"Al HaNisim" - Chanukah Section
The narrative here, considerably
longer than for the Purim Section, since the threat was
more complex (not just plain-old genocide), makes up for the omission in the Talmud's
account, of the military victory of the Chashmonaim.
Here the nature of the threat is first defined, "ke'sheomda Malchut Yavan ha'reshaah al amecha Yisrael," "when Yavan, the 'Evil Empire,' rose up against Your nation, Israel," "le'hashkicham Toratecha u'lehaaviram mi'chukei retzonecha," "to make them forget Your Torah, and to remove them from (the observance of) the statutes which You desire."
It was basically a threat to enforce the rejection by the Jewish People of the Torah and its way of life in favor of Greek culture.
When the threat of overwhelming force was opposed by Matityahu and his sons, You came to their assistance, "masarta gibborim beyad chalashim, ve'rabim beyad me'atim, u'temaim beyad tehorim" "You gave the mighty into the hands of the weak, the many into the hands of the few, and the impure into the hands of the pure "
And for what purpose did You give them the victory?
"U'lecha asita shem gadol ve'kadosh be'olamecha," "And You made Your Name great and holy in Your world," "U'leamcha Yisrael asita teshua gedola u'phurkan ke'hayom hazeh," "And for Your People, Israel, You made a great salvation and redemption as this very day "
The miracle of the oil is also mentioned, but only indirectly. "Ve'achar kach bau vanecha li'dvir beitecha u'phenu et heichalecha, ve'tiharu et mikdashecha, ve'hidliku nerot be'chatzrot kadshecha," "and afterwards, Your children came to Your holy habitation, and cleaned Your palace, and purified Your Temple, and lit lights in Your holy courtyards."
And it was these events, the highlighted military victory and the purification and rededication of G-d's Temple that made up the set of historical events which led to the establishment of Chanukah, "VeKavu shemonat yemei Chanukah elu le'hodot u'lehallel le'shimcha ha'gadol," "And they established these eight days of Chanukah to give gratitude and praise to Your great Name."
Clearly, it was the military victory, somewhat (!) analogous to, but on a higher level than the victory achieved by the forces of the State of Israel in the Six Day War, that was great in the eyes of the People; other miracles, also great, perhaps ultimately even more significant, were viewed at the time, as secondary. This was recognized by those who framed the words of this prayer, who stressed here the military victory.