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If you forget to say Al Hanisim in bentching on Chanuka or Purim, you can add the הרחמן later to make up for it (Rama 682:1). You can also do the same thing in Shemoneh Esrei, provided that you similarly phrase it as a request (Mishna Berura 4).

Why is the makeup phrased as a request instead of thanks? At least for Chanuka, the holiday is defined as days of הלל והודאה (Shabbos 21b), and Rashi connects הודאה directly to Al Hanisim. Making up for it as a request seems to defeat the entire purpose.

Why can't you make it up phrased as thanks? (Is it because of מודים מודים? That's all I could think of, but I'd like to see someone say it explicitly.) And, given that you can't for whatever reason, why make it up at all?

  • One part of this question that I'm not following is why there is a need for any "make up". I believe that in davening, if one forgot to say Al Hanissim and has passed the bracha of Hoda'ah he needn't go back. So, why the need for any substitute prayer? I think a similar rule applies to Birkat Hamazon. – DanF Jan 10 '17 at 21:54
  • @DanF As the Mishna Berura says there is a make up in davening as well, before אלקי נצר. I've never seen a text for it. The "new" (Wasserman) Artscroll siddur says in the back to say the Harachaman also in davening. I'm not convinced that they mean that you should say that in particular, of if that's just a conveniently available text phrased as a request so might as well use it. – Heshy Jan 10 '17 at 22:15
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    Many old Nuschaot have it as a request always even in Shmoneh Esrei, see OC 682 where the Beit Yosef thinks both options are acceptable – Double AA Dec 13 '17 at 21:09
  • You mean the כשם? There's a difference between a request and thanks with a request appended to it. – Heshy Dec 13 '17 at 23:10
  • @Heshy I'm not sure what the difference is if there's a bit of request in the beginning or at the end. More generally though if the goal is להזכיר מעין המאורע then it's pretty reasonable to expect that the way you work it into the existing blessing will depend on what blessing you are working it into. – Double AA Dec 13 '17 at 23:24
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The purpose it serves is to mention the holiday or special event in prayers.(להזכיר מעין המאורע) as required by the Talmud (see תוספתא ברכות, ג', י"ד). It fulfills this purpose even if it is phrased as a request and not as thanks. The SEPERATE requirement of "thanks" on chanukka which Rashi seems to connect to Al HaNisim may well be lost. The reason it cannot be formulated as thanks is presumably because the Anshei Keneset Hagadola established a specific order for Shmoneh Esrei (see Megillah 17b) and Thanks was established for the eighteenth blessing not anywhere else. (And the end of the prayers are set aside for personal prayers.)

  • I like this answer, but why can't you include thanks in your personal prayers? – Heshy Dec 17 '17 at 19:51
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    @Heshy See Megillah 18b-19a - you can’t add personal praises to davening anymore. – DonielF Dec 17 '17 at 20:03
  • @Heshy I meant personal requests. But that raises the question of why only requests. ALSO Is it possible Rashi meant that as מעין המאורע Al Hanissim expresses the essence of Channukka "to thank and praise", not that it is a fulfillment of a mitzvah of Hodaa? – Naftali Tzvi Dec 17 '17 at 20:37
  • @DonielF praises and thanks are two different things. – Heshy Dec 18 '17 at 0:25
  • Do you have any evidence this actually fulfills mein hameora? I doubt it. The Harachamans aren't actually part of bentching. This seems like it's just a spirit of the law sort of thing. – Double AA Dec 18 '17 at 13:40
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Rabbi Gavreil Tzinner Shlit"a in his Nitei Gavriel Hilchos Chanuka pg. 280, quotes a Sefer Siach Yitzchok which explains that you need to ask for a nes for the fact alone that you forgot to thank Hashem for the Nes.

  • but why can't you thank Hashem now? – Heshy Dec 14 '17 at 14:18
  • You are thanking Hashem now. The question is why don't you just thank hashem plain. Why do you need to prepend a request for a nes? – user218076 Dec 14 '17 at 14:21
  • In nusach Ashkenaz you're not thanking Hashem now. You're saying "please do miracles for us like You did in the time of Matisyahu when all this stuff happened" There's a very long description of "this stuff", but it's all part of the request. – Heshy Dec 14 '17 at 15:40

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