Judah Means Strength and Leadership

A story for Chanukah

The Lion of Judah is a Jewish national and cultural symbol, traditionally regarded as the symbol of the Israelite tribe of Judah. According to the Torah, the Judah tribe was made of the descendants of Judah, the Jewish Forefather Jacob and his wife Leah’s fourth son. The association between Judah and the lion can first be found in the blessing given by Jacob to his son Judah in the Book of Genesis.

According the Christian theology, the Lion of Judah is also mentioned in the Book of Revelation, as a term representing Jesus.

The Hebrew name for Judah, Yehudah, literally means “thanking” or “praise.” Judah’s birth is recorded in Genesis 29:35; upon his birth, his mother Leah exclaims, “This time I will praise God, with the Hebrew word odeh, which stands for ‘I will praise,’ sharing the same root as the name Yehudah.”

Judah, who ,according to Book of Genesis, the founder of the Israelite Tribe of Judah, is, by extension, indirectly eponymous of the Kingdom of Judah, the land of Judea and the word “Jew.”

In Jewish history, Judah also relates to Judah the Maccabee Yehudah ha-Makabi who was a Jewish priest (Cohen) and a son of the Jewish priest Mattathias and he led the Maccabean Revolt against the Seleucid Empire, during 167-160 BCE.

Judah Means Strength and Leadership 1
Illustration of Judah Ha’Maccabee

Mattathias ben (the son of) Yochanan (Johanan) was a Cohen, a Jewish priest, whose role in the religion-driven Maccabean Revolt against the Greek Seleucid Empire. According to the Books of the Maccabees, Mattathias played a central role in the story of Chanukah and the result, he is named in the ‘Al Ha’Nissim’ prayer which Jews add to the Birkat Hamazon, (saying grace after a meal), and the Amidah, (praying while standing), during the festival’s eight days.

The Jewish holiday of Hanukah, meaning dedication, commemorates the restoration of Jewish worship at the Second Temple in Jerusalem in 164 BCE, after Judah, the Maccabee, led the removal action of all of the idolatry statues that depicted Greek gods and goddesses and purified the Temple.

Zabdiel Judah is an American professional boxer, a multiple-time former world champion in two weight classes; having held the IBF and WBO junior welterweight titles between 2000 and 2004; the IBF junior welterweight title again in 2011; and the undisputed welterweight title in 2005, which included a reign as the lineal champion from 2005 to 2006.

Judah Means Strength and Leadership 2
Boxer Zabdiel Judah promoter – Photo Nurit Greenger

While walking in a mall I saw this man, his name I simply do not record, wearing this T-shirt and it got my attention and curiosity. I approached the man and asked for the meaning of the writing on his T-shirt. He told me that he is Zabdiel Judah’s promoter. We struck a short conversation in which he brought me up-to-date on American boxing and Zabdiel Judah ,and in return ,I gave him a short lesson in Judaism and the meaning of the name Judah. The man and his lady companion appreciated the Judah name lesson a great deal.

I got his permission to share this little but meaningful story and since Chanukah is upon us, this story is apropos for the festive of light and the celebration of heroism and freedom.

In a today’s world, where people are so divided, we must find our common thread. This is one for the ages.

Nurit Greenger
During the 2006 second Lebanon War, Nurit Greenger, referenced then as the "Accidental Reporter" felt compelled to become an activist. Being an 'out-of-the-box thinker, Nurit is a passionately committed advocate for Jews, Israel, the United States, and the Free World in general. From Southern California, Nurit serves as a "one-woman Hasbarah army" for Israel who believes that if you stand for nothing, you will fall for anything.

Email Notification

Get notification of new stories by Nurit Greenger, in your Email.