was found to have budded and blossomed and produced ripe almonds (Numbers 17:8). The miracle proved merely the prerogative of the tribe of Levi; but now a formal distinction was made in perpetuity between the family of Aaron and the other Levites. While all the Levites (and only Levites) were to be devoted to sacred services, the special charge of the sanctuary and the altar was committed to the Aaronites alone (Numbers 18:1-7). The scene of this enactment is unknown, as is the time mentioned.

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Guest Soldier of God

“Judaism” is a term designating the period of Israelite history which began in 538 B.C. with the permission from the Persian authorities to reconstruct the Jerusalem Temple. The religion of Judaism, in many respects, inherited the pre-exilic religion of the kingdom of Judah.


The Pharisees were not a priestly movement. Apparently, the seizure of the High Priesthood by the Maccabees did not proccupy them. Nevertheless, their very name, which implies separation, is probably the result of strong criticism of the Hasmonean descendants of the Maccabees, from whose growing secularised rule they dissociated themselves. To the written Law, the Pharisees added a second Law of Moses, the oral Law. Their interpretation was less strict than the Essenes and more innovative than the conservative Sadducees who accepted only the written Law. They also differed from the Sadduccees by professing belief in the resurrection of the dead and in angels (Ac 23:8), beliefs that made their appearance during the post-exilic period.



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The Pharisees, meaning “set apart”, were at various times a political party, a social movement, and a school of thought among Jews during the Second Temple period beginning under the Hasmonean dynasty (140–37 BCE) in the wake of the Maccabean Revolt.


Conflicts between the Pharisees and the Sadducees took place in the context of much broader and longstanding social and religious conflicts among Jews dating back to the Babylonian captivity and exacerbated by the Roman conquest.


One conflict was class, between the wealthy and the poor, as the Sadducees included mainly the priestly and aristocratic families.


Another conflict was cultural, between those who favored Hellenization and those who resisted it.


A third was juridico-religious, between those who emphasized the importance of the Second Temple, and those who emphasized the importance of other Mosaic laws and prophetic values.


A fourth, specifically religious, involved different interpretations of the Torah and how to apply it to current Jewish life, with the Sadducees recognizing only the Written Torah and rejecting doctrines such as the Oral Torah and the Resurrection of the Dead.


Josephus (37 – c. A.D. 100), himself a Pharisee, claimed that the Pharisees received the backing and goodwill of the common people, apparently in contrast to the more elite Sadducees.


Pharisees claimed prophetic or Mosaic authority for their interpretation of Jewish laws, while the Sadducees represented the authority of the priestly privileges and prerogatives established since the days of Solomon, when Zadok, their ancestor, officiated as High Priest.


After the destruction of the Second Temple in 70 CE Pharisaic beliefs became the basis for Rabbinic Judaism, which ultimately produced the normative traditional Judaism which is the basis for all contemporary forms of Judaism except for Karaism.

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Titus Flavius Josephus (37 – c. A.D. 100), also called Joseph ben Matityahu (Biblical Hebrew: יוסף בן מתתיהו, Yosef ben Matityahu), was a 1st-century Romano-Jewish historian and hagiographer of priestly and royal ancestry who recorded Jewish history, with special emphasis on the 1st century AD and the First Jewish–Roman War which resulted in the Destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD.


He has been credited by many as recording some of the earliest history of Jesus Christ outside of the gospels.


Josephus introduces himself in Greek as Iōsēpos (Ιώσηπος), son of Matthias, an ethnic Jew, a priest from Jerusalem". He was the second born son of Matthias and his wife, who was an unnamed Jewish noblewoman. His older brother who was his full blooded sibling was also called Matthias. The mother of Josephus was an aristocratic woman who descended from royalty and of the former ruling Hasmonean Dynasty. Josephus’ paternal grandparents were Josephus and his wife, an unnamed Jewish noblewoman. His paternal grandparents were distant relatives as they were both direct descendants of Simon Psellus. Josephus came from a wealthy, aristocratic family and through his father he descended from the priestly order of the Jehoiarib, which was the first of the twenty four-orders of Priests in the Temple in Jerusalem. Through his father, Josephus was a descendant of the High Priest Jonathon. Jonathon may have been Alexander Jannaeus, the High Priest and Hasmonean ruler who governed Judea from 103 BC-76 BC. He was born and raised in Jerusalem. Josephus was educated alongside his brother.


He fought the Romans in the First Jewish-Roman War of 66–73 as a Jewish military leader in Galilee. Prior to this, however, he was sent as a young man in his early twenties for negotiations with Emperor Nero for the release of several Jewish priests. He later returned to Jerusalem and was drafted as a commander of the Galilean forces. After the Jewish garrison of Yodfat fell under siege, the Romans invaded, killing thousands; the survivors committed suicide. According to Josephus, however, in circumstances that are somewhat unclear, Josephus found himself trapped in a cave with forty of his companions in July 67. The Romans (commanded by Flavius Vespasian and his son Titus, both subsequently Roman emperors) asked him to surrender once they discovered where he was, but his companions refused to allow this. He therefore suggested a method of collective suicide: they drew lots and killed each other, one by one, counting to every third person. The sole survivor of this process was Josephus (this method as a mathematical problem is referred to as the Josephus problem, or Roman Roulette) who then surrendered to the Roman forces and became a prisoner. In 69 Josephus was released, and according to Josephus's own account, he appears to have played a role as a negotiator with the defenders during the Siege of Jerusalem in 70.


In 71, he arrived in Rome in the entourage of Titus, becoming a Roman citizen and client of the ruling Flavian dynasty (hence he is often referred to as Flavius Josephus — see below). In addition to Roman citizenship he was granted accommodation in conquered Judaea, and a decent, if not extravagant, pension. While in Rome and under Flavian patronage Josephus wrote all of his known works. Although he only ever calls himself "Josephus", he appears to have taken the Roman praenomen Titus and nomen Flavius from his patrons. This was standard practice for "new" Roman citizens.


In 70 during the Roman Siege of Jerusalem, the first wife of Josephus perished together with his parents. Sometime after, Vespasian arranged for him to marry a captured Jewish woman and ultimately she left him. About 71, Josephus married an Alexandrian Jewish woman as his third wife. By his Alexandrian wife, Josephus had three sons of whom only Flavius Hyrcanus, survived childhood. Josephus had an unhappy marriage with her and later divorced his third wife. At around 75, he married as his fourth wife a Greek Jewish woman from Crete who was a member of a distinguished family. With his Cretan wife he had a happy married life. His last wife bore him two sons Flavius Justus and Flavius Simonides Agrippa.


Josephus's life story remains ambiguous. For his critics, he never satisfactorily explained his actions during the Jewish war — why he failed to commit suicide in Galilee, and why, after his capture, he accepted the patronage of Romans.


Historian E. Mary Smallwood wrote:


(Josephus) was conceited, not only about his own learning but also about the opinions held of him as commander both by the Galileans and by the Romans; he was guilty of shocking duplicity at Jotapata, saving himself by sacrifice of his companions; he was too naive to see how he stood condemned out of his own mouth for his conduct, and yet no words were too harsh when he was blackening his opponents; and after landing, however involuntarily, in the Roman camp, he turned his captivity to his own advantage, and benefitted for the rest of his days from his change of side.

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Matthias came from a wealthy family and through his father he descended from the priestly order of the Jehoiarib, which was the first of the twenty four-orders of Priests in the Temple in Jerusalem.


Matthias’ mother was the daughter of Simon Psellus. Simon belonged to the first of the twenty-four orders of Priests in the Temple in Jerusalem which was the priestly order of the Jehoiarib. Simon was a contemporary to when the Hasmonean rulers, Simon Thassi (reigned 142 BC-135 BC) and his son John Hyrcanus I (reigned 134 BC-104 BC) ruled over Judea.


His paternal grandparents were Matthias Curtus and his unnamed Jewish wife. Through his paternal grandfather, he was the descendant of the High Priest Jonathon. Jonathon may have been Alexander Jannaeus, the High Priest and Hasmonean ruler who governed Judea from 103 BC-76 BC.

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Alexander Jannaeus (also known as Alexander Jannai/Yannai; Hebrew: אלכסנדר ינאי) was king of Judea from 103 BC to 76 BC. The son of John Hyrcanus, he inherited the throne from his brother Aristobulus I. Alexander Jannaeus supported the Saducees.


Alexander Jannaeus had two sons, the eldest, Hyrcanus II became high-priest in 62 BC and Aristobulus II who was high-priest from 66 - 62 BC and started a bloody civil war with his brother, ending in his capture by Pompey the Great.


Hyrcanus II was sympathetic to the Pharisees. He had scarcely reigned three months when his younger brother, Aristobulus, rose in rebellion; whereupon Hyrcanus advanced against him at the head of his mercenaries and his Sadducean followers. Near Jericho the brothers met in battle; many of the soldiers of Hyrcanus went over to Aristobulus, and thereby gave the latter the victory. Hyrcanus took refuge in the citadel of Jerusalem; but the capture of the Temple by Aristobulus compelled Hyrcanus to surrender.


When Pompey arrived in Syria in 63 BCE, both brothers and a third party that desired the removal of the entire dynasty, sent their delegates to Pompey, who however delayed the decision. He favoured Hyrcanus II over Aristobulus II, deeming the elder, weaker brother a more reliable ally of the Roman Empire.


Aristobulus II agreed with his father's Sadducean stance.


Aristobulus and his son were captured in 63 BCE. Marc Antony had been commander of the cavalry under Gabinius, consul of the Roman province of Syria. Marc Antony was the man who scaled Aristobulus' fortification and subdued his forces with several men. This is the point that Aristobulus II and his son were taken prisoner. However, Aristobulus II escaped in 57 BCE [2]


Aristobulos, suspicious of Pompey, entrenched himself in the fortress of Alexandrium, but when the Romans summoned their army, he surrendered and undertook to deliver Jerusalem over to them. However, since many of his followers however were unwilling to open the gates, the Romans besieged and captured the city by force, badly damaging city and temple. Hyrcanus was restored as High Priest, but deprived of political authority.

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Alexander Maccabeus, was the eldest son of Aristobulus II, king of Judaea. He married his cousin Alexandra Maccabeus, daughter of his uncle, Hyrcanus II.


Mariamne, the daughter of Alexander and Alexandra, was Herod the Great's second wife and Hasmonean queen of the Jewish kingdom.


Alexander was taken prisoner, with his father and brother, by the Roman general Pompey, on the capture of Jerusalem in 63 BC, but escaped his captors as they were being conveyed to Rome. In 57 BC, he appeared in Judaea, raised an army of 10,000 infantry and 1500 cavalry, and fortified Alexandrium and other strong posts. Alexander's uncle Hyrcanus (with whom Alexander's father Aristobulus had clashed) applied for aid to Gabinius, who brought a large army against Alexander, and sent Mark Antony with a body of troops in advance.


In a battle fought near Jerusalem, Alexander was soundly defeated, and took refuge in the fortress of Alexandrium. Through the mediation of his mother he was permitted to depart, on condition of surrendering all the fortresses still in his power. In the following year, during the expedition of Gabinius into Egypt, Alexander again incited the Jews to revolt, and collected an army. He massacred all the Romans who fell in his way, and besieged the rest, who had taken refuge on Mount Gerizim. After rejecting the terms of peace which were offered to him by Gabinius, he was defeated near Mount Tabor with the loss of 10,000 men. The spirit of his adherents, however, was not entirely crushed, for in 53 BC, on the death of Marcus Licinius Crassus, he again collected some forces, but was compelled to come to terms by Cassius in 52 BC. In 49 BC, on the breaking out of the civil war, Julius Caesar set Alexander's father Aristobulus II free, and sent him to Judaea to further his interests there. He was poisoned on the journey, and Alexander, who was preparing to support him, was seized at the command of Pompey, and beheaded at Antioch.

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