The THE BENJAMIN AND ROSE BERGER TORAH TO-GO Chanukah 5782 p 14 contains an article from Rabbi Ezra Schwartz entitled “ Al Hanisim in Birkat Hamazon”.

It says

Tosafot, Shabbat 24a, s.v. Mahu, offer a different explanation. According to Tosafot, one needs to add Al HaNisim in tefilla since tefilla is held in public and there is pirsumei nisa. Benching, which is recited privately in one’s home, does not have a pirsumei nisa element to the same extent that tefilla does.

The text of the Tosfos reads

מהו להזכיר של חנוכה בבהמ"ז. בתפלה פשיטא ליה דמזכיר משום דתפלה בצבור הוא ואיכא פרסומי ניסא אבל בבהמ"ז שבבית ליכא פרסומי ניסא כולי האי:

What about mentioning Hanukkah in Grace after Meals. It's obvious that Hanukkah must be mentioned in communal prayer because there is the element of publicising the miracle but in Grace there is not so much publicity.

Rabbi Schwartz says further:

It seems that for Tosafot, even private prayer counts as pirsumei nisa. The conclusion of the Gemara that one can or perhaps should recite Al HaNisim in Birkat HaMazon, indicates for Tosafot that pirsumei nisa is not as it is commonly understood: a public declaration of the miracle. Instead, even a personal awareness of the neis can constitute pirsumei nisa. Pirsumei nisa is as much to oneself as it is to others.

Jastrow has,

פִּרְסֵם, פִּירְ׳ (enlargement of פָּרַס) to spread, divulge, publish; to uncover, expose.

How can I understand the idea that “Pirsumei nisa is as much to oneself as it is to others.”

related: Lighting Hanukkah Candles Alone

  • You can't publicise something that is not meaningful to you?
    – pcoz
    Commented Nov 30, 2021 at 5:31
  • Meaningful to me is thus a prerequisite for Pirsumei nisa not the thing itself! Commented Nov 30, 2021 at 9:47
  • If it's not real to you how can it be real to anyone else?
    – pcoz
    Commented Dec 1, 2021 at 3:27
  • Avnei Nezer OC 501
    – Double AA
    Commented Dec 6, 2021 at 1:47

1 Answer 1


The Pri Megadim in the Rosh Yosef (s.v. v'hevei) disagrees with R' Schwartz' conclusion on whether Tosfos would say there is pirsumei nisa happening by the individual prayer. He writes that for Tosfos, al hanisim for the purpose of pirsumei nisa really does only apply by the communal prayer and not by the individual prayer. The Cheishek Shlomo (ibid, s.v. mahu) says that by Purim, we definitely would say al hanisim by bentching since it speaks about gathering together by a seudah per "mishpacha u'mishpacha" (Esther 9:28), while on Chanukkah we don't have that requirement.

  • According to this why do we say Al HaNissim in the silent Amida and not just in the leader's repetition?
    – Double AA
    Commented Dec 1, 2021 at 14:50
  • @DoubleAA According to the Rosh Yosef, while Rashi would add Al haNisim in the silent Amida (because of praise and thanks), Tosfos would say it would not be added (for the sake of publicizing the mitzvah)
    – Dovmo
    Commented Dec 1, 2021 at 16:37
  • That makes Rosh Yosef's position much more difficult than R' Schwartz' in my opinion. Do we find any evidence for such a position in contemporary French Siddurim? Machzor Vitri maybe? Anyone mention that the silent Amida is different from the leader's repetition?
    – Double AA
    Commented Dec 1, 2021 at 17:03
  • I don't know. Vitri was a talmid of Rashi so might not have reason to bring it down. Maybe Tosfos would say it should still be said in the silent Amida for some other ( incidental) reason.
    – Dovmo
    Commented Dec 1, 2021 at 19:09

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