Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Nicanor, Master Of Elephants

י' באדר תשס"ז

Usually the fast of Esther is on Adar 13. However, this year Adar 13 falls on shabbat, so the fast day is observed on Thursday, Adar 11 (this year). With the fast of Esther moved to Thursday, Nicanor Day, a feast day, can be observed Adar 13 if one so chooses.

Nicanor Day celebrates the beheading of Nicanor, the master of elephants, who fought against Judah and the Maccabees.

And Judah hung the head of Nicanor from the citadel as clear and evident proof of the help of the Lord. (Second Book of the Maccabees) Think so? Wasn't the Temple destroyed 231 years later? 231 has a digit sum of 6. Six is the value of the truth of the matter.

David Holzel writes:

Nicanor was a Syrian general of the Hellenistic persuasion who battled Judah and the Maccabees at Beit Horon in 161 BCE. That was three years after the Jewish victory over King Antiochus that brought us Chanukah. The battle against Nicanor took place of the 13th day of Adar — the day before Purim.
From wiki:

In 66 CE, the Jewish population rebelled against the Roman Empire. Four years later, in 70 CE, Roman legions under Titus reconquered and subsequently destroyed all of Jerusalem, including the Second Temple.

Nicanor was a master of elephants. Elephants are significant to Purim and symbolize G-d's greatness [1]. Consequently, Judah "beheaded" the one who brought down the greatness of G-d into creation. Not good, Judah. I think the link to the destruction of the Temple is clear evidence that the Lord thought differently about Nicanor and Shimon than did Judah. Nicanor was a rectifying force for Shimon. Nicanor's destruction led to the degeneration of Shimon and to the destruction of the Temple [2]. Consequently - wonder of wonders - I actually agree with the rabbis on this one. While I will note it's passing, Nicanor Day is not one I will "celebrate".


[1] The Hebrew Letters, R' Yitzchak Ginsburgh (pp. 289, 293)

[2] The degeneration of the power of Shimon leads to the destruction of the Temple.

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