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Countdown to Chanukah 6

“Restore my House of prayer and there we will bring a thanksgiving offering.” (Maoz Tzur) Why do we refer to the Beit Hamikdash as “my house of prayer,” rather than “Your Beit Hamikdash?”

The Emek Sh’eilah (Zot Haberacha, Sh’eilta #171) is troubled by a verse in Psalms: “To You I will sacrifice thanksgiving offerings, and the Name of God I will invoke. My vows to God I will pay, in the presence, now, of His entire people.” (Psalm 116) Why does King David insist that he will pay his vows in the presence of God’s ‘entire people,’ when we usually consider private expressions to be more appropriate?

The Netziv answers that Hoda’ah has two parts. The first is the actual Korban Todah, and the second part is to publicly call out in God’s Name, to tell the story of the miracle you are celebrating and to recite the Gomel – Thanksgiving Blessing – so that all can hear and join in praising God.

We refer to the Beit Hamikdash as “My House of Prayer” because we intend to fulfill the second pat of the obligation in the most public place, and share our joy, wonder and gratitude.

We should intend the first blessing over the Chanukah Candles as dedicating our candles as an expression of Hoda’ah. The second blessing, “Sh-asa Nissim,” is our public expression of gratitude and praise.

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