“For Your miracles that are with us every day; and for Your wonders and favors at every season – evening, morning and afternoon. The Beneficent One, for Your compassions were never exhausted, and the Compassionate One, for Your kindnesses never ended – always have we put our hope in You … Blessed are You, Hashem, Whose name is good and Whom it is fitting to give thanks.”
We thank Hashem for all of the miracles that He performs every day, evening, morning and afternoon. After praising Him for what He does every day, is it really necessary to mention these three different time periods? By enumerating these three different times we recognize that during every part of the day there are different miracles for which we need to thank Hashem.
During the stories of both Chanukah and Purim, it seemed as if the Jewish people were headed for spiritual and physical annihilation. In both cases Hashem performed miracles on our behalf, which caused the exact opposite to transpire, and the Jews had resounding victories over their enemies. On both Chanukah and Purim we recognize that in addition to the myriad of hidden miracles that He is constantly performing for us, at times we are privileged to recognize His hand in the world with open miracles. We do so by adding Al Hanisim to the eighteenth blessing of Shemoneh Esrei, describing the miracles that Hashem did for us “in those days at this time.”
If one forgot to say Al Hanisim but did not yet say Hashem’s Name, he can go back and say Al Hanisim. If he has already said Hashem’s Name he should continue, and he does not need to recite Shemoneh Esrei again; rather, he should insert Al Hanisim at the end of Shemoneh Esrei before taking three steps back. Instead of saying the words “Al Hanisim” until “b’zman hazeh,” he should preface his prayer with the words, “Harachaman Hu yaseh lanu nisim v’nifla’os kemo she’asa lavoseinu bayamim hahem b’zman hazeh …” and then continue with the appropriate section for Purim or Chanukah (Mishna Berura 682,4).
Text Copyright © 2010 by Rabbi Daniel Travis and Torah.org