Vol 15.50 - Chanukah 1                              Spanish French Audio  Video

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V'al Hanissim prayer



(5739) Reason for the difference in the order "for the redemption, the miracles and the wonders" (text of the HaNeirot Hallu prayer) and "the your miracles, your wonders and your salvation"


1. In the beginning text (nusach) of the “Haneirot Halalu” prayer, three expressions are recited:

“We kindle these lights (to commemorate) the saving acts, miracles and wonders”

הַנֵּרוֹת הַלָּלוּ אָֽנוּ מַדְלִיקִין עַל הַתְּשׁוּעוֹת וְעַל הַנִּסִּים וְעַל הַנִּפְלָאוֹת, שֶׁעָשִׂיתָ לַאֲבוֹתֵינוּ בַּיָּמִים הָהֵם בַּזְמַן הַזֶּה

And at the conclusion of the Haneirot Halalu, we say the same three expressions, albeit, in a different order:

“To offer thanks and praise to Your great Name for Your miracles, for Your wonders and for Your salvations.

כְּדֵי לְהוֹדוֹת וּלְהַלֵל לְשִׁמְךָ הַגָּדוֹל, עַל נִסֶּיךָ וְעַל נִפְלְאוֹתֶיךָ וְעַל יְשׁוּעָתֶךָ

One must understand:

What is the reason for the change in the order of the three expressions?

2. Since in the “Haneirot Halalu”, it mentions (not just “Your miracles” but) also “Your wonders” and “Your salvations it is proven that the Mitzvah of lighting the Chanukah candles is a remembrance not just to the miracles of the cruse of oil,

(for the miracles of the cruse of oil is not in the scope of “salvation”)

but also to all the other categories of salvation which G-d displayed in those days in this time. And which, in general, became delineated into these three expressions (as will be explained).

In this itself - it is in the plural:

“saving acts, miracles and wonders “

For these occurrences of the Days of Chanukah include many aspects of salvation of all the categories.

With this, another (strong) question is answered with regard to the remembrance of the miracle of Chanukah:

  • Regarding the miracle of Purim, there is an obligation to remember the deliverance (הצלה) and salvation (וישועה) from the wicked Haman etc., both in the day as well as in the night.
  • Whereas the victory of Chanukah over the Greeks which was also a miracle

(and even more so – an open miracle, as it states: “You delivered the mighty into the hands of the weak, the many into the hands of the few“, at the time where the miracle of Purim was cloaked in the order of nature) –

is mentioned at night only in the “V'al Hanissim” prayer that is said in the Maariv Amidah, and in the Birkat HaMazon (Grace after meals).


  1. The Maariv prayer is optional (רשות), and
  2. There is no obligation to eat bread on (the night of) Chanukah

It comes out that there is no absolute obligation () to mention the miracle of the victory of the war on the night of Chanukah.

According to the aforementioned, this is answered simply:

The lighting of the Chanukah candles is a remembrance (not just on the miracle of the cruse of oil, but also) on all the miracles of the Days of Chanukah:

As we find, that one of the ways to express remembrance and praise to G-d, is through lighting candles.

3. This is also the reason for the change of the order of the three expressions in “Haneirot Halalu”:

  • In the beginning, it speaks of the three categories of saving and salvation etc. “which You have performed for our forefathers, in those days “.

Therefore, it is in this order:   the “saving acts, miracles and wonders”. For this was the order of the occurrences – first “saving acts” and afterward “miracles” and after that “wonders”.

  • Whereas at the conclusion of “Haneirot Halalu”, it speaks of the three categories, in the manner that they evoke within us the feeling of “offering thanks and praise to Your great Name”. In this, the order is different:

The category of “miracles” is the first to evoke in the person the aspect of thanks and praise to G-d. Afterward - the category of “wonders” and only after that, the category of “salvations”.

4. The explanation of this is:

The difference in subject between saving acts, miracles and wonders is:

When someone conducts a war against another whose powers are comparable (according to the combined total of the quantity and quality) to his, one must (also) rely on G-d’s salvation (saving act) to ensure that he is victorious. For according to nature, sometimes one side prevails, and sometimes it is the other side. However, this (type of) victory and salvation is in a manner that looks like a natural occurrence. For according to nature, he could be victorious, just as well as the other side.

A miracle is a salvation and deliverance, which is higher than nature, opposite than the dictates of the world.

For example, a victory of war that is in a manner that the side who is much, or at least incomparably weaker than the other side, so much so that according to the dictates of nature, he cannot win the war – actually wins. A victory such as this is a miracle, above nature.

Wonders (Niflaot) are those aspects which evoke a “wonder” (וואונדער) in those who see it. They are not clear miracles, for one could define them as coincidences (פאסירונגען) according to the ways of nature. However, this is such a occurrence which is “set apart” (אפגעטיילט) and “separate“ (אויסגעטיילט) from the normal conduct. Therefore, this evokes a “wonder” – it is a wondrous thing (ענין נפלא).

(As we find regarding the Geulah of the Alter Rebbe on Yud-Tes Kislev that he wrote about, that “G d performed wonders and manifested His greatness within the earth”. The Geulah of Yud-Tes Kislev came about through he ministers and was connected with much intercession etc. However, together with this, it was entirely (כלל וכלל), not normal occurrences, but a wondrous thing – a wonder (הפליא))

5. These three categories of deliverance, and G-d’s salvation were “in those days”, namely during Chanukah – and according to the order:

  1. Saving acts, afterward
  2. Miracles and afterward
  3. Wonders

The beginning of the victory of the Chashmonayim was immediately first in their town of Modiin (where Matisyahu and his sons, resided). The Greeks ordered Matisyahu to offer a revolting thing (ד״א) (note: a hog) to the Greek deities and the Chashmonayim stood fast against them and vanquished them (באזיגט).

In this, there was a salvation. However, it was not an open miracle, and not an open wonder. For in Modiin, there were not that many Greeks.

Afterward the Yidden waged war against a very great army of Greeks, which Antiochus sent there. This force was much more numerous than the Jewish forces. Yet there occurred an open miracle, which was above nature. As it states “You delivered the mighty into the hands of the weak, the many into the hands of the few”. The Yidden were victorious.

Afterward the victory of the war the Chashmonayim came into the Beit HaMikdash and saw that there was no pure oil for the lighting of the menorah, for the Greeks defiled “all the oil in the Heichal”. Until they found “one cruse of oil that remained with the seal of the Kohen Gadol” and that (namely the finding of the cruse of oil) was indeed not an open miracle.

(If one wants to debate the matter, one could say that this was a natural aspect. For one could say that the Greeks did not see that cruse of oil, in order to defile it. This especially follows the view of Tosafot that one must say the “it was placed with the seal in the ground”, something that is not normal at all. And especially since there was a Chamber of Oil in the Temple where the oil was stored, yet the Greeks did not think to look there. (According to this, the certainty that the oil was pure and that the Greeks did not defile it through slightly moving it (טומאת היסֶט), is fitting)

However, this was indeed a wonderous thing (niflaot). All the oil was defiled by the Greeks, and this sole cruse (hidden in the ground!) remained whole and unbroken, and not touched!

(Afterward there was another miracle, namely that they lit the menorah with this oil for eight days, also like the other salvations and wonders).

6. This order

Saving acts, miracles and wonders – is when one is speaking with regard to the order in time of the occurrence “in those days”.

However, when one speaks of “offering thanks and praise to Your great Name” after this, the order is:

  • First one gives thanks and praise to G-d for the “miracles” that everyone recognizes came from G-d.
  • Afterward one contemplates this until he recognizes the true boundary of many of the occurrences, namely that they are “Your wonders”. Although, one who wishes to err in this matter, will err – claiming that they are natural occurrences. And one thanks and praise G-d for them.
  • Afterward one comes to the recognition that even “Your salvations” - which are not a miracle and even not a wonder, but rather according to the confines of nature – one must also thank and praise G-d. For “To G-d is the salvation“. One recognizes that nature itself is above nature. Therefore, even a salvation must evoke a thanks and praise.

7. A deeper aspect in this is:

For Yidden, the effluence of vitality is, from the very onset, a level of G-dliness which is above nature. It is only that the eff is effected and is enclothed in a garment of nature. In other words, in addition to that which the conduct of nature, in general, is also a G-dly conduct,

and therefore, in truth, above nature (as the world translates “nature”),

 even this (nature) by Yidden is just an outer (חיצוניות׳דיקער) garment for the miraculous conduct, with which G-d conducts Himself with Yidden.

Therefore, one who has “sharp” eyes (ליכטיקע אויגן) sees the truth. Namely that this is, from the very onset, a miraculous aspect. So much so that the “garment” of nature holds no significance for him.

As has been mentioned many times, regarding the explanation of the Sages:

(Note: on the verse: “And the faith of your times etc.” that “faith” refers to the Mishnaic Order of Zera’im (Seeds) and as explained in Talmud Yerushalmi:)

 “He believes in the ‘world’s Life’ (G-d) and sows” (שמאמין בחי העולמים וזורע),

that the dictates of nature

(which G-d implanted, as it states, “seed-time and harvest . . will never be suspended“)

Are, for Yidden, not the true reason for their planting. The true reason of the growth, and therefore why he plants, is because he . For he  believes in G-d (“He believes in the ‘world’s Life’”).

8. It states in Chassidut that specifically in the extreme lower realms, are the most highest levels expressed. So too, is this with regarding to the aspect of miracles. Those miracles which are enclothed in nature have a higher source than the open miracles. Moreover, nature itself has and even higher source.

Open miracles are derived from revelations (גילויים), which are bound in the path (קו) of “revelation” (גילוי). The miracles must be openly seen. However, miracles that are enclothed in nature are derived from a light which is higher than revelation. Therefore, these miracles are enclothed in the garment of nature.

However, nevertheless, since this “garment” is in a manner which evokes a “wonder” (“niflaot”), in those that see it. So much so, that they “tangibly see” (נראה בחוש) that this is “only above nature” – it is understood that this emanates from a light which is, at the least, in the realm of revelation (בגדר גילוי).

Specifically this aspect of “saving acts” (״תשועות״), which are enclothed in nature itself, are derived from G-d’s Essence, which is not in the scope of revelation at all. Therefore, it accomplishes salvation

(Which is above nature, which comes from G-d Himself),

in a manner that it appears to have been manifested in an actual natural manner.

This is also the order of the three aspects “(to offer thanks and praise to Your great Name) for Your miracles, for Your wonders and for Your salvations”:

  • First comes the thanks and praise with regard to revelations – from which are drawn down “Your miracles”.
  • Afterward with regard to light that is above revelation – comes “for Your wonders“.
  • And afterward one comes to thanks and praise “to Your great Name“, mainly through “Your salvations”.

MSichas Shabbat Parshat Miketz, Shabbat Chanukah 5724

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