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Hanukkah Blessings

A Chanukiyá has eight arms in a straight row of equal height. The shamash (auxiliary candle), used to light Chanukiyá, is placed higher or apart from the others. A Chanukiyá that runs on electricity can be used as a Chanukah decoration, but it does not fulfill the mitzvah (connection with G-d) of lighting Chanukiyá.

Part of the mitzvah of Chanukah is the publicizing of the miracle of Chanukah, so we place the Chanukiyah in the doorway opposite the mezuzah, or in a window, clearly visible from the outside. Candles may be used, but because of their role in the Chanukah miracle, an olive oil Chanukiyah is especially meaningful.

On the first night of Chanukah, gather the family for the lighting of Chanukiyá. Before lighting, recite the victory won. Use the shamash to light the first candle, on the far right of Chanukiyá.

On the second night, light an additional candle to the left of the candle lit the night before. Repeat the same process each night of Hanukkah, where the candle to be lit is always the new one, proceeding from left to right. The candles must burn for at least half an hour.

If a candle goes out during the period in which it should be burning, it must be relit. The following night, the remaining wicks and oil can be reused.

The light of chanukiyá is sacred and cannot be used for any other purpose, such as reading or work.

Lighting on the eve and after Shabbat

On Friday afternoon, we lit the Hanukkah candles just before the Shabbat candles. (On Shabbat, the sacred day of privacy, it is forbidden to burn a flame). The chanukiyá cannot be touched or removed after it is lit on Friday until Saturday after dark. On Saturday, Hanukkah candles are lit only after the end of Shabbat, after a Havdalah prayer is recited.

Two blessings are recited as the Hanukkah candles are lit. On the first night, the shehecheyanu blessing is said as well (see below).

On the first night of Chanukah, one light is kindled on the right side of the menorah. On the following night add a second light to the left of the first, and kindle the new light first, proceeding from left to right, and so on each night.


Blessing for lighting the candles

בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה ה', אֱ-לֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם, אֲשֶׁר קִדְּשָׁנוּ בְּמִצְוֹתָיו, וְצִוָּנוּ לְהַדְלִיק נֵר חֲנֻכָּה.‬

Transliteration: Barukh ata Adonai Eloheinu, melekh ha'olam, asher kid'shanu b'mitzvotav v'tzivanu l'hadlik ner shel Hanukkah.

Translation: "Blessed are You, LORD our God, King of the universe, Who has sanctified us with His commandments and commanded us to kindle the Hanukkah light[s]."

Blessing for the miracles of Hanukkah

בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה ה' אֱ-לֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם, שֶׁעָשָׂה נִסִּים לַאֲבוֹתֵֽינוּ בַּיָּמִים הָהֵם בַּזְּמַן הַזֶּה.‬

Transliteration: Barukh ata Adonai Eloheinu, melekh ha'olam, she'asa nisim la'avoteinu ba'yamim ha'heim ba'z'man ha'ze.

Translation: "Blessed are You, LORD our God, King of the universe, Who performed miracles for our ancestors in those days at this time..."

For first night only:

בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה, יְיָ אֱלֹהֵינוּ, מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם, שֶׁהֶחֱיָנוּ וְקִיְּמָנוּ וְהִגִּיעָנוּ לַזְּמַן הַזֶּה.

Transliteration: Baruch atah, Adonai Eloheinu, Melech haolam, shehecheyanu v'kiy'manu v'higiyanu laz'man hazeh. 

Translation: Blessed are You, Adonai our God, Sovereign of all, who has kept us alive, sustained us, and brought us to this season.


Chag Chanukah Sameach!

Rabbi Ovadia Tank 

Mon, April 22 2024 14 Nisan 5784