The long midrashim in English are my slightly free translation of the version in Otzar Hamidrashim. Note the parallels to Esther and to Yosef.
1. Shabbat 23aR’ Yehoshua ben Levi said, ‘women are obligated to light Chanukah candles, since they too were involved in that miracle’.
דא"ר יהושע בן לוי נשים חייבות בנר חנוכה שאף הן היו באותו הנס:
2. Rashi, Shabbat 23aSince the Greeks decreed that all virgins who marry must lie first with the local governor, and a miracle was made through the hands of a woman.
היו באותו הנס. שגזרו יוונים על כל בתולות הנשואות להיבעל לטפסר תחלה ועל יד אשה נעשה הנס:
3. Rashi, Megilla 4aSince Haman also decreed to kill the women; ‘to destroy and to kill and to wipe out, from young to old, infants and women, etc’.
שאף הן היו באותו הנס. שאף על הנשים גזר המן להשמיד להרוג ולאבד מנער ועד זקן טף ונשים וגו':
4. Tosfos, Megilla 4aThey too were involved in that miracle: The Rashbam explains that the real miracle occurred through women’s hands; at Purim through Esther, and at Chanukah through Judith, & at Pesach they were redeemed through the merit of the righteous women of that generation. But the language is difficult here, because the words ‘they too’ imply that their role was secondary, ... therefore it seems to me that ‘they too’ were subject to the uncertainty of being destroyed and killed, and similarly on Pesach, they were also enslaved to Pharaoh in Egypt, and on Chanukah the decree affected them greatly.
שאף הן היו באותו הנס - פירש רשב"ם שעיקר הנס היה על ידן בפורים על ידי אסתר בחנוכה על ידי יהודית בפסח שבזכות צדקניות שבאותו הדור נגאלו. וקשה דלשון שאף הן משמע שהן טפלות ולפירושו היה לו לומר שהן לכך נראה לי שאף הן היו בספק דלהשמיד ולהרוג וכן בפסח שהיו משועבדות לפרעה במצרים וכן בחנוכה הגזירה היתה מאד עליהן
5. Mordechai, Pesachim ch10Since they too were involved in that miracle; ... They are obligated to hear the megilla because the miracle came about through Esther, and similarly in the chanukah lights because the miracle came about through Judith ... In the Yerushalmi it says that ‘also they were involved in that danger’, therefore it seems that ‘they too were involved etc’ is to say that the miracle was also done for them, just as as for the men.
שם ע"ב שאף הן היו באותו הנס פ"ה ע"י הנשים בא הנס ... וכן חייבות במקרא מגלה לפי שבא הנס ע"י אסתר וכן בנר חנוכה שבא הנס ע"י יהודית כדאיתא בשבת [דף כג א] ... מדקאמר אף ועוד דבירושלמי קאמר שאף הן היו באותו ספק לכך נראה דהכי פירושו שאף הן היו כו' כלומר שאף להן נעשה נס כמו לאנשים:
6. Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chaim 670:1-21. The eight days of Chanukah begin on the 25th of Kislev ... we are permitted to do work. Women have the custom not to work while the candles are burning, and there are those that say that one should not take this lightly.
2. Rema: Some say that we eat cheese on Chanukah because the miracle was made with the cheese which Judith fed to the enemy.
א) בכ"ה בכסליו (מתחילין) שמונת ימי חנוכה ... אבל מותרין בעשיית מלאכה: ונוהגות הנשים שלא לעשות מלאכה בעוד שהנרות דולקות, ויש מי שאומר שאין להקל להם. ב) הגה: ... יש אומרים שיש לאכול גבינה בחנוכה לפי שהנס נעשה בחלב (י) שהאכילה יהודית את האויב
7. Mishnah Brurah, 670:10Which Judith fed: She was the daughter of Yochanan Kohen Gadol, and there was a decree that every bride lie with the governor first. She fed the leader of the enemies cheese to intoxicate him, and cut off his head.
י: שהאכילה יהודית: היא היתה בתו של יוחנן כ"ג והיתה גזירה שכל ארוסה תבעל לטפסר תחלה והאכילה לראש הצוררים גבינה לשכרותו וחתכה את ראשו וברחו כולם:
8. Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chaim 675:3Women light the Chanukah lights, since they too are obligated in it.
אשה מדלקת נר חנוכה, שאף היא חייבת בה
9. Mishnah Brurah, 675:10Since they too are obligated in it: Since the miracle was also for their sakes, since the decree was that every virgin who marries must sleep first with the governor. And also, the salvation occurred through the hands of a woman, since the daughter of Yochanan Kohen Gadol cut off the head of the leader of the enemy.
ס"ק י שאף היא חייבת בה-שהנס היה גם להן שהגזירה היתה על כל בתולה הנישאת שתבעל להגמון תחלה וגם התשועה נעשה ע"י אשה שבת יוחנן כ"ג חתכה ראשו של ראש הצוררים:
10. Bnei Yisaschar, Kislev-Teves 3The Ari z”l writes, all redemption that have ever been have all come about through the illumination of the attribute of hod, therefore all redemptions have occurred in conjunction with a woman, through whose hands the miracle has occurred. (Hod is a feminine attribute, in opposition to netzach, which is masculine.) Thus, redemption from Egypt began to shine through the hands of Batya the daughter of Pharaoh; against Sisera, it was Devorah; ... from the Persian & Medean exile, through Esther; and from the Greeks through the hands of Judith, as we know. But the future redemption bimheirah b’yameinu, when we will leave the Edomite exile, will be through an illumination of netzach ... & this seems to me to be similar to all song being written in the feminine, but future song bimheirah biyameinu will be in the masculine. (& realise that after the Greek exile there is only this long exile over us, from which we will be redeemed through netzach...)
יח) והנראה דהנה כתב האריז"ל כל הגאולות שהיו מימות עולם הכל היה על ידי הארת מדת הוד, על כן כל הגאולות היו בצירוף אשה אשר נעשה הנס על ידה (כי הוד הוא בבחינת נוקבא איהו בנצח ואיהי בהוד) על כן גאולת מצרים התחילה להתנוצץ על ידי בתיה בת פרעה, ובסיסרא היתה דבורה ... פרס ומדי על ידי אסתר, יון על ידי יהודית כנודע, אבל הגאולה העתידה ב"ב בצאתנו מגלות אדום תהיה על ידי הארת נצח ... וזה מה שנ"ל שעל כן כל השירות היה לשון נקבה [ע"ח שער ל"ה פ"ה] שירה ולעתיד ב"ב אז יושר השיר הזה [ישעיה כו א] לשון זכר, הבן הדברים, (והנה אחר גלות יון שוב לא נשאר בחוב עלינו רק הגלות הארוך הזה שתהיה הגאולה ב"ב על ידי הנצח...
Midrash Chemdas Yomim: The story of Judith (abridged)In the 12th year of the reign of Holofernes, the king of greece, he went up to conquer Jerusalem, and gathered 120,000 soldiers and 92,000 archers. All the people went out in to the streets and prayed all night.
The next day, Holofernes gave the order to go out to battle with the Jews. Holofernes ordered his soldiers to guard all the water sources around the city, so that no one would have any water and they would be conquered without a pitched battle. 20 days later, Jerusalem had barely any water & the people were very thirsty. The people gathered against Uzziah, men, women and children together with one voice, saying ‘Hashem has judged us & will give us over to the king. Let us give ourselves up to him. Isn’t it better for us to serve G-d as slaves to Holofernes than to die of thirst and be killed? When they had finished crying, Uzziah got up with his eyes swollen with tears, & said ‘Be strong and have courage! We may find chessed from Hashem. Allow another 5 days, and then if there is no salvation we shall do as you said’.
Judith the widow, daughter of Be’eri, was very beautiful & found favour in the eyes of all who saw her. She was G-d-fearing, & when she heard Uzziah’s words she sent to call the him and the chachamim to her. She said to them, ‘What is this that you have planned, Uzziah! To give this city into the hand of the enemy if there is no salvation after 5 days! Who are you to test Hashem!’ Uzziah and the kohanim said to her: ‘You are right in all that you say.’ Judith said, ‘I have a plan. At nighttime I will go out with my maidservant at night, and you will not ask me where I am going’. Uzziah said to her, ‘Go in peace, and may Hashem help you’.
Judith took off her widow’s weeds and sackcloth, washed and anointed herself, curled her hair and placed a tiara on her head, dressed in expensive clothes with gold and jewels, & scented herself so that any man would be charmed by her. She gave her maidservant a container of milk and a bottle of wine, little cakes of oil and honey, and bread and cheese, and she went.
Judith went out of the city with her handmaiden, until she encountered Holofernes’ guards. She said to them, ‘I am Judith, daughter of the Jews. I am fleeing to you because I know that the city will be given into your hands. Please take me to Holofernes, so that I can tell him the secrets of the Jews and to show him the way to go to take the city’. When they heard this and saw her beauty they were befuddled, so they brought her to the king. As soon as the king saw her, he strongly desired her. Judith bowed down, and the king said ‘Do not be afraid, for I will not harm you, but tell me why you have come’. She said, ‘oh my king, we have sinned before our G-d, and our prophets have told us that we will be given into your hands. We are all so scared because we are dying of hunger and thirst. Soon we will be forced to ransack the holy Temple to eat the sacred wheat, wine and oil, for we will have no other food left. When that happened, G-d will surely abandon us for that sin, and we shall be given into your hands’. This was good in the eyes of the King and his servants. The king ordered her to be brought to his house and to eat at his table. Judith asked permission to go out at night and at dawn to pray before G-d. She went outside the camp and immersed in the mikvah. On the 3rd day the king made a great feast for all his princes, and told his harem-keeper to bring Judith. She said, ‘All the king says I shall do’. So she got dressed in her beauty, and came to stand before him. When the king saw her beauty immediately he was lovesick for her, and he said ‘Eat my bread with joy, and drink my wine, because you have found favour in my eyes’. And she sat and ate, and opened the container of milk and drank, and also the king drank. He drank more wine than he had ever drunk before. Then all his servants when to their own places and only Judith remained with Holofernes in his bed, and he slept as though he was dead. Judith told her handmaiden to stand outside and keep guard before the tent. Judith got up form the bed and took Holofernes’ sword which was hanging there, and she seized the hair on his head and cut at his neck until she had cut off his head. She called her handmaiden, and together they cut up the rest of his body into pieces, and then she put his head into her handmaiden’s basket, and they went out together to pray as was their way. They crossed the camp safely and came to the gates of the city.
Otzar Hamidrashim pp.189-90: The daughter of the Kohen GadolWhen the Greeks saw that Israel was not affected by their decrees, they arose and decreed a bitter and foul decree, that every bride must go from her wedding canopy to spend the first night with the Hegemon of that place. When Israel heard this their hands were tied and their strength diminished; they stopped getting married, and the daughters of Israel grew old as virgins. The Greeks raped the virgins of Israel, and this continued for 3 years and 8 months.
Until the case of the daughter of Matisyahu Kohen Gadol, who married the son of one of the Chashmonaim whose name was Eliezer. At her wedding she was sitting in a throne, and all the great men of Israel came to her wedding-feast to give honour to Matisyahu and the son of the Chashmonai, because there were none greater than them in that time. And when they came to eat, Chana bas Matisyahu arose from her throne, and she took hold of her gown in her two hands and tore it open, so that she stood revealed before all of Israel, her father and mother, and her bridegroom.
When her brothers saw, they were embarrassed and they bowed their faces to the ground and tore their clothing, and then arose to kill her. She said to them, ‘Listen to me, my brothers and loved ones! Why, when I stand before tzaddikim naked and free of any sin, are you jealous (to avenge) me, but you are not jealous for me when you give me into the hands of an uncircumcised one who will defile me?! Why do you not learn from the example of Shimon and Levi, the brothers of Dina, who were jealous for their sister and killed the town of Shechem even though there were only two of them. They gave their souls over to the unity of G-d, and He saved them and they were not destroyed. You are five brothers, and there are more than two hundred more of the finest youths of the priesthood. Place your trust in Hashem, and He will help you’. And she opened her mouth and wept. She said ‘Master of the Universe! If you do not have pity upon us, have pity for Your holy great Name, with which we are called, and avenge our vengeance today’.
At that moment, her brothers were filled with jealous zeal and they said ‘Come, let us consult about what to do’. They discussed it with each other and decided: ‘Come, let us bring our sister to the great king, and we will say to him ‘Our sister is the daughter of the Kohen Gadol, and there is no one in the whole of Israel who is greater than our father. It is not fitting for our sister to lie with the local hegemon, but only with the king who is as great as we are.’ Then we will go in to him and kill him, and go out, and then we will begin on his servants and princes, and Hashem will help us.’
This is what they did. Hashem made a great salvation for them, and they heard a heavenly voice coming out of the kodesh kedoshim saying: ‘All Israel has won over Antiochia; thus G-d has made a salvation for them in these our days’.