Halacha for Sunday 24 Kislev 5779 December 2 2018

“Al Ha’Nissim”

Starting from the Arvit prayer on the first night of Chanukah (this year, 5779, starting from tonight, Sunday night) “Al Ha’Nissim” is added in the Amida in the middle of the Blessing of Thanksgiving (“Modim Anachnu Lach etc.) as it is printed in all Siddurim.

Even if most of the congregation has not yet lit Chanukah candles, they still recite Al Ha’Nissim, for Al Ha’Nissim is not contingent upon the Mitzvah of lighting Chanukah candles, especially since in Al Ha’Nissim we praise Hashem for the miraculous victory over the wicked Greeks and not only about the miracle of the Menorah. Therefore, even if Chanukah candles were not lit yet, one would still add Al Ha’Nissim into the prayer. [On a year where Chanukah begins on Shabbat night, Al Ha’Nissim is not recited in the Mincha prayer of Friday afternoon. However, since this year, 5779, this is not the case, we will not discuss this matter at length.]

Similarly, one must add Al Ha’Nissim in all prayers during Chanukah including Shacharit, Mincha, Arvit and Mussaf of Shabbat Chanukah and Rosh Chodesh Tevet.

One Who Forgets to Add “Al Ha’Nissim”
If one forgets to add Al Ha’Nissim the Halacha is as follows: If one remembers that one forgot to include Al Ha’Nissim before one mentions Hashem’s name at the end of the blessing, i.e. “Baruch Ata Hashem Hatov Shimcha Ulcha Na’eh Lehodot”, one may add it in right there by saying “Modim Anachnu Lach Al Ha’Nissim” etc., and continue on as usual with “Ve’al Kulam” until the end of the Amida.

However, if one remembers one’s omission only after one has mentioned Hashem’s name, one has lost his opportunity to recite Al Ha’Nissim and must continue with the usual text of the Amida. (One may not even end the blessing by saying “Lamedeni Chukecha” in order to go back and say Al Ha’Nissim.)

Inserting “Al Ha’Nissim” at the End of the Amida
Some Acharonim, including the Eliya Rabba and the Ma’amar Mordechai, write that it is preferable for one who forgot Al Ha’Nissim to insert it at the end of the Amida at the conclusion of “Elokai Netzor” before the verse of “Yihyu Leratzon.” One should recite, as follows: “Modim Anachnu Lach Al Ha’Nissim etc.” until the end of the paragraph, after which one should conclude the Amida.

“Al Ha’Nissim” in Birkat Hamazon
During Chanukah, Al Ha’Nissim is also added into Birkat Hamazon in the Blessing of Thanksgiving, as is printed in Siddurim, before “Ve’al Hakol Hashem Elokeinu Anuchnu Modim Lach.” If one forgets to add Al Ha’Nissim in the appropriate place, if one has not yet recited Hashem’s name at the end of the blessing (Baruch Ata Hashem Al Ha’aretz Ve’al Hamazon) one may go back and insert it. However, if one has already said Hashem’s name, one loses the chance to insert Al Ha’Nissim there. Even in this situation, though, it is preferable for one to recite Al Ha’Nissim in the section of the “Harachaman” toward the end of Birkat Hamazon. One should recite, as follows: “Harachaman Hu Ya’ase Imanu Nissim Venifla’ot Kemo She’asa La’avotenu Bayamim Hahem Bazeman Hazeh Bimei Matitya Ben Yochanan” etc.

Summary: During the holiday of Chanukah, “Al Ha’Nissim” is added in the Amida of all daily prayers as well as in Birkat Hamazon. If one forgets to add Al Ha’Nissim in the prescribed place, if one has not yet said Hashem’s name at the end of that specific blessing, one may go back and repeat it. However, if one has already mentioned Hashem’s name, one should add Al Ha’Nissim only at the end of the Amida or Birkat Hamazon, as explained above.

Ask the Rabbi

8 Halachot Most Popular

Praying Shacharit Early

By Popular Demand: When is it permissible to begin praying Shacharit? Many individuals must arrive at their places of work at a very early hour in the morning and would like to know when the earliest possible time to pray Shacharit is. Answer: Preferably, the time to pray Shacharit is from sunris......

Read Halacha

Question: Is it obligatory to stand during the Birkot Ha’Shachar (morning blessings) and the Birkot Ha’Torah (blessings of the Torah)?

Answer: There are certain blessings which require one to be standing while reciting them. There is a unique reason for why one must stand while reciting each of these blessings. For instance, regarding the blessing on counting the Omer, the Torah states, “From when the sickle begins [to make c......

Read Halacha

The Proper Order of Prayer for a Workers’ Minyan

In the previous Halacha, we have explained that one should preferably not pray Shacharit before sunrise. Nevertheless, workers who must arrive at their jobs early in the morning and do not have an opportunity to pray after sunrise may act leniently and pray beginning from dawn which is calculated as......

Read Halacha

Praying for Spiritual Matters- Rabbeinu Moshe Alshich zt”l

We have quoted in the past Maran Rabbeinu Ovadia Yosef zt”l’s words regarding one of the “Harachaman” texts customarily recited in Birkat Hamazon, “May the Merciful One sustain us in permissible ways as opposed to forbidden ones,” that although our Sages teach us ......

Read Halacha

The Mitzvah of Counting the Omer

The Torah states (Vayikra 21, 15): “And you shall count for yourselves, from the day following the Shabbat, from the day the waved Omer offering is brought, seven complete weeks shall they be.” Our Sages (Menachot 65b) have a tradition that the “day following the Shabbat” ref......

Read Halacha

Personal Requests During the Amida Prayer- Maran zt”l’s Behavior

Question: May one add one’s own personal requests into the Amida prayer? What is the correct custom regarding this matter? Answer: Our Sages (Berachot 34a) discuss whether or not one may add personal requests into one’s Amida prayer and said, as follows: “One may never ask for o......

Read Halacha

Inserting Personal Requests in the Amida Prayer on a Constant Basis

Question: You have written in the Halacha Yomit that one may insert personal requests into the blessings of the Amida. Is this permitted even on a constant basis, i.e. adding personal requests in one’s Amida prayer every day? Answer: Indeed, it is permissible to add personal requests into t......

Read Halacha

Using Sifrei Kodesh (Holy Books) For an Alternate Purpose

Question: May one place one Sefer on top of or lean it against another Sefer so that it is easier to read from the Sefer? Answer: Some have the custom to take one Sefer, such as a book of Mishnayot, and lean it on an angle against another Sefer, such as a Siddur, so that it easier to read from th......

Read Halacha