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Al ha-Nissim: Additional Prayer for Hanukkah

Greco-Roman Period
‘Al ha-Nissim, inserted in the Amidah and the Grace after Meals on all eight days of Hanukkah, is only preserved in medieval texts. Yet its concentration on the military victory—not on the miracle of the burning of the oil for eight days—testifies to its antiquity.

We thank thee for the miracles, for the redemption, for the mighty deeds and triumphs,
and for the battles which thou didst perform for our fathers in those days, at this
season….

In the days of the Hasmonean, Mattathias ben Yohanan, the High Priest, and his sons,
when a wicked Hellenic government rose up against thy people Israel to make them
forget thy Torah and transgress the laws of thy will. Thou in thy great mercy didst stand
by them in the time of their distress. Thou didst champion their cause, defend their rights
and avenge their wrong; thou didst deliver the strong into the hands of the weak, the
many into the hands of the few, the impure into the hands of the pure, the wicked into the
hands of the righteous, and the arrogant into the hands of the students of the Torah. Thou
didst make a great and holy name for thyself in thy world, and for they people Israel thou
didst perform a great deliverance unto this day. Thereupon thy children entered the shrine
of thy house, cleansed thy Temple, purified thy sanctuary, kindled lights in thy holy
courts, and designated these eight days of Hanukkah for giving thanks and praise to thy
great name.

110. Trans. P. Birnbaum, Daily Prayer Book (New York- Hebrew Publishing Co., 1949), pp. 92-3.

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