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Chanukkah

Happy Chanukkah!

For a selection of Chanukkah recipes, click here!

The following blessings and instructions are provided so that you can celebrate this wonderful holiday at home! The Chanukkah candelabra is called a Chanukkia. There are spaces for a total of 9 candles. One is generally set apart from the rest. This is called the shamash candle, which means “servant.” This candle is used to light ALL of the other candles.

In this chanukkiah, the shamash is the tall one in the center. On the first night, one candle is lit. This is, of course, in addition to the shamash.

There is a specific order that the candles should be placed in the chanukkiah, and a specific order in which they should be lit. For a cute instructional video, take a look at this! It is only about a minute and a half long, but shows you everything you need to know about lighting the chanukkiah. The blessings that they mention are below.

The shamash candle is lit every night of Hanukkah in order to light all the other candles. On the FIRST NIGHT, the following three blessings are recited immediately AFTER lighting the shamash candle, BEFORE lighting any of the others. On ALL OTHER NIGHTS only the first two are recited. It is typically recited by the male head of the house, unlike the Shabbat candles which are typically recited by the female head of the house.

Baruch atah Adonai, Eloheinu melech ha-olam, asher kidshanu b’mitz-votav, v’tzivanu l’hadlik nayr shel chanukkah.

Blessed are you, O Lord, our God, King of the Universe, Who has sanctified us by His commandments, and commanded us to kindle the light of Chanukkah.

Baruch atah Adonai, Eloheinu melech ha-olam, she-asah nisim la-avoteinu, bai-yamim ha-haym bazman ha-zeh.

Blessed are You, O Lord, our God, King of the Universe, Who made miracles for our forefathers in those days in this season.

(Remember, this one is only recited on the first night!)

Baruch atah Adonai, Eloheinu melech ha-olam, she-heh-chi-yanu v’ki-y’manu v’higiyanu laz-man ha-zeh.

Blessed are You, O Lord, our God, King of the Universe, Who has kept us alive and sustained us and privileged us to reach this season.

Once the shamash has been lit, and the opening blessings have been recited, the other candles need to be lit, one for each night of Chanukkah. The following blessing is recited WHILE the other candles are being lit.

Ha-nayrot ha-lalu anachnu madlikin al ha-nisim, v’al ha-nif-la-ot, v’al ha-t’shu-ot v’al ha-mil-chamot, she-asitah la-avoteinu bai-yamim ha-haym ba-z’man ha-zeh, al y’day cohanecha ha-k’doshim. V’chol sh’monat y’may chanukkah, ha-nayrot ha-lalu kodesh haym. V’ayn lanu r’shoot l’hish-ta-maysh ba-hem, elah lir-otam bi-l’vad, k’day l’hodot u-l’haleyl l’shim-cha ha-gadol al nisecha v’al nif-l’otecha v’al y’shuatecha.

These lights we kindle for the miracles, and for the wonders, and for the salvations, and for the battles, which were done for our forefathers in those days in this season, through the hands of Your holy priests. And all eight days of Chanukkah, these lights, they are sacred. And we are given no permission to make personal use of them, but to look at them only, in order to thank and to praise to Your great name for Your miracles and for Your wonders and for Your salvation.

AFTER all the candles have been lit for the night, Maoz Tzur is recited. It is a beautiful poem in the Hebrew, with rhyming and everything! In the English, it is a tribute to the glory of God, and His ability to restore what has been made unclean. That is the whole theme of this holiday, God is able to take the unclean and make it clean. And He does it through Yeshua.

Maoz tzur y’shuati l’cha na-eh l’sha-bayach, Tikon bayt t’fillati v’sham todah n’za-bayach, L’ayt ta-chin ma-t’bayach mi-tzar ha-m’na-bayach, Oz eg-mor b’shir miz-mor chanukkat ha-miz-bayach.

O stronghold, Rock of my salvation, to You it is proper to praise,
Restore the house of my prayer, and there thanks we will bring,
At the time when you will prepare the slaughter of the foe who is bellowing,
Then I shall complete with a song of a hymn the dedication of the altar.

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