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    The Chochmas Shlomo teaches
    that if someone in jail is given the
    choice of either lighting the Chanukah candles in prison or to leave
    the jail for a day to say Hallel, he
    should choose to leave and say Hallel. Hallel is more important than
    lighting the Chanukah candles because these days were established
    for Hallel and Hoidayah (praise).
    The Misechta Sofrim says that on
    Chanukah we should say Hallel
    בנעימה ,to chant it pleasantly and
    There was a woman who suffered
    from a dibbuk. The Divrei Chaim of
    Tzanz zt’l suggested that she stand
    by the doorway of the beis kneses
    when they say Hallel on Chanukah.
    She did so, and the dibbuk left her.
    Like all mitzvos, Hallel should be
    said with a hislahavus, with passion. Although we will be saying
    Hallel for eight days straight, we
    should strive to make the Hallel
    new, exciting and joyous, each day.
    The Baal HaTanya zt’l had a great
    chassid called Reb Shmuel Minkas
    zt’l. Once, he asked a melamed,
    “What are you teaching now?”
    The melamed replied that he was
    teaching Bava Metziah. Reb Shmuel Minkas asked, “The first Mishnah of Bava Metzia repeats some
    of its phrases twice. The Mishnah
    writes, “This person says that he
    found the garment and this person
    says that he found the garment.”
    The Mishnah says, “This one says
    that it is all mine, and this one says
    that it is all mine.”
    “My question is,” Reb Shmuel
    Minkas said in good humor, “in
    the siddur, by Hallel, there are also
    some words that are repeated. The
    Siddur writes the first words in
    large print, and the second words
    are written in smaller print. Why
    doesn’t the Mishnah do the same?
    When the phrase is repeated, it
    should be written in smaller print.”
    The melamed laughed, but he
    didn’t have an answer. Reb Shmuel Minkas said, “I will tell you the
    reason. When a person claims that
    the garment is his, he says it with
    all his heart. He really means it;
    he really wants it. Therefore, the
    words (both times) are written in
    large print. But in Hallel, when
    the words are repetitious people
    become tired and are uninspired.
    The second time, the words aren’t
    said with the same enthusiasm as
    the first time around. Therefore
    the first set of words is written in
    large letters but the second set is
    written in smaller print.”
    This problem certainly can occur when we say Hallel for eight
    consecutive days. We can lose
    the excitement and the joy, and
    it can chalilah turn into a routine.
    Therefore, we must strive to say
    the Hallel each day, with joy and
    with passion.
    Halachah states that one shouldn’t
    eat before davening Shacharis.
    There was an elderly gadol who
    was careful with this halachah. This
    was a bit of a problem because he
    davened Shacharis very late each
    day. He was old and ill and it wasn’t
    good for his health. His family
    tried to convince him to maybe
    daven earlier or to eat before
    davening because he needed it
    for his health, but he refused.
    One of his children went to his
    doctor. “Maybe you can convince our father to eat earlier?”
    The doctor spoke with the elderly man, “I have two questions: My first question is, I
    don’t understand why Yidden
    daven the very same prayer
    each day. It is disrespectful.
    Even before a human king,
    one doesn’t repeat his words
    daily. He changes his requests
    and his praises each time he
    speaks to the king. Certainly,
    one shouldn’t repeat his words
    before the King of the world.
    “My second question,” the
    doctor continued, “is why do
    you daven so late? Can’t you
    pray earlier?”
    The elderly rav replied, “Your
    questions are very good, but
    one question is the answer to
    the other one. You say that
    it’s improper to repeat the
    same exact words each day,
    and I agree with you entirely.
    Therefore, I try to have new
    intentions every day. Although
    the words are the same, I
    make certain that my meanings
    are deeper and different each day.
    Thus Hashem, who knows people’s
    thoughts, receives a brand new tefillah each day. But to do so, I need
    time to prepare. It isn’t easy to pray
    a new prayer each day. Preparation
    takes time. That is the reason why I
    daven late.”
    Reb Yankel Kojhelik zt’l came
    from Europe to live in Eretz Yisrael. He assumed that when he
    came to Eretz Yisrael he would feel
    its immense kedushah, but he was
    surprised to discover that he actually felt more spirituality in chutz
    le’aretz. He spoke with Rebbe
    Shlomke of Zvhil zt’l about this.
    The Rebbe of Zvhil explained,
    “When one carries water on his
    shoulders, it’s heavy. But when he
    goes to the mikvah, and is entirely
    immersed under the water, there’s
    a lot of water on his shoulders but
    he doesn’t feel the weight. Because
    when one is entirely immersed in
    something, he doesn’t realize what
    he’s carrying. Now that you are in
    Eretz Yisrael, totally immersed in
    the holiness, you don’t realize what
    you have.
    This is one of the reasons that
    people become less inspired with
    Hallel, Al HaNissim and with the
    hadlakas haneir of Chanukah, as
    Chanukah goes by. At first, they
    are excited and inspired but as they
    become more and more immersed
    in its holiness, they lose sight of
    all the goodness that they have. We
    should recognize that the holiness
    of Chanukah increases each day
    and we should continue to endeavor to experience its wonderful light
    and joy.