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In Al Hannisim we say:

v'al hamilchamot she-asita la-avoteinu Loosely translated: And for the wars which you made for our Forefathers

Why are we thanking Hashem for wars?

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R' Yaakov Emden (Luach Eresh, sec. 177) writes:

כי הנה אחד מתארי השי"ת שהוא איש מלחמה, ויתכן להודות ולשבח לשמו עליהם, שהוצרכנו להם אחר שגרם העון והחרב באה, ובזכות הרחמים נצלנו (?) ממנה, כי ה' הוא הנלחם, חייבין אנו לתת הודאה עליהם בלי שום ספק

"One of Hashem's titles is 'the Master of War.' So it is logical to thank and praise His name for them, that we needed [war] after sin caused the sword to come, and in the merit of [Hashem's] mercy we were saved [I'm not certain about this word] from it, for Hashem is the One who fought. So we are undoubtedly obligated to thank Hashem for them [the wars]."

That said, there are versions of the Siddur (including R' Shneur Zalman of Liadi's) that don't have this phrase. In one of his letters, the Lubavitcher Rebbe zt"l provides possible rationales for this.

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I still don't know why I would thank Him for Wars? I mean I think we would all agree Better no war than winning one. – SimchasTorah Nov 29 '10 at 23:35
If I'm understanding him correctly, to have a state of "no war" would have required something on our part - maintaining our observance of the mitzvos. Given that we didn't do that, and thus brought the Greek occupation and persecution upon ourselves, we thank Him for not leaving us in the lurch, but fighting on our behalf to drive them out once and for all. – Alex Nov 30 '10 at 0:13

Maharal teaches that the only way to Shalom (peace) is through Milhamah (war).

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Really? is it in answer to this question or in general? – SimchasTorah Nov 29 '10 at 13:14
Where is the Mekor for it? – SimchasTorah Nov 29 '10 at 23:35
I'm going to have to get back to you on that one. It could be in Nesivos Olam, Nesiv HaShalom, but it has been many years since I saw it inside. – Yahu Nov 30 '10 at 0:01
The Maharal seems to understand that Shalom is more than just not fighting- It is a wholeness, from the word "Shaleim". To achieve this wholeness a struggle is always required. – Yahu Nov 30 '10 at 0:03
Mareh Makom please? – SimchasTorah Dec 2 '10 at 2:15

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