High Priest But Not King

The Talmud in מסכת שבת discusses the laws of חנוכה. It is found among the laws related to which oils are permitted for Shabbat candles.

The authors of the Talmud barely mentioned the incredible war victory of the Chashmonaim over the Greeks. Instead, a great deal of emphasis is placed on the miracle of the cruse of oil and how one fulfills his obligation of lighting the Chanukah candles according to Halacha.

Rav Eliyahu Ki Tov in ספר התודעה, claims that it was intentional that little was said about the war. The Tannaim and Amoraim were upset that the חשמונאי Family overstepped the boundaries of what was permitted to them. They were Kohanim and were able to even assume the role of כהן גדול. They were not allowed to declare themselves as king in addition to High Priest. Because they did this, they were shunned by the Talmud. And even worse, there ceased to be descendants of the חשמונאים. There are no כהנים from this family line.

Nevertheless, the על הניסים prayer that is said in ברכת המזון and שמונה עשרה, does acknowledge in detail the miracle of the war victory.