Arie E. Pelta
Arie E. Pelta

My Chanukah (part 5 of 8)

Day 5

Daily Torah Reading

Day #5 – Shelumiel son of Zurishaddai,Shimon

 Sefirah – גבורה שבהוד

Gevurah is the Sefirah G-d used to contain a world created through Chesed. It’s the limits and boundaries, that we can attain in the physical world.  We get what we work for and deserve, this is natural law.  The consequences of this is Din (judgment).  When things do not go the way we want or expect, it is because G-d is placing boundaries on our lives, for our own good.

 When Do We Insert Al HaNisim in our Prayers?

Why do we not say Al HaNisim in the מעין שלש whereas we do insert in Benching?

The GRA states that this specific prayer is voluntary רשות and  not obligatory .חיוב This then does not explain why this tefilah is included in benching. Maybe it is in Benching because we must have a Purim meal, therefore Al HaNisim got included?

According to the Levush (Rav Mordechai Yoffe), we mention “thanks” נאה להודות  after Modim in the Shmoneh Esrei and we say “thanks” נודה לך in Benching.  These two locations are the logical place to also say “thank you” הודאה for the miracle of Chanukah.  In the Mein Shalosh prayer there is not mention of “thanks” or הודאה in which to attach the Al HaNissim prayer.  However, in the Mein Shalosh we have a hint זכר to נודה לך in the words ” ארץ חמדה…שרציתה והנחלת” and  the words at the end “ונודה לך”. The emphasis of this prayer is on “praise”, not necessarily celebrating an actual Holy day.

The Minchat Ani (Rab Yakov Ettlinger) writes that if we would say Al HaNisim in the Mein Shalosh, then people may error and think that Al HaNisim in Birkas Hamazon needs it own bracha.

The Machtzis HaShekel (Rav Shmuel Loew) emphasizes that only Torah holidays are mentioned in Mein Shalosh; because if these holidays are not mentioned in the Shmonei Esrei or Benching then the prayer must be repeated. We need to distinguish Purim and Chanukah from the Shalosh Regalim (Peasach, Shevuos, Succos) and Shabbos.  For in the later if one forgets to mention them in Benching, then the prayer must be repeated; unlike Purim/Chanukah.

The Many Into The Hands Of The Few, The Impure To The Pure

Lysias heard of the defeat of his three generals. He amassed sixty thousand soldiers and five thousand cavalry and set out to war with Yehuda. He took his army via Lachish to the Hevron Mountains and camped in Beit Tzur, south of Beit Lechem.

Yehuda the Maccabee set off towards Lysias with ten thousan men. Yehuda’s men saw the huge army of Lysias and they got scared. Yeudah davened with them  and reminded them of Dovid’s victory over Goliat and the Plishtim and the victory of King Shaul’s son Yonathan over their enemy in Michmas.  He assured them that with total faith in G-d, He will bring victory over anybody, no matter the odds.   Yehuda then stormed the Greek troops with five thousand men.

Yehuda was surprised to see the entire tremendous Greek camp of legionnaires running towards the sea. This sudden turn of events was because Lysias decided to return with his army to Antioch. He received the news that Antiochus was gravely ill.   This inspired Lysias to quickly achieve his goal, to succeed Antiochus and to rule the entire kingdom. Yehuda and his men were full of joy and offered thanks to G-d.

At this juncture Yehuda decided that it was now the time to return to the Beis Hamikdash, purify it and once again restart the avoda to Hashem.  It was time to rededicate the Beis Hamikdash.

Prior to their arrival, Menelaus and his Cohanim ran away to the Greek fortress near the Har HaBayis.  Yehuda the Cohen and his men, therefore, entered the Beis Hamikdash freely. They were aghast at what they saw – Greek idols and other idols were placed in all the holy locations.  They smashed the Greek idols, destroyed their pagan altars that were used to sacrifice pigs.  They built a new mizbe’ach with new stones which were especially prepared by being uncut by metal tools.

The vessels were looted by Antiochus, thus they had to make new kelim: a new Menorah, Shulchan and Mizbe’ach hazhav for the ketores.  They could not find any pure oil to light The Menorah.  They eventually did find one small flask of oil in the chamber of the Cohen Gadol, with the seal of the Cohen Gadol.

On the 25th day of Kislev, the very same day the Greeks had placed their idols in the Beis Hamikdash three years earlier; they purified, renewed, and rededicated the Beis Hamikdash.  The daily karbonos were reinstituted.  For eight days they celebrated with  song  and praised G-d for His goodness and kindness, just as the Mishkan was dedicated for eight days by Moshe in the midbar.

Their joy was increased with the revelation of the Menorah miracle. Every morning when the Cohanim came to add oil to the still burning  candles of the menorah,  they were astonished to find that not any oil was consumed!  This continued throughout the eight days of the dedication ceremony.  The small flask of oil which contained enough oil for one day was sufficient to illuminate the Beis Hamikdash with great light for eight full days.

Just over two months prior to this event, on Sukkos, many Jews had to hide in caves and secret places. Just in order  to fulfill the Torah commandments of the holiday. Now no such fear or restrictions existed.

After the dedication celebrations, the Rabbis instituted that for all future generations, all Jews were to celebrate a new holiday every 25th day of Kislev.  They were to celebrate eight days of Chanukah with hallel prayer, praise, thanksgiving, lighting of candles and seudas mitzvah.

About the Author
Arie E. Pelta, M.D., a Board Certified General and Colorectal Surgeon from the USA , made aliyah with his wife and 7 children in 2013. Received Rabbinical ordination in 1997. He is also a active Medical Corps Officer holding the rank of Captain in the IDF Reserves. Currently practicing in Laniado Hospital in Netanya; speciaizing in the surgical care of all problems of the colon, rectum and anus.
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