Al Hanissim on Chanukah
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- The passage of al hanissim and the addition special for chanuka are added to the Birkat HaMazon in the middle of birkat haaretz (between nodeh licha and vi'al hakol) and during the shemoneh esrei following the passage of modim for all eight days of chanuka.
- Nothing is added into the beracha of meayn shalosh (al hamichya, al hagefen, or all haetz) for chanuka. There are different explanations for this.
- Al hanissim is recited even on the first night of chanuka, even if you haven't lit candles yet, as well as Mussaf of shabbat and Mussaf of rosh chodesh even though there is no Mussaf on chanuka.
- If someone is saying Shemona Esrei and realizes that if he is going to say Al Hanissim he won’t be able to catch Kedusha with the congregation he shouldn’t skip Al Hanissim.
If you Forget
- If one forgot in either Birkat HaMazon or the shemoneh esrei and has reached the name of Hashem in the beracha then he shouldn't go back, but as long as he still has not begun the beracha that follows it, he should still go back.
- If on Shabbat one forgot ritze and is therefore going to repeat birkat hamazon but also forgot al hanissim which normally doesn't require repeating birkat hamazon, some poskim say to now say al hanissim in the repetition  while others say to leave it out.
- If he forgot in Birkat HaMazon then in the section of Harachamans he should add הרחמן יעשה לנו נסים ונפלאות כשם שעשה לאבותינו בימים ההם בזמן הזה and then recite the biymei matityahu particular for Chanuka. and if it is Rosh Chodesh Tevet, then the harachaman for rosh chodesh should be recited first.
- If he forgot in the shemoneh esrei he can still recite it before the second yihyu liratzon at the end of the shemoneh esrei.
- If one began repeating shemoneh esrei thinking that he has to repeat for forgetting al hanissim, and then realized that the halacha says otherwise, he should stop immediately and say "baruch shem kvod malchuto liolam vaed," except for arvit, because for Arvit he can finish and have it in mind to be a nidavah.
- If one mistakenly recited al hanissim in the avoda beracha where Yaaleh VeYavo is usually recited he should recite it again after modim, but if he didn't realize until after that he shouldn't go back.
- If one mistakenly said biymei mordechai viesther (the passage we recite for al hanissim on purim) instead of biymei matityahu he has still fulfilled his obligation.
- Rambam Hilchot Berachot 2:6 and Hilchot Tefilla 2:13, Shulchan Aruch 682:1, Aruch Hashulchan 682:1
The Gemara (Shabbat 24a) raises the question whether one is required to mention Chanuka in Birkat Hamazon: Do we say that because that since it is only Rabbinic, it doesn’t need to be mentioned, or perhaps because it entails Pirsumei Nissa (publicizing the miracle), it should be mentioned? Rava rules that one is not required to mention Chanuka, but, if one wishes to, he should mention it during the blessing of Hodaah, just as in the Shemoneh Esrei. Tosafot (s.v. Mahu Lehazkir) note that the requirement to recite Al Hanisim in tefilla is assumed to be a given, since tefilla is said with a tzibbur, so there is clearly an element of Pirsumei Nissa, as opposed to Birkat Hamazon which is questionable because it is done in private and, therefore, has less Pirsumei Nissa. Rambam Berachot 2:6 and Shulchan Aruch 682:1 write that we add Al Hanisim to Birkat Hamazon and the Shemoneh Esrei. The Bach 682 cites the Raavya, who says that, although the Gemara’s conclusion seems to be that Al Hanissim in Birkat Hamazon is optional, we have accepted upon ourselves to recite it.
- Mishna Brurah 682:2, Yalkut Yosef (Moadim-Chanuka) pg. 602. See Yabia Omer OC 3:36 who discusses many of the reasons why this is the case and if one is permitted to add it in if he so desires. He concludes that ideally one should not add anything, but, if one did say something by mistake, he would not go back, as it is not considered a hefsek. Rivevot Ephraim 8:272:1 and Tzitz Eliezer 14:63 agree.
- The Maharam Rutenberg (Teshuva 70) writes that Al Hanisim is a prayer of thanks and is therefore inserted in the appropriate Berachot in Shemoneh Esrei and Birkat Hamazon. Al Hamichya does not have such a component and thus there is no mention. The Levush OC 208:12 says the same thing without mentioning the Maharam.
- Mishna Berura 208:59 quoting the Gra, writes that unlike Shabbat and Yomtov where one is obligated to mention the day in Birkat Hamazon, mentioning Chanukah and Purim is only a minhag. The minhag was only adopted for Birkat Hamazon and was not adopted for Al Hamichya.
- Rav Yosef Dov Soloveitchik (Igrot Hagrid Berachot 3:13 and Harerei Kedem vol. 1: pg. 302) explains that regarding Shabbat and Rosh Chodesh, the inherent kedusha of the day obligates us to mention them even in Me’ayn Shalosh. On the other hand, for Purim and Chanuka there is no inherent kedusha of the day (all types of melacha are allowed). We mention Al Hanissim simply as an expansion of the Beracha of Hodaa. Once we thank Hashem in Modim, it is fitting to mention the specific miracle of the day. The Beracha of me’ayn shalosh is a condensed version of birkat hamazon. The additions for Shabbat, Yom Tov, and Rosh Chodesh are independent portions of Birkat HaMazon and are therefore abridged and included in Me’ayn Shalosh. However, Al Hanissim is not an independent portion, and it is not the main idea of the Hodaah section.
- Rav Chaim Soloveitchik (cited in Haggadah Shel Pesach MiBeit Levi pg. 233) suggests that the reason why Chanukah and Purim are not mentioned in the Me’ayn Shalosh is based on the concept of the compensatory beracha for Birkat Hamazon. The Gemara Berachot 49a-b, provides a solution for one who omits Retzei or Yaaleh Veyavo from the Birkat HaMazon of Shabbat and Yom Tov. If one realizes the mistake after completing the third beracha of Uvnei Yerushalayim, but prior to reciting Hatov Vihameitiv, one can recite a compensatory beracha at that point, and there is no need to return to the beginning of Birkat HaMazon. This beracha is only available for the additions for Shabbat, Yom Tov and Rosh Chodesh. Me’ayn Shalosh is an abridged form of all of the berachot of Birkat HaMazon. Anything that is not a beracha is not included. Although the additions for Shabbat, Yom Tov and Rosh Chodesh don't normally appear as independent berachot, they have the potential to exist as independent berachot in the form of the compensatory beracha. Therefore, the additions for Shabbat, Yom Tov and Rosh Chodesh are abridged and included in Me’ayn Shalosh. The addition for Chanukah and Purim does not have a compensatory beracha and never exists as independent beracha. Therefore, it is not mentioned in Me’ayn Shalosh. [Based on this logic, Rav Chaim explains why the additions for Shabbat, Yom Tov and Rosh Chodesh in the Me’ayn Shalosh appear after Uvnei Yerushalayim and not before. The compensatory beracha is recited after Uvnei Yerushalayim. Therefore, one should view the me’ayn Shalosh as an abridged form of Birkat HaMazon when the compensatory beracha is recited and the logical placement for these additions is after Uvnei Yerushalayim.]
- See also Tzitz Eliezer 9:33 who cites a beautiful approach of the Minchat Ani. see also Rabbi Eli Mansour
- see article by Rabbi Ari Enkin
- Chazon Ovadia Chanuka p. 194 writes that he shouldn’t skip Al Hanissim in order to reach kedusha with the congregation. Yabia Omer OC 2:34, 9:66, Yalkut Yosef Moadim p. 240, Yechave Daat 1:77, Tzemach Tzedek Miluyim 11, Pri Hasadeh 3:109 agreed with Chazon Ovadia against the Yaskil Avdi 8:10. Here are the reasons of Chazon Ovadia:
- a) One is currently involved in a mitzvah of Shemona Esrei which includes Al Hanissim and so one shouldn’t stop one mitzvah to do another mitzvah based on the principle of Osek Bmitzvah Patur Min Hamitzvah (Ritva Sukkah).
- b) The principle of Osek Bmitzvah Patur Min Hamitzvah can apply even for being involved in a derabbanan mitzvah not to do a deoritta mitzvah. Is osek in a mitzvah derabbanan exempt from a mitzvah deoritta? Pri Megadim and Mishna Brurah 72 assume not. However, Chazon Ovadia (Chanuka p. 194 and Aveilut v. 1 p. 130-2) holds yes. He quotes many who prove this point: Rav Avraham Min Hahar Sukkah 26a, Mispeh Eytan Sukkah 10b, Kerem Shlomo 1:23, Shem Aryeh YD 64, Shem Chadash p. 102d, Imrei Binah 13:3, Kovetz Haarot Yevamot 48:11, Petach Dvir 1:25, Yeshuot Yakov 586:4, Emek Bracha p. 123. See R’ Shlomo Kluger in Kinat Sofrim 29.
- c) Since one can later hear kedusha with Shomea K’onah one isn’t completely missing out on the mitzvah deoritta of kedusha anyway. That is based on the opinion of Rashi Sukkah 38b unlike Tosfot Brachot 21b. Shulchan Aruch 124 follows Rashi.
- Is Al Hanissim part of the mitzvah of davening? The Eretz Tzvi 24 discusses that perhaps it is permitted to skip Al Hanissim since according to some rishonim is a separate mitzvah as compared with Shemona Esrei (and Osek Bmitzvah is inapplicable). His conclusion that one many not skip since it is possible to hear kedusha with Shomea K’onah.
- Malbushei Mordechai 3:59 brings a proof for this from the Ramban (quoted by Ran in Rabbi Eliezer Dmilah) who says that anytime we’re contemplating a mitzvah we only look at the present and not the ramifications afterwards even if they will involve something less than ideal. However, Yabia Omer OC 9:66 writes that this isn’t a great proof since the Baal Hameor disagrees with the Ramban and the Bet Yosef YD 266 argues that the Rambam and Rif agree with the Baal Hameor. Additionally, that Ramban might only be relevant to Brit Milah which is very serious and has karet but not other mitzvot. Lastly, the Baal Hameor might not be relevant since he is only suggesting being passive but not to actively change a situation because of a later mitzvah.
- Tur OC 682:1, Shulchan Aruch 682:1 based on the Tosefta in Berachot 3:12. Yalkut Yosef Moadim 238, Torat Hamoadim 9:12 by Rabbi David Yosef and Yechave Daat 5:49 say that you should not say lamdeini chukecha once you say Hashem's name because that would be considered a hefsek, unlike the Eshel avraham 695 who says that you should say lamdeini chukecha. Aruch Hashulchan 682:3. Mishna Brurah 682:3 adds that this even applies if it is Shabbat and there is an obligation to eat, he should still not go back. The Bach 682:1 based on the Mordechai as well as the Ravya 563 page 284, however, disagree and say in Birkat HaMazon one should go back.
- Magen Avraham 188:13 and Shulchan Aruch HaRav 188:4
- Chayei Adam Klal 154:39 and Sha'ar HaTziyun 188:21
- Rama 187:4 and 682:1 based on Kol Bo 25, Aruch Hashulchan 682:3, Yalkut Yosef Moadim 240. see Rav Hershel Schachter on Praying for a Miracle
- Mishna Brurah 682:5 because whatever is recited more often should be recited first. (tadir vishayno tadir, tadir kodem)
- Mishna Brurah 682:4, Aruch Hashulchan 682:3. Yalkut Yosef Moadim 239 says that you should say there modim ananchnu lach al hanissim ... based on the eliya rabba 682:2 and Maamar Mordechai 682:3.
- Yalkut Yosef Moadim 239, Yabia Omer 1:22:15. The Yalkut Yosef explains that the reason Arvit is different is because in general if you started shemoneh esrei having in mind to fulfill an obligation then you can't continue as a nidava according to Shulchan Aruch 107:1. However Arvit is different because it starts of as a tefilla of reshut so you can finish, and just add something new for that shemoneh esrei in the beracha shomea tfilla(Yalkut Yosef Tfilla 1 page 540).
- Yalkut Yosef Moadim 239. Rav Shlomo Kluger in Chochmat Shlomo 108:12 disagrees however, and says that if he finished the shemoneh esrei, the inappropriate recital of al hanissim during the avoda beracha is considered a hefsek, and he should go back and say it again.
- Yabia Omer 4:51:4
- Mishna Brurah 682:1, Aruch Hashulchan 682:1, Yalkut Yosef on the Moadim page 238 all explain that this is because it is a continuation of the thanks we give G-d in modim.
- Aruch Hashulchan 682:2, Yalkut Yosef Moadim 241.
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