From The Rav’s Desk: Source for the story of Yehudis

  1. Question: [Monday, 28th Kisleiv 5781]

I would like to know what the source for the story of Yehudis is and as to why it is not mentioned in Megilas Antiochus.


The story of Yehudis is mentioned in the Rishonim, including Rashi, the Ran, the Kol Bo, and later on in the Achronim, the Rama 670:2, Beis Yosef, Peri Chadash and Taz 670:2; M”A 670:1. It is not clear as to why it is not mentioned in the official documentation of the Hanukkah story in Megillas Antiochus. A lengthy and detailed Midrash of the story is recorded in the Sefer Chemdas Yamim and Otzer Hamidrashim, although these sources are questioned as to their authenticity and reliability. It is also not clear historically as to when the incident with Yehudis took place with some saying that it took place at a different time in history than the Hanukkah story. However, from all the above Rishonim and Achronim it seems evident that it took place during the Hanukkah miracle, and that seemingly Yehudis was the aunt of the five Maccabee brothers.

Sources: Tosafus Megillah 4a; Kol Bo 44; Ran Perek Bameh Madlikin; Beis Yosef 675; Peri Chadash 671; Chemdas Yamim 2 Chanukah 2; Ben Ish Chaiy Vayeishev 24; Kaf Hachaim 671:17; Otzer Hamidrashim Eizinshtein p. 204

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