Monday, December 7, 2015

Al Hanissim: Alternative text in Ve’ani Tefillati

The alternative version of Al Nissim (and the similar text for Purim; for Yom Ha'atzmaut it is the only option) in the Israeli Masorti  (Conservative) prayer book expresses gratitude to God for miracles done -- as in the traditional text-- but also acknowledges the need for human action to actualize those miracles. I think that this adaptation is important because of the tendency of some religious people to promote the idea that we need do nothing but trust in God and all will be well. The lived experience of the Jewish people and the world do not support that claim.
For the miracles, for the redemption, for the heroism, for the triumphs, and for the deliverance that you granted our ancestors [or Your people Israel] in other days and in our time.In the days of Matityahu ben Yohanan, the Hashmonean high priest, and his sons when the evil Greek kingdom fought Your people Israel to make them forget Your Torah and transgress Your laws,
You, in Your great mercy, stood by them in time of trouble. You defended them and vindicated them. You taught them the ways of war (Ps. 144:1) and delivered the strong into the hands of the weak, many into the hands of the few, and the evil into the hands of the people of Your covenant. You made a great and holy Name for Yourself in Your world and for Your people Israel you wrought great salvation and redemption to this day.  [Hebrew, p. 289, translation SMZ]