the mitzvah of lighting the menorah is an outward-focused mitzvah – the
menorah is lit in a window or doorway – it is also an opportunity for
personal reflection on the deeper meaning of the holiday. Recognizing
this, a special paragraph was added to the menorah lighting ritual. Ha’nayrot Halalu, as it is called, is recited immediately after the Chanukah blessings:

lights we kindle upon the miracles, the wonders, the salvations and on
the battles which You performed for our ancestors in those days in this
season, through Your holy priests. During all eight days of Chanukah,
these lights are sacred. We are not permitted to make ordinary use of
them, but to look at them, in order, to express thanks and praise to
Your great name for Your miracles, Your wonders and Your salvations.

Ha’nayrot Halalu reminds
us that there are many extraordinary events within the celebration of
Chanukah. There are the miracles, such as the single flask of oil
lasting eight days instead of one. There are wonders, such as the fact
that there remained even one single flask of pure olive oil still sealed
by the High Priest. And there are salvations, such as the incredible
courage of the small Jewish army to go into battle while so severely
out-manned and their ability to overthrow the soldiers of the mighty
Syrian-Greek empire.

Additionally, Ha’nayrot Halalu contains
a reminder that while there are no work restrictions on one’s actions
on Chanukah (as there are on the Biblical festivals of Passover,
Shavuot, Sukkot, Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur), one must not forget that
the days of Chanukah are holy as well. Thus it is that one may not use
the Chanukah candles for any purpose other than as a reminder of the
many ways of God’s salvations.

This Treat is posted each year in honor of Chanukah.

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