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Countdown to Chanukah 11: Al HaNissim

“And on the wars.” (Al Hanissim) Why do we include the wars we have fought in this expression of gratitude? We mention the victories separately. The Bais Halevi (Beshalach) writes that one who was in trouble and saved by God must thank God in two ways.

The first is to praise God for saving him. This praise is limited to the proportion of the miracle and his earlier suffering. His joy is constrained by the fact that he had to suffer at all.

However, the person should also rejoice without limitation that God chose to manifest His Presence and involvement in the world through him. This praise actually includes his suffering that triggered the miracle, and is much greater than the first.

This is why we mention the wars we fought in Al Hanissim: We thank God for using us as the vessels through which He brought further glory to His Name.

Make a list of miracles you have experienced and practice both forms of praise, especially on Chanukah the time of Hoda’ah.

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