Chanukah Hallel: Paragraph One Part Two: Becoming A Servant of God
The words of this psalm are to be considered in light of the verse, “I have considered the days of old, the years of ancient times. I call to remembrance neginati in the night; I commune with my own heart.” (Psalm 77:6-7) What is meant by, “I call to remembrance neginati”? Rabbi Aibu and Rabbi Yehudah bar Shimon differed. Rabbi Aibu took it to mean that the congregation of Israel said to the Holy One, Blessed is He, “I call to remembrance the breaking of my enemies’ power,” neginati, meaning, ‘the breaking,’ as indicated in the verse, “God, the Most High has delivered (miggen) your enemies into your hands.” (Genesis 14:20) And so the congregation of Israel says, “Because I call to remembrance the breaking of my enemies’ power in the night, therefore I commune with my own heart.” (Midrash Tehillim 113.1)
II. I suspect that in the case of Chanukah, it is not the Hallel, but the Menorah that is the internal conversation. This paragraph can be read as our declaration that we have begun an internal conversation because we witnessed the breaking of the Syrian-Greek’s power.
We are singing that we have reached a stage in which we look inward after a powerful experience to determine how we can change and grow because of the experience. This is one of the most important ingredients in becoming a Servant of God.