Tuesday, December 03, 2013

...v'al hamilchamos

“Al ha’nisim v’al hapurkan… v’al hamilchamos.”  It doesn’t say that we give thanks for winning the war – it just says that we give thanks for the milchamos, for the war itself.  Why are we giving thanks for war?

Rashi writes that Moshe Rabeinu’s bracha of “Bareich Hashem cheilo” given to sheivet Levi was a bracha for the small band of Chashmonaim that managed to stand up to the entire Greek army.

I heard b’shem R’ Dovid Kviat that this is what we are giving thanks for in Al haNisim -- the very fact that the Chashmonaim went to war despite the tremendous odds against them is itself a remarkable show of courage and faith.  Whether they won or lost is secondary; that part is b'yad Hashem.  We are celebrating the fact that they stuck their neck out to stand up for what is right.


  1. ...and didn't just huddle in a bais midrash saying tehillim.

    1. I quote this only as an illustration of the lenghts you can go in pilpul to avoid the obvious: I saw in one of the maamarim from the Sanz-Klauenberger that a tzadik has the power to seperate himself from his guf, so that some spiritual aspect of the self can be in one place while the person (i.e. the guf) remains somewhere else. The Yismach Moshe once supposedly walked into a room and found himself already sitting there. Whatever that means, the S-K writes that of course the kohanim were in the beis medrash (actually, in the beis hamikdash) doing avodah and not out there on the battlfield. The war was won "al y'dei kohanecha *hakedoshim*," the holy spirit-force that the tzadkim sent out to fight the greeks while they remained behind.