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The Shulchan Aruch states the meals on Chanuka are (only) permissible feasts (not seudas mitzvah) since these days were never instituted as days of festive meals. The Ramma quotes an opinion stating the meals have some mitzvah associated with them as the Mizbeach was inaugurated in those days.

ריבוי הסעודות שמרבים בהם הם סעודות הרשות שלא קבעום למשתה ושמחה: הגה וי"א שיש קצת מצוה בריבוי הסעודות משום דבאותן הימים היה חנוכת המזבח [מהר"א מפראג]

I am confused. Nobody argued that the miracle of the oil was insignificant and therefore the meals are not a seudas mitzvah. It was a wondrous event. There happened to be a technicality that they were not instituted as such. Why they weren't is irrelevant. How does mentioning another momentous occasion in those days help? There is no statement mentioning they were in fact instituted as days for festive meals, so what have we gained with mentioning the Mizbeach's inauguration over the Menorah's miraculous oil?

  • Connection to sukkos,which does have a chyiuv of a seuda – sam Dec 9 '19 at 2:39
  • But it doesn't say that. – user6591 Dec 9 '19 at 2:45
  • That’s according to the Rif and the Rosh (as well as others) but according to the Mordechai (as well as Rambam) they did establish those days as ימי משתה ושמחה. Not posting as an answer because 1) I don’t have original sources in front of me 2) feel like I’m not really getting the question – mroll Dec 9 '19 at 3:23
  • @mroll I'm trying to think how to re-word this. The information in Sh'a Ramma momentous event does not get seudas mitzvah status since at the time of the event nobody established it to have that status. Meaning had they established it as such it would've worked and to this day we would have seudos mitzvos. But they didn't, so we don't. Ok. But says Ramma there was a different momentous occasion so therefore there is a kind of seudas mitzvah aspect. But wait. Even the most momentous occasion wouldn't have seudos mitzvah status without having been established as such, and Ramma didn't say – user6591 Dec 9 '19 at 3:37
  • Cont. they actually established seudas mitzvah status because of the mizbeach, so how does that event help us? All we have is another momentous occasion with no establishment of seudas mitzvah status. – user6591 Dec 9 '19 at 3:38
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If you look at the Mishnah Berura there it could be read as follows שלא קבעום למשתה ושמחה, אלא להודות ולהלל. Perhaps he means that they established it as a day of thanks and praise to the exclusion of feasting. Meaning, it’s not that the Rabbis just didn’t establish it for feasting but rather that they specifically and consciously established the celebration of Chanukah in another way, namely through praise. Thus what the Rama is saying is that the mitzva to eat is not really a celebration of the miracle of Chanukah (for that was established another way), but rather it is a general celebration of inauguration of the temple.

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