The following is a brief summary of some of thoughts said over by R' Frand on Chanukah tonight. I have attempted to reproduce these vorts to the best of my ability. Any perceived inconsistency is the result of my efforts to transcribe the shiur and should not be attributed to R' Frand.
Although this was the "derush" section of tonight's shiur, Rabbi Frand started the vort by quoting the Shulchan Aruch (O'H 287) in which it is written that a person who benches and forgets to say Al Hanissim in its proper place can say it in the Harachaman section with the prefatory phrase Harachaman Hu Ya'aseh Nissim...
R' Frand quoted R' Yeruchum Olshan (sp?) who asked two questions about this halacha. The first question was ---don't we have a general principle that we don't ask Hashem to perform a miracle? This is based on a Gemara in Berachos which states that if a man knows his wife is pregnant he should not pray that she have a boy because its already been determined what gender the baby will be. The Gemara then asks, but what about Leah? She knew that she was carrying a boy, but she also had a nevu'ah that Ya'akov would only have 12 sons and if she had this boy, Rachel would only have one boy. So Leah prayed that the child would be a girl and the fetus she was carrying switched with the fetus that Rachel was carrying and became Dina. The Gemara answers this question by saying --we don't daven for miracles.
So with this rather long introduction --how can we say a Harachaman that Hashem should make a miracle?
The second question was based on a Mishna in Pirkei Avos which lists the ten daily mitzvos in the Beis Hamikdash, including such open miracles that the fires on the altar were never extinguished by the rain, even though the area was open to the heavens. R' Olshan asked --with all these great miracles, why is the fact that they found a flask of oil such a major event that we make a holiday out of it?
R' Frand answered the questions by explaining that there are two forms of miracles. There are miracles which have been imprinted into the DNA of the world, such as the splitting of the Yam Suf or the falling of the Manna. These were events that Hashem had designed and it is not for us to pray that Hashem performs the miracle.
But there are also miracles which Hashem performs for people who are Moser Nefesh, people who take exceptional steps and Hashem rewards them by changing something for them.
The miracles in the Beis Hamikdash were imprinted miracles which Hashem had designed the world to allow. But the miracle of finding the oil came as a result of the incredible acts of the Maccabees who left behind their studies and fearlessly fought the Yevanim. R' Frand quoted the Bach on Hilchos Chanukah who said that the Yevanim knew that if they could interfere with the lighting of the Menorah they could (C'vs) end the Jewish People. The Maccabees who were nor military men, left the beis medrash and went out to fight them, against incredible odds. These same men were the descendants of Aharon and part of the tradition of being moser nefesh to light the Menorah as a personal nedavah.
Since they men were moser nefesh, Hashem made a miracle for them and allowed them to find the oil. This is the message of Chanukah and why we say the Harachaman. If we can be moser nefesh, Hashem can make miracles for us. Understanding the miracle of Chanukah allows us to see that if we can stand up and try do more, Hashem will help us.
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