Chanukah Hallel Paragraph Five: Action Prayer
“I love that God hears the voice of my prayers,
that I am listened to when I call!”
Most of us are familiar with the fact that there are numerous forms of prayer just as there are many ways that a child can ask for something from a parent. However, few of us realize that there are ways to pray without words. A sigh is a form of prayer, as is a groan, but both are still verbal. Our actions can also be a form of prayer if they are an expression of striving for relationship. Actions are also a form of communication and relationship.
We sing this paragraph of the Chanukah Hallel to honor the actions of the Chashmonaim that God considered and heard as prayer. Their willingness to fight, their courage and determination to fight for God’s Glory was a powerful expression of the intense relationship they had with God.
They experienced each victory, large and small, guerilla skirmishes and major battles, as God honoring their actions – listening to their prayers.
They were so inspired by their sense of God listening to their “prayers,” that they refused to use impure oil to light the Menorah in the devastated Beit Hamikdash. They experienced those times as a period of extraordinary closeness and they were committed to rededicating the Beit Hamikdash appropriate to their incredibly elevated moment. When they found a single jar of pure oil, they felt that God was responding to their search for that oil as if it was a prayer. When God used the oil to acknowledge how a small group of Jews stretched beyond their limits by having the oil burn for eight days, they appreciated each day as an answer to a prayer. They were inspired and empowered to continue to strive and fight.
Lighting the Menorah is not only a Mitzvah; it is a powerful prayer. We sing this paragraph as a declaration that all our Mitzvot, all our actions to serve God, all our efforts to fight for His values and truths are an expression of a powerful relationship with God, in other words, a prayer.