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In Ma'oz Tzur, it says:

וּמִנּוֹתַר קַנְקַנִּים נַעֲשָׂה נֵס לַשּׁוֹשַׁנִּים בְּנֵי בִינָה יְמֵי שְׁמוֹנָה קָבְעוּ שִׁיר וּרְנָנִים

What is the Difference between Shirim and Rinanim?

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up vote 7 down vote accepted

Well, there is the fact that רננים was needed to make the line rhyme. :)

R' Shlomo Aharon Wertheimer, in his ביאור שמות הנרדפים שבתנ"ך, says that רננה means the sound of a crowd of people (this from Ramban to Job 3:7), while שיר means vocal singing (as in Zeph. 2:14).

So in Maoz Tzur, the meaning may be something similar: the Sages established Chanukah as a time for singing (שיר) Hashem's praises, and also for getting together in large crowds and talking (רננה) about the miracle.

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