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Chanukah- Why Do We Not Insert A Prayer Of Chanukah In Me’en Shalosh

Just one question that was asked in the subject of Chanukah. We know that in Birkat Hamazon we mention Al Hanisim and Bime Matitya. So the question was, how come there is no insert for Chanukah in the Berachot of Me’en Shalosh (which is the Al Hamichya, and Al Hagefen etc.)? We do make an insertion for Pesach, for Succot, for Rosh Chodesh, and for Shabbat. So how come there is no insertion there for the holiday of Chanukah?

So in the Shut Minchat Ani (written by Rabbi Yaakov Ettlinger 1798-1871) a very beautiful explanation is given why we don’t insert in Me’en Shalosh. There is a Gemara in Berachot that talks about an abridged version of the Amidah. That version is called ‘Havinenu’. In that prayer it has the first three Berachot, the last three Berachot, and all the middle Berachot just have a one line mention. We don’t say Havinenu today, yet it was mentioned in the Gemara. That Gemara concludes that we don’t say Havinenu on Motzae Shabbat (Saturday nights), because we would have to insert ‘Ata Chonantanu’. Rabeinu Yona explains that we don’t want to insert Ata Chonantanu because people might then think that Ata Chonantanu deserves its own Beracha in the Amidah, and Ata Chonantanu is not its own Beracha. It’s part of ‘Ata Chonen La’adam Daat’, and as such, we should not confuse people into thinking that it deserves its own Beracha. Each line in Havinenu is representing another Beracha of the Amidah, so therefore you would have to skip Ata Chonantanu. Rabenu Yona is very clear about why we don’t say Havinenu on Motzae Shabbat.

The Minchat Ani says that Al Hanisim and Bime Matitya, when said in the Birkat Hamazon, is considered an insert. It is not a special Beracha in the Birkat Hamazon. But, if we would add an insert in the Beracha Me’en Shalosh, people might come to think that Al Hanisim and Bime Matitya deserve their own Beracha.

This forces us to question our prayers during Pesach, Shavuot and Succot. The Ya’ale Veyavo is said then and it is not considered a special blessing. Yet, we do insert for these holidays in the Me’en Shalosh. Why then is there no insert in Me’en Shalosh during Chanukah? The answer is that if you forget the Ya’ale Veyavo in the Birkat Hamazon, then there is a Beracha that you make after the Beracha of Bone Yerushalayim, which would be ‘Baruch Ata Hashem…. Shenatan Shabbatot Veyamim Tovim etc’. So since Pesach, Succot, and Shabbat do have a Beracha in the event that you missed it, it follows then that there is an insertion during these holidays. But, on Chanukah we read Al Hanisim which if forgotten has no Beracha in Birkat HaMazon at all, so we leave it out in the Me’en Shalosh.

This leads us to another question. The insert for Shabbat, and the insert for Yamim Tovim in Me’en Shalosh is said after ‘Ubnei Yerushalyim Ir Hakodesh’. However, if you look in Birkat HaMazon, the Ya’ale Veyavo and Ritze V’Chaliztenu are mentioned before Bone Yerushalayim. So the question is asked why do we insert after the Bone Yersuhalayim in Me’en Shalosh, if we insert before in the Birkat Hamazon? The answer is because each insertion is corresponding to a Beracha. If you miss Ya’ale VeYavo or Ritze V’Chaliztenu, you insert the Beracha only after Bone Yerushalayim. Therefore in Me’en Shalosh the insertion also comes after Bone Yerushalyim corresponding to where the Beracha would be in Birkat HaMazon.

 


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