Why do we mention the idea of רשעים ביד צדיקים, the wicked falling into the hands of the righteous, in Al Hanisim? Isn’t the real miracle that it was רבים ביד מעטים, a multitude falling into the hands of the few?
Now pay attention. Two things are said in Al Hanisim. One is the neis of רבים ביד מעטים, the miracle of a multitude falling into the hands of the few. That’s one miracle. After all, the Greeks had a big and strong army and the Jews didn’t have any army at all. That’s one neis — the miracle of גבורים ביד חלשים and רבים ביד מעטים, the strong into the hands of the weak and the many into the hands of the few. That’s a big neis after all.
But the second neis is not only that the resha’im were defeated, but the added simcha, the added happiness, that they were defeated by tzadikim. And that’s why we go out of our way to say רשעים ביד צדיקים. The wicked were defeated by the righteous! A tremendous kiddush Hashem!
Look, when a rasha is walking in the street and he falls down dead, so we say “Boruch Hashem.” We say, “Boruch Hashem, kein yirbu!” But suppose a rasha would start up with a tzadik; he starts up with a chassidishe boy, a skinny little chassidishe boy. And this little boy takes his little fist and he gives the rasha a hit, and the rasha falls down dead. That’s a kiddush Hashem, no question about it! It’s רשעים ביד צדיקים, the wicked one was felled by the righteous one! That itself is a special simcha!
So, one is the neis of רבים ביד מעטים, the many falling into the hands of the few; but the other is a neis that the tzadikim had their hatzlacha, their success. We want to see tzadikim have hatzlacha in this world! And therefore we say זדים ביד עוסקי תורתיך, the wicked sinners fell into the hands of those who study Your Torah. Because it’s a great happiness to see the righteous win out in this world.
TAPE # E-211 (December 1999)