Chanukah Politics

Let’s look at some Chanukah scenarios where the needs of the few battle the needs of the many.

Full Hallel and Full Speed Ahead
On Chanukah, our Sages have instituted that we say full Hallel in the Shacharis morning services to praise G-d for the miracles He performed for us. This along with the Torah reading for Chanukah adds a considerable amount of time to the morning service which is already under pressure for those who need to get to work or help get the kids out to school. The response to this tension is usually resolved in a fast Hallel to accommodate the time requirement, but perhaps it would be nice to allocate 30-60 seconds to sing one part of Hallel.

The Dedication of the Menorah
In some Shuls there are Menorahs which were formally dedicated. It sometimes happens that a member on his own purchases a menorah for the Shul, without going through a more formal Shul dedication process. What happens when the Shul decides that they want to replace that Menorah with something nicer. We don’t want to offend the member who performed the original generous act, while at the same time we want a nicer menorah for the Shul.

The Lighting of the Menorah
The lighting of the Menorah is a Shul honor that seems to be less sought after than other kibbudim (honors). Nonetheless somebody has to light. It seems that there are many varying procedures as to how to delegate this honor through the eight days and nights of Chanukah.

Ma’oz Tzur at Maariv
After the Chanukah Menorah lighting at Maariv, some Shuls sing Ma’oz Tzur before praying Maariv. On the one hand there is no obligation to sing Ma’oz Tzur in shul, but on the other perhaps we can view it as a correction for the fast Hallel we probably said at that morning’s Shacharis. There is also not the same time constraints at Maariv as at Shacharis. Nonetheless some of the mispallim (people who daven) would rather skip the Ma’oz Tzur and be finished with davening 5 minutes earlier. If you are in a Shul that does say Ma’oz Tzur, grin and bear it or better yet sing along and join in the praise of Hashem.

Happy Chanukah!