Maoz Tzur Made “More Relevant” – to Include Yishmoel


olive-oil-menorahWith inspiration from the authors of Maoz Tzur hundreds of years ago, some have taken up the custom of adding a stanza to the popular Chanukah song to make it more relevant – including a prayer for Hashem to save us from Yishmoel.

Maoz Tzur has six stanzas thanking Hashem for delivering us from various enemies such as Mitzrayim, Bavel, Poras and Yavan. In recent centuries, however, some have decided to add another stanza, asking for redemption from Yishmoel as well.

Each of the first five stanzas begins with a letter of the name of the author, Mordechai. The last stanza was apparently written by someone else, and is a tefillah for redemption from Edom, Rome. The Rama in the 16th-century added yet another stanza, praying for deliverance from a future adversary, the descendants of Yishmoel. The passage, however, is not so well known and is preserved in only a few works, including the Shelah. Some have now made this portion more well known.

The extra stanza reads:

 מעולם היית ישעי

כבודי ומרים ראשי

שמע נא קול שַועי

מלכי, אלו-הי, קדושי.

העבר חטאי ופשעי

גם בגלות הרביעי

חזק ישראל ותכניע ישמעאל

ומאדום תפדה נפשי

Thou were forever my salvation, my honor, and that which keeps my head held high.
Hear, please, the sound of my plea, O my King, my G-d, my holiness
Pass over my sins and iniquities, in the fourth exile as well
Strengthen Yisroel, subdue Yishmoel, and from Edom redeem my soul.

{Yair Israel}


  1. To 3: this is adding, not changing, and to a zemer, not Torah Moshe miSinai. (Albeit adding by men of high caliber.)
    That said, I would advise listening to Rabbi Reisman’s navi shiur from last week before getting too creative.

  2. #1, Excellent idea! (However, it is probably included and alluded to in the words of the Zemer)

    #3, The Rama Hakadosh wrote this, it is not adding anything. Whatever he wrote is obviously Toras HaShem.