Chanukah (Day 4)

Chanukah in the Mishna, Tosefta and Tannaitic Literature

Source Sheet by yaakov Saavedra
More info 

This source sheet is a work in progress. Comments, questions, and criticisms can be sent to zemannakat@gmail.com

In the future, I plan to provide a running commentary to the Mishnayos and Toseftas copied below. For now, the translations come from Sefaria

One of the most elusive questions about Chanukkah (other than why the holiday lasts eight nights) is the almost complete absence of discussion about Chanukkah in the Tannaitic literature.  While it is a significant festival in the Jewish calendar, it is mostly neglected in the Mishna and Tosefta.  It is not until the Talmud asks “מאי חנוכּה” that the traditional Rabbinic texts grapple with the holiday and its laws.  In comparison, Purim and communal fast days (each being post-Biblical additions as well) get their own Tractates in which their respective laws are discussed and explicated.

A variety of reasons are given for this “oversight” in both the “Traditionalist” and the “Academic” camps.   The Traditionalists answers include:

  • The most famous Traditionalist reason, quoted in the name of the Chassam Sofer, is that R’ Yehudah Hanasi, the compiler/editor of the Mishna, deliberately excluded the miracle of Channukah from the Mishna because he was a descendant of Dovid HaMelech and he felt that the Chashmonaim, who were Kohanim, unfairly and unjustly usurped the kingship after their victory. See חוט המשולש (by his grandson, R’ Shlomo Sofer) page 36a (Munkatch 1894, available http://beta.hebrewbooks.org/29069).  See also,  טעמי המנהגים note 847.  But see, the Chassam Sofer’s talmid, R’ Herschel Shoberg, interpreting his Rebbe’s statement as R’ Yehuda HaNasi trying to protect the honor of the Chashmonaim by not highlighting the fact that they took over the kingship.    שו”ת מהריא”ץ חלק או”ח ס’ עח  (R’ Yehoshua Aron Tzvi, Margareten, 1913, available at http://beta.hebrewbooks.org/1217); See notes in the back of the volume, בנין יהושע who notes that the Mishna in Bava Kama is the only reference to the flame of Chanukkah.  See also,   ש”ות ציץ אליעזר, ח’ י”ט, ס’ כו, collecting some sources, available at http://beta.hebrewbooks.org/14518.
  • A second reason given is that, similar to the Rambam’s reasoning in his introduction to Mesechtas Menochos as to why we don’t have explicit Mishnayos laying out the mitzvos of Teffilin and Mezuza, something that was well known to the masses did not warrant inclusion/elucidation in the Mishna.  See יד נאמן (R’ Chaim Avrohom Miranda, Soloniki 1804, pp 1a-2a, available at http://beta.hebrewbooks.org/6849).  Of course, this reason works well for daily Mitzvos, however, for yearly Mitzvos, such as Chanukkah, why would Channuka be more well known than other mitzvos?*  See תולדות המשנה (Chaim (Joachim Heinreich) Oppenheim, Pressburg, 1882 available at http://beta.hebrewbooks.org/39583) where he expounds on this idea of “known Halachos” and says that the Mitzvos of Chanukkah were well known via their publication in Megillas Ta’anis–see fifth answer below–and therefore there was no need to include it directly in the Mishna.  Interestingly, he suggests that the phrases found throughout Mishnayos, such as   מפני שאמרו or באמת אמרו indicate old and presumably well known Halaochos.
  • A third, but perhaps related concept, is that oftentimes we find that the Mishna does not address a topic directly.  Rather, it describes exceptions and/or ancillary rules to the main topic.  From them, emerges a picture of the affirmative mitzvah itself.  For instance, the opening Mishna in Mesechtas Berochos begins by describing the appropriate time to recite the Kriyas Shema but it never explicitly says there is a mitzvah to say, Shema.   Similarly, we do find a number of Mishnayos in which Chanukkah is mentioned and perhaps R’ Yehuda HaNasi assumes the affirmative mitzvah would emerge clearly from them.  See חידושי חתם סופר   (Gittin, Daf 78a, available at http://beta.hebrewbooks.org/22732).
  • A fourth reason is quoted in the name of the Vilna Gaon by his son, R’ Avrohom, that Mesechtas Chanukkah should indeed be part of the collection of “minor” tractates, which include Teffilin, Mezuza, Sofrim etc…  See רב פעלים introduction (available at http://beta.hebrewbooks.org/14013).  It is unclear if he means it was originally included but was lost or whether there was supposed to be such a Mesechta.  I do note that Mesechtas Sofrim contains material related to Chanukkah in Chapter 20.
  • A fifth reason is that the laws of Chanukkah were, in fact, written down even prior to redaction of the Mishna in Megillas Taanis.**  The laws were known from this book and therefore did not need to be repeated in the Mishna itself.  The Braisos quoted and discussed in the Talmud are from Megillas Taanis implying that these were well-known laws.  See, the חיד”א in  דברים אחדים דרוש ל”ב (Livorno 1788, available at http://beta.hebrewbooks.org/24587); introduction to the אשל אברהם commentary to Megillas Taanis (R’ Avrohom Eliyahu Borenstein, Jerusalem, 1908, available at http://beta.hebrewbooks.org/6278); Yisroel v’Hazmanim, on Chanukkah and T”u B’shevat (R’ Shlomo Aviner, 2011).
  • Some Traditionalists give a “political” answer that R’ Yehudah HaNasi was concerned with outwardly discussing Chanukkah because the Roman’s would have taken strong exception to references to a holiday grounded in strong nationalism and fight for freedom.  See, Reuven Margolis,  יסוד המשנה ועריכתה [available at http://beta.hebrewbooks.org/32665 (page 20 of the pdf)].  R’ Margolis disagrees with the Rambam’s premise that certain laws were so well known (like Tefillin) that R’ Yehuda HaNasi could easily exclude these laws from the Mishna.  He posits that, in fact, these laws were not well known at all, yet they were excluded not so much because of their religious character, but rather, because they interfered with the Roman goal of building a unified citizenry.  To do this, the Roman’s were set on eradicating particular nationalistic tendencies and expressions of individuality.   See, Reuven Margolis,  נפש חיה, ס’ כ”ה, סע’ ב  [available at   http://beta.hebrewbooks.org/7953%5D.
  • A “Kabbalistic” answer is provided by the Kozhnitzer Maggid (in his Avodas Yisroel).  He suggests that the holiday of Chanukkah represents the spreading of the Torah’s light to the outside, beyond its normal confines.  Whereas the Mishna, the core text of Torah Shel Ba’al Peh (the oral law) is the inner, private text of the Jewish people–encapsulating the secrets that are our connection to G-d.  Thus, the Mitzvah of Channukah could not be mentioned in the Mishna as it would contradict the essential nature of the Mishna.  Further, he suggests, that that is also the reason why the laws of Chanukkah are found in the Braisos (and not the Mishna) since the word “braiso” means it was learned “outside” making it the appropriate forum for these laws.

On the “Academic” side, I have found two potential theories.

  • Professor Levy (Louis) Ginsburg posits that much of the “Tannaitic”braisos regarding Channukah are actually of Babylonian origin and only makes there way into the Eretz Yisroel corpus via R’ Yochanan at a much later stage.  Based on this observation, he suggests that the lack of “primary” references in Toras Eretz Yisroel could mean that Chanukkah was less observed in Eretz Yisroel.  See לוי גינצבורג, פירושים וחדושים בירושלמי, Vol. 1, JTS, New York 1941, available at http://www.massorti.com/IMG/pdf/ginsburg_yerushalmi_1.pdf). Some associate Ginzburg’s theory with the common notion that the Chachomim generally downplayed the accomplishments of the Chashmonaim given their later corruption.  However, Gedaliah Alon rejects both the theory that Chanukkah was less observed in Eretz Yisroel and the theoretical underpinnings of the alleged lethargy.  See G. Alon, Jews, Judaism and the Classical World, Jerusalem 1977 and his ההשכיחה האומה וחכמיה את החשמונאים found in his מחקרים בתולדות ישראל  (available at http://www.daat.ac.il/daat/vl/mehkarim/mehkarim01.pdf).  [For our purposes it’s enough to note the lack of primary Toras Eretz Ysroel material as a basis for why R’ Yehudah HaNasi did not include any such material  As a compiler of older traditions, he would only include known and vetted material in the Mishna].
  • Professor Moshe Benovitz agrees with Ginsburg’s conclusion, that Chanukkah was not widely observed in post-destruction Eretz Yisroel.  However, he posits that the reason for this had little to do with the Chachomim’s alleged antipathy towards the Chashmonaim.  Rather, he suggests, given the nature of the holiday, celebrating the re-dedication of the Temple, once it was destroyed it may have been too difficult for the local population to celebrate.  This would place Chanukkah in line with the other “holidays” listed in Megillas Taanis which fell by the wayside post-Temple.  However, for the Babylonian Jews, it mattered less that the Temple was destroyed inasmuch as their lives did not necessarily revolve around its day to day rituals.  Similar to Purim, Chanukkah celebrated a historic victory.  Prof. Benovitz then ties the “rekindling” of the holiday by R’ Yochanan in Eretz Yisroel to the then current victory over the Palmyrenes, another Syrian people who tried to overrun Israel.  See, Benovitz, Moshe, http://www.schechter.edu/ascribing-new-meaning-to-hanukkah-after-the-destruction-of-the-temple/.

Whatever the case may be, I note seven instances where the Mishna mentions Channukah (I have located three additional references in the Tosefta as well).  As noted, none of the references speak directly to Halachos of Chanukkah per se.  Rather, Chanukkah is a counterpoint to the Halacha under discussion.  At times it’s used as a time reference, i.e., you can only do such and such up until Chanukkah, for others, Chanukkah may alter the practice of a different law (determining the particular Torah portion to be read), while for others, it may be included within a broader law (e.g., Hallel).

Through studying the below Mishnayos perhaps you will be able to discern a pattern that can answer the question that bothered many for so long.

*   רמבם על משנה מנחות פרק ד’ משנה אודיני הציצית והתפילין והמזוזה וענין מלאכתן והברכות שחייבין לברך עליהן וכל העניינים התלויין בכל זה מן הדינין ומה שנאמר עליהן בשאלות ותשובות אין ראוי כפי קבלת חבורינו לדבר בהן לפי שאינו אלא מפרש והמשנה לא דברה על אלה המצות דבר מיוחד לכלול דיניהן עד שיהא חייב לפרש אותו וסבת זה בעיני לפי שהיו הדברים האלו מפורסמים בזמן חבור המשנה והיו ענינים ידועים ונהוגים ביד כל העם פרט וכלל ואין ענין מהן נפלא משום אדם וע”כ לא ראה לדבר בהן כמו שלא הסדיר התפלה ר”ל נוסחה ואיך יתנהג שליח ציבור לפי שהיה מפורסם ולא חברו בזה סדור אבל חברו ספר גמ’ וביאורו …

** Megillas Taanis was a late Second Temple compilation of important dates, both holidays and fast days, observed by Jews during this period of time.  Both Purim and Chanukkah are mentioned as well as many other minor days.  The import of being included was to prohibit fasting and eulogies prior to or after these days.  Eventually, most likely post-destruction, these days fell by the wayside with only Purim and Chanukkah standing the test of time.  (text of Megillas Taanis can be found at the end of this source sheet)

 

Mishna 1

This Mishna describes the two components of the Mitzvah of Bikkurim (bringing the first-fruits to the Temple). The two components are “bringing” the fruit to the Temple, the second was the obligation to make a declaration by reading a prescribed portion of the Torah. The Mishna notes that one may bring Bikkurim after Sukkos but that one should not read the declaration

    1. א.
      1.
      משנה ביכורים א׳:ו׳

      (ו) הקונה שני אילנות בתוך של חברו, מביא ואינו קורא. רבי מאיר אומר, מביא וקורא. יבש המעין, נקצץ האילן, מביא ואינו קורא. רבי יהודה אומר, מביא וקורא. מעצרת ועד החג, מביא וקורא. מן החג ועד חנכה, מביא ואינו קורא. רבי יהודה בן בתרא אומר, מביא וקורא.

      Mishnah Bikkurim 1:6

      (6) One who buys two trees in [the field] of a fellow, brings but does not recite. Rabbi Meir says one brings and recites. If the spring dried or the tree was chopped, one brings but does not recite. Rabbi Judah says one brings and recites. From Atseret until Sukkot [the third pilgrimage festival in the fall], one brings and recites. From Sukkot until Hanukkah, one brings but does not recite. Rabbi Judah ben Beteira says one brings and recites.

Mishna 2

The Jewish calendar is a lunar calendar, meaning it follows the phases of the moon as it orbits the earth. This orbit takes approximately 29.5 days. When the first tiny sliver of the moon reappears, it is called the “Molad,” the birth of the new moon. If witnesses testify to having seen the Molad, the Beis Din will declare the day to be Rosh Chodesh. As a result, a Jewish month lasts either 29 or 30 days–so that Rosh Chodesh is either on the 30th or 31st day of the preceding month. Knowing on which day Rosh Chodesh falls is important for many reasons–most importantly, to set the calendar

While today it is easy to instantaneously disseminate information over the phone, internet, and social media, back in the times of the Mishna, communication was much, much slower. The main way of sending information was by messenger–which could take weeks to reach its destination.

And because the Jewish People lived not only in Eretz Yisroel but in many far-away lands, the Beis Din had to make sure the information reached these communities. Our Mishna details how for many of the months of the year the Beis Din would send messengers. For our purposes, note that Kisleiv was one of the months messengers were sent out, so that the people would know when to celebrate Chanukkah

    1. ב.
      2.
      משנה ראש השנה א׳:ג׳

      (ג) על ששה חדשים השלוחין יוצאין: על ניסן מפני הפסח, על אב מפני התענית, על אלול מפני ראש השנה, על תשרי מפני תקנת המועדות, על כסלו מפני חנכה, ועל אדר מפני הפורים. וכשהיה בית המקדש קים, יוצאין אף על איר מפני פסח קטן.

      Mishnah Rosh Hashanah 1:3

      (3) On six months messengers go out: On Nisan, because of Pesach; On Av, because of the fast On Elul, because of Rosh Hashnanah; On Tishrei, to correct for the festivals On Kislev, because of Chanukah; On Adar, because of Purim; And when the Temple existed, they also went out on Iyar, because of the little Pesach.

 

Mishna 3

As noted above, on days listed in Megillas Taanis one is not allowed to fast. Our Mishna discusses a situation whereby the Chachomim ordained a series of fasts (presumably to pray for rain) and one of those fast days falls on Chanukkah, Purim or Rosh Chodesh. The Mishna’s question is whether the series continues or must it be broken

    1. ג.
      3.
      משנה תענית ב׳:י׳

      (י) אין גוזרין תענית על הצבור בראש חדש, בחנכה ובפורים. ואם התחילו, אין מפסיקין, דברי רבן גמליאל. אמר רבי מאיר: אף על פי שאמר רבן גמליאל אין מפסיקין, מודה היה שאין משלימין. וכן תשעה באב שחל להיות בערב שבת.

      Mishnah Taanit 2:10

      (10) Public fasts are not to be ordered to take place on the feast of new moon, nor on that of dedication and of lots [pureem]; but if the fast has been already commenced thereon, it need not be broken. Such is the opinion of Rabbon Gamaliel. Rabbi Meir says, “Although Rabbon Gamaliel has said that the fast need not be broken, he agrees that on these days they are not to fast the whole of the day; and thus is it with the [fast of the] ninth of Av, when it happens on a Friday.”

Mishna 4

Our Mishna discusses the fact that on certain “special” Shabbasos both the Maftir and Haftorah are “interrupted” and we read portions specific to the day

    1. ד.
      4.
      משנה מגילה ג׳:ד׳

      (ד) ראש חדש אדר שחל להיות בשבת, קורין בפרשת שקלים. חל להיות בתוך השבת, מקדימין לשעבר ומפסיקין לשבת אחרת. בשניה – זכור, בשלישית – פרה אדמה, ברביעית – החדש הזה לכם. בחמישית חוזרין לכסדרן. לכל מפסיקין: בראשי חדשים, בחנכה, ובפורים, בתעניות ובמעמדות וביום הכפורים .

      Mishnah Megillah 3:4

      (4) When the new moon of Adar happens on a Sabbath, the section Shekalim (Exod. 30:11), is to be read; if it happen on any other day, that section must he read on the preceding Sabbath, and nothing additional is read on the following Sabbath. On the second, the section ‏of Zachor (Deut. 15:14), is to be read; on the third, that of the red heifer, ‏ Parah (Num. 19); on the fourth, that of ‏Hachodesh (Exod. 17); on the fifth, they return again to the regular order. The regular order [of Aphtoroth] is also to be interrupted on the feast of new moon, on that of dedication, on Purim, and on public fast-days, also on the fast of the standing men.

 

Mishna 5

Our Mishna details the specific Torah reading for various special days. For Chanukkah, we read the Nessi’ims’ dedication of the Mishkan The Torah describes how on each of the first 12 days of Nissan, one of the Tribal Leaders would bring a special Korban (each Nasi brought the exact same Korban). Because Chanukkah also celebrates the re-dedication of the temple (or perhaps the original dedication of the Temple) it is only appropriate to read from this portion

    1. ה.
      5.
      משנה מגילה ג׳:ו׳

      (ו) בחנכה – בנשיאים, בפורים – ויבא עמלק, בראשי חדשים – ובראשי חדשיכם, במעמדות – במעשה בראשית, בתעניות – ברכות וקללות. אין מפסיקין בקללות, אלא אחד קורא את כלן. …

      Mishnah Megillah 3:6

      (6) On Hanukkah, the section of the offerings of the princes (Num. 7) must be read; on Purim, that of ‏Vayavoh Amalek (Exod. 9:8); on the feast of new moon, ‏ Uverashei Chodshaichem‎ (Num. 18:11); on the fast-days for the standing men, the history of the creation (Gen. 1); on fast-days, the section containing the blessings and maledictions (Lev. 26:3), the denunciations therein contained must be read without interruption, namely, one man must read the whole [chapter].

 

Mishna 6

Our Mishna describes various funeral and mourning rituals and whether they are permitted on special days, like Chanukkah

    1. ו.
      6.
      משנה מועד קטן ג׳:ט׳

      (ט) בראשי חדשים, בחנכה ובפורים, מענות ומטפחות, בזה ובזה (אבל) לא מקוננות. נקבר המת, לא מענות ולא מטפחות. איזהו ענוי, שכלן עונות כאחת. קינה, שאחת מדברת וכלן עונות אחריה, שנאמר (ירמיה ט) ולמדנה בנתיכם נהי ואשה רעותה קינה. אבל לעתיד לבוא הוא אומר (ישעיה כה) בלע המות לנצח ומחה יי אלהים דמעה מעל כל פנים וגו’.

      Mishnah Moed Katan 3:9

      (9) On Rashei Chodashim [the first day of the new month, on which special prayers and sacrifices are offered], on Chanukah, and on Purim [women] may wail and clap, but must not sing lamentations. When the corpse is interred, they may neither be wailing nor clap. What is “wailing”? When all of them wail as one. “Sing lamentations”: when one recites and all of the others respond after her, as it is said, “Teach your daughters wailing and a woman her fellow a lamentation,” (Jeremiah 9:19). But in the future to come he [Isaiah] says, “He will swallow death forever, and Lord God will erase tears from all faces, etc.,” (Isaiah 25:8).

 

Mishna 7

Perhaps the most famous of all the Mishnayos mentioning Chanukkah, this Mishna describes the liability (or lack thereof) if one’s Channukah lamp causes a fire and damages someone else’s property

    1. ז.
      7.
      משנה בבא קמא ו׳:ו׳

      (ו) גץ שיצא מתחת הפטיש והזיק חייב .גמל שהיה טעון פשתן ועבר ברשות הרבים ונכנס פשתנו לתוך החנות.ודלקו בנרו של חנוני והדליק את הבירה, בעל הגמל חייב .הניח חנוני נרו מבחוץ, החנוני חייב. רבי יהודה אומר בנר חנכה פטור .

      Mishnah Bava Kamma 6:6

      (6) If a spark went out from under the hammer and caused damage, he is liable. If a camel laden with flax passed by in the public domain and its load of flax entered into a shop and caught fire from the storeowner’s candle and lit a large house on fire, the owner of the camel is liable. But if the shopkeeper left his candle outside, the shopkeeper is liable. Rabbi Judah says: If it was a Hannukah light, he is he is exempt.

Mishna 8

At the beginning of the Second Commonwealth

    1. ח.
      8.
      משנה תענית ד׳:ה׳

      (ה) זְמַן עֲצֵי כֹהֲנִים וְהָעָם, תִּשְׁעָה. בְּאֶחָד בְּנִיסָן, בְּנֵי אָרַח בֶּן יְהוּדָה. בְּעֶשְׂרִים בְּתַמּוּז, בְּנֵי דָוִד בֶּן יְהוּדָה. בַּחֲמִשָּׁה בְאָב, בְּנֵי פַרְעֹשׁ בֶּן יְהוּדָה. בְּשִׁבְעָה בוֹ, בְּנֵי יוֹנָדָב בֶּן רֵכָב. בַּעֲשָׂרָה בוֹ, בְּנֵי סְנָאָה בֶן בִּנְיָמִין. בַּחֲמִשָּׁה עָשָׂר בּוֹ, בְּנֵי זַתּוּא בֶן יְהוּדָה, וְעִמָּהֶם כֹּהֲנִים וּלְוִיִּם וְכָל מִי שֶׁטָּעָה בְשִׁבְטוֹ, וּבְנֵי גוֹנְבֵי עֱלִי בְּנֵי קוֹצְעֵי קְצִיעוֹת. בְּעֶשְׂרִים בּוֹ, בְּנֵי פַחַת מוֹאָב בֶּן יְהוּדָה. בְּעֶשְׂרִים בֶּאֱלוּל, בְּנֵי עָדִין בֶּן יְהוּדָה. בְּאֶחָד בְּטֵבֵת שָׁבוּ בְנֵי פַרְעֹשׁ שְׁנִיָּה. בְּאֶחָד בְּטֵבֵת לֹא הָיָה בוֹ מַעֲמָד, שֶׁהָיָה בוֹ הַלֵּל וְקָרְבַּן מוּסָף וְקָרְבַּן עֵצִים:

      Mishnah Taanit 4:5

      (5) The times [of the delivery] of wood [for the altar] by priests and people, were on nine appointed days; on the first of Nissan, the family Arah of Yehudah [delivered]; on the twentieth of Tamuz, the family of David of Yehudah; on the fifth of Av, the family of Parosh of Jehudah; on the seventh, the family of Jonadav ben Rechav; on the tenth, the family of Sinha of Benjamin; on the fifteenth, the family of Zatu of Jehudah, and with them priests and Levites, and all those who did not know from what tribe [they were descended], also the family of Gonve Eli, and the family of Kotzei Ketziot; and on the twentieth the family Pachat Moav of Jehudah; on the twentieth of Elul, the family Adin of Jehudah; on the first of Tevet, the family Parosh, [offered a] second time. There was no meeting of the standing men on the first of Tevet; because Hallel was recited, and an additional sacrifice and wood-offering were brought [on that day].

    2. ט.
      9.

      Tosefta 1

      The Tosefta adds the reason as to why, according to Rabi Yehudah you are exempt from liability.

    3. י.
      10.
      תוספתא בבא קמא ו׳:י״ג

      (יג) …..  וכן היה רבי יהודה אומר בנר חנוכה פטור מפני שהניח ברשות וחכמים אומרים בין זה ובין זה חייב כגון אלו מסככין על פתחי חניותיהן ברשות הרבים בחג אע”פ שיש להן רשות ובא אחר והוזק בהן ה”ז חייב.

 

Tosefta 2

This Tosefta describes the placement of the special “Al Hanisim” prayer we insert on both Purim and Chanukkah in our Shemona Esrei

    1. יא.
      11.
      תוספתא ברכות ג׳:י״ד

      (יד) כל שאין בו מוסף כגון חנוכה ופורים ערבית שחרית ומנחה מתפלל שמונה עשרה ואומר מעין המאורע בהודאה ואם לא אמר מעין המאורע <אין> מחזירין אותו וכל שיש בו מוסף כגון ר”ח וחולו של מועד שחרית ומנחה מתפלל שמונה עשרה ואומר קדושת היום בעבודה רבי אליעזר אומר בהודאה ואם לאו מחזירין אותו…

      Tosefta Berakhot 3:14

      (14) Any [holiday] on which there is no Mussaf [prayer] for example, Chanukah and Purim, on Shacharit and Mincha he prays [the Shmoneh Esreh with] eighteen [Berachot (blessings)] and he says [the paragraph] about the occasion in [the Beracha of] Hodaah (Thanks). And if he did not say [the paragraph] about the occasion, he does not have to go back [to the beginning of Shmoneh Esreh]. And any [holiday] which has on it [the] Mussaf [prayer], for example Rosh Chodesh (New Month), and Chol Hamoed (the intermediate days of Sukkot and Pesach), on Shacharit and Mincha10 he would pray [the prayer of Shmoneh Esreh with] eighteen [Berachot] and he says [the paragraph] about the holiness of the day11 in [the Beracha of] Avodah (Temple Service).12 Rebbi Eliezer says, “[he says the paragraph about the holiness of the day] in [the Beracha of] Hodaah, and if he did not say it then he has to go back [to the beginning of Shmoneh Esreh].”

 

Tosefta 3

Our Tosefta lists the 18 days on which one reads a “full” Hallel. The eight days of Chanukkah are included in the list

    1. יב.
      12.
      תוספתא סוכה ג׳:ב׳

      (ב) ערבה הלכה למשה מסיני אבא שאול אומר מן התורה שנאמר וערבי נחל [שתים ערבה ללולב וערבה למזבח] רבי אליעזר בן יעקב אומר כך היו אומרין ליה וליך המזבח ליה וליך המזבח י”ח יום בשנה ולילה אחת קורין בהן] את ההלל ואלו הן שמונת ימי [חג ושמונת ימי חנוכה ויום טוב הראשון של פסח ולילו ויו”ט של עצרת].

Megillas Ta’anis

    1. יג.
      13.
      מגילת תענית, כסלו ז׳

      () בכ”ה ביה יום חנוכה תמניא יומין דִלָא לְמִסְפָּד:

      Megillat Taanit, Kislev 7

      (undefined) On the twenty-fifth of the month is Channuka, eight days on which one does not eulogize

    2. יד.
      14.
      מגילת תענית, כסלו ח׳

      () כשנכנסו יונים להיכל טמאו כל השמנים שבהיכל וכשגברה יד בית חשמונאי ונצחום בדקו ולא מצאו אלא פך אחד שהיה מונח בחותמו של כהן הגדול שלא נטמא ולא היה בו להדליק אלא יום אחד ונעשה בו נס והדליקו ח’ ימים. לשנה אחרת קבעו ח’ י”ט. ומה ראו לעשות חנוכה ח’ ימים והלא חנוכה שעשה משה במדבר לא עשה אלא שבעה ימים שנא’ ומפתח אהל מועד לא תצאו שבעת ימים וגו’ ואומר ויהי המקריב ביום הראשון את קרבנו וגו’ ובשביעי הקריב אפרים. וכן מצינו בחנוכה שעשה שלמה שלא עשה אלא שבעת ימים שנא’ כי חנוכת המזבח עשו שבעת הימים והחג ז’ ימים ומה ראו לעשות חנוכה זו ח’ ימים אלא בימי מלכות יון נכנסו בית חשמונאי להיכל ובנו את המזבח ושדוהו בשיד ותקנו בו כלי שרת והיו מתעסקין בו ח’ ימים. ומה ראו להדליק את הנרות אלא בימי מלכות יון שנכנסו בית חשמונאי להיכל שבעה שפודין של ברזל בידם וחפום בעץ והדליקו בהם את המנורה. ומה ראו לגמור בהם את הלל אלא שכל תשועה ותשועה שהקב”ה עושה להם לישראל היו מקדימין לפניו בהלל בשירה ובשבח ובהודאה כענין שנא’ ויענו בהלל ובהודו ליי כי טוב וגו’ מצות חנוכה נר איש וביתו והמהדרין נר לכל נפש ונפש והמהדרין מן המהדרין בש”א יום ראשון מדליק שמונה מכאן ואילך פוחת והולך ובה”א יום ראשון מדליק א’ מכאן ואילך מוסיף והולך. שני זקנים היו בצידן אחד עשה כדברי ב”ש ואחד עשה כדברי ב”ה זה נותן טעם לדבריו וזה נותן טעם לדבריו זה אומר כפרי החג וזה אומר מעלין בקודש ואין מורידין. מצות הדלקתה משתשקע החמה עד שתכלה רגל מן השוק ומצוה להניחה על פתח ביתו מבחוץ ואם היה דר בעליה מניחה בחלון הסמוכה לרה”ר ואם מתירא מן הלצים מניחה על פתח ביתו מבפנים ובשעת הסכנה מניחה על שלחנו ודיו:

      Megillat Taanit, Kislev 8

      (undefined) because when the Greeks entered the Temple they defiled all the oil there. When the hand of the Hasmoneans was made strong and they defeat the Greeks, they checked (in the Temple) and only found one jar of oil sealed with the mark of the High Priest which remained undefiled. Though there was only enough in it to light for one day, a miracle occurred through it and they lit the Temple lamps from it for eight days. The following year they decreed these to be eight days of celebration. And what justification did they see for making Channuka eight days? Wasn’t the dedication (channuka) which Moshe did in the wilderness only seven days? As it says “And you shall not leave the entrance of the Tent of Meeting for seven days…” (Vayikra 8:33) And it says “The one who brought his offering on the first day was…” (Bamidbar 7:12) and on the seventh day, Ephraim made his offering. So too we find at the dedication which Shlomo made that it only lasted seven days, as it says “…for the inauguration of the altar they made seven days, and the feast seven days.” (Divre HaYamim II 7:9) So what reason did they see to make this dedication eight days? In the days of the kingdom of Greece, the Hasmoneans entered the Temple, built the altar, plastered it with plaster and for seven days they were preparing the vessels for service. The re-dedication done by the Hasmoneans it to be marked for all generations. And why is it a practice for all generations? They fixed it when they came out from a narrow place into broad spaces, and they said praises and thanksgiving, lighting lamps in purity. Since the Greeks had gone into the Temple and defiled all the vessels, there was nothing with which to light. When the Hasmoneans were victorious, they brought seven skewers of iron, covered them with tin and began to light.

       Source Sheet created on Sefaria by yaakov Saavedra
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