By Rabbi Jesse Horn
In order to understand the Al HaNisim of Chanukah better, it pays to contrast it with the Al HaNisim of Purim. Both texts open with a similar phrase, “Bimay . . .” “In the days of” and then lists the central characters in the respective holiday; Mordachi and Ester in the Purim text and Matisyahu Ben Yochanan, the Chashmonayim and his sons in Chanukah’s. Then each Al HaNisim continues with the potential threat, the Chanukah text records the Greek kingdom’s threat, and the Purim one Haman’s. However, the description of the danger Haman imposed is significantly richer with detail than that of the Greek kingdoms. Interestingly, there are more synonyms and descriptions mentioned in the context of Purim. One simple question to ask is, why? Why is the Al HaNisim text of Purim more extensive in detail?
Rabbi Apfel joined the MMY family two years ago. Originally from Teaneck, where he was a practicing pediatric cardiologist, he made aliyah with his wife and 7 children to Ramat Beit Shemesh four years ago.