We add paragraphs to the liturgy of Chanuka and Purim, recounting the respective miracles that those holidays commemorate. We start the paragraphs as follows. Chanuka's starts:

In the days of Matisyahu… and his sons, when the evil Greek monarchy rose against Your people Israel to cause them to forget your Torah and to draw them from the laws of Your will…

Purim's starts:

In the days of Mord'chay and Ester in the capital Shushan, when the evil Haman rose against them, he sought to destroy, kill, and get rid of all the Jews…

I note two differences between these:

  1. Chanuka's says "rose against Your people Israel"; Purim's says "rose against them", presumably the aforementioned Mord'chay and Ester.
  2. Chanuka's says "rose against [whomever] to…"; Purim's says "rose against [whomever], he sought to…".

Why these differences?

  • Similar: judaism.stackexchange.com/q/12554
    – msh210
    Mar 27, 2016 at 5:23
  • In purim Haman hasn't make nothing "חשב". But in Chanuka the Greeks makes many Gzerot and apply them."כשעמדה" In purim, the people is not Israel and has nothing of grandiosity, there is Jewish people, no more "היהודים". In Chanuka, the jewish people is with own bet mikdash and Avoda and souverainty. "עמך ישראל"
    – kouty
    Mar 27, 2016 at 8:31
  • In my opinion, causing the Jewish People to assimilate is even worse than decreeing their destruction!
    – ezra
    Dec 5, 2016 at 15:26

1 Answer 1


Regarding the first difference - perhaps because the nature of the threat by Chanukah was "to cause them to forget your Torah and to draw them from the laws of Your will", in other words to sever the bond between the Jewish People and God, we therefore emphasize "Your People Israel". By Purim, however, the intention of the enemy was not to disconnect the Jews from God, rather it was simple genocide.

Regarding the second difference - there is a theme particular to Purim of celebrating how the enemy's evil intention was turned on its head, aside from celebrating the salvation of the Jews from destruction. Later in that paragraph it says "You...nullified his [Haman's] planning and ruined his intended result and caused his design to return upon his own head." Similarly, in the piyut recited the night of Purim - Asher Heini - we say "He [Haman] planned to trap, but was himself trapped, he sought to destroy and was swiftly destroyed." Perhaps this is why the word בקש/"he sought" is added to the beginning - to contrast Haman's intentions with what actually transpired and thus emphasize the thwarting and inversion of his plan.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .