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In Al Hannisim we say:

לְהַשְׁכִּיחָם תּורָתֶךָ וּלְהַעֲבִירָם מֵחֻקֵּי רְצונֶךָ

"To make them forget Your Torah and violate the decrees of Your will"

In this context what is the meaning of Torah and what is the meaning, or better said, the difference between תּורָתֶךָ and מֵחֻקֵּי רְצונֶךָ?

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up vote 5 down vote accepted

In many different places in Chabad Chassidus (for example, briefly in Hayom Yom, 2 Teves; more extensively in Maamar Tanu Rabbanan 5738, Likkutei Sichos, vol. 3, p. 815, et al) it's explained that the Greeks had no objection to Torah and to mitzvos per se; there is after all a lot of it that is attractive to the cultured Hellenistic mind. But they demanded that Torah be studied just as another human creation, not as G-d's wisdom; and that only the rational mitzvos (mishpatim and eidos) be kept, because they appeal to the human mind, not because they are G-d's will.

So we stress that they tried to get us "to forget Your Torah, and to transgress the laws (chukim means the ones that we don't understand, such as shaatnez) of Your will."

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I've heard this from a non-hasidic source also, though I don't remember which. – msh210 Dec 2 '10 at 18:21

There were laws against studying the Torah, and against observing things like circumcision. The former is "to forget Your Torah", the latter "to violate Your laws."

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