שמחה והלל בחנוכה
הרב דני זוקרמן
The gemara in Shabbos (21b) tells us how, in the wake of the נס פך שמן, Chazal instituted "ימים טובים בהלל והודאה". This phrase, which encapsulates the character of the eight days of Chanuka, is subject to a debate between Rashi and the Rambam. Rashi on the gemara explains that Chanuka is a yom tov in the sense that we say הלל and we add על הניסים in Shmoneh Esrei. The Rambam (Chanuka 3:3), however, disagrees and modifies two elements of the gemara’s formulation. He doesn’t mention הודאה at all, seemingly inserting הדלקת נרות in its stead. Furthermore, the Rambam adds that these are not only days of הלל, but of שמחה as well.
The Rambam requires explanation. What is the Rambam’s source that Chanuka is a time of simcha? And how is the simcha of Chanuka supposed to be expressed?
Rav Yitzchak Ezrachi shlit”a, in a shiur klali here in yeshiva this week, posited that the Rambam’s source for a chiyuv simcha on Chanuka is from the chiyuv Hallel itself. The gemara in Arachin (10b) states that the reason we don’t say Hallel on Rosh Hashana or Yom Kippur is because it would be incongruous to do so while "ספרי חיים וספרי מתים מונחים לפניו". The Rambam (Chanuka 3:6) codifies this gemara by establishing a principle that Hallel is only said on days of "שמחה יתירה", a standard which Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur both fail to attain. From the Rambam’s psak we see that Hallel never exists in a vacuum, but rather is a function of the שמחה of the day. Therefore, Rav Ezrachi concluded, the Rambam must have understood that if Chazal established a mitzva to say Hallel on Chanuka, they must have established a יום שמחה as well, as otherwise there couldn’t be a chiyuv to say Hallel.
Given this understanding of the Rambam, it seems to emerge that while there is both simcha and Hallel on ימים טובים מדאורייתא and ימים טובים מדרבן, the relationship between those elements differs. On a יום טוב מדאורייתא, there is a מצוה מדאורייתא to be joyous, and a מצוה מדברי סופרים to say Hallel. The simcha is an end unto itself, to be שמח לפני ה', and one particular expression of that simcha is through saying Hallel. On Chanuka, however, there is no concept of ושמחת לפני ה', so the simcha is not an end unto itself. The essence of the day is to joyously praise Hashem for the miracles he did for us. A person must still bring himself to a state of simcha, but only as a means of expressing true Hallel.
Perhaps a nafka mina between these two types of simcha is the actions by which the simcha is expressed. On Yom Tov, ושמחת בחגך requires a person to do particular activities to bring himself to a state of simcha- eating meat and drinking wine for men, purchasing new clothing for women, and distributing candy for children. On Chanuka these activities don’t seem to be required, presumably because, even according to the Rambam that these are ימי שמחה, it is a different kind of simcha than we have on Yom Tov. What do we do on Chanuka to express our simcha? Extra seudos, with songs of praise to Hakadosh Baruch Hu. Based on the above, we can explain that these are not an end unto themselves, rather they bring us to a state in which we can joyously sing Hallel.
On these days of Chanuka, we have the opportunity to contemplate and appreciate the נסים ונפלאות that Hakadosh Baruch Hu did before us in ימי מתתיהו בן יוחנן. By bringing ourselves to joyously praise him for those נסים, let us also daven for נסים ונפלאות in our days as well.
 The gemara there also says that, generally, there is only Hallel on a day which is קדוש בעשיית מלאכה. Chanuka is the sole exception, which the gemara justifies by attributing the Hallel of Chanuka to its נס. While this distinction demonstrates that the Hallel of Chanuka is somewhat unique among the other Hallels that we say, Rav Ezrachi argued that the Rambam doesn’t extend this distinction so far as to do away with the requirement of simcha.
 עיין טור וש"ע או"ח תרע ונושאי כלים שם
קוד השיעור: 9230