December 13-20, 2017
Lighting the Hanukkah Menorah (also called the Hanukkiah) is the essential observance of the Jewish festival of Hanukkah. Hanukkah candles are lit to commemorate the the miracle of the Maccabees' victory and the miracle of the oil that burnt for eight days in the Temple.
Each of the eight nights of Hanukkah, all members of the family should gather around the Hanukkah Menorah. Before lighting the candles, the blessings below are recited.
The first two blessings are recited each night. The third, a blessing of joy traditionally recited during each Jewish festival, is recited only the first time the Hanukkah menorah is lit.
As you face the Hanukkah menorah, place the first candle on your right. Subsequent candles are added to the left. As you face the menorah, light the candles with the shamash from left to right. The newest candle is always lit first.
The first is a blessing over the candles themselves:
Baruch atah adonai, eloheinu melekh ha-olam, asher
Kidshanu b'mitzvotav v'tzivanu l'hadlik ner shel Hanukkah.
Praised are You, Adonai, Our God, Ruler of the world, who makes us holy through mitzvot and commands us to kindle the Hanukkah candles.
The second blessing expresses thanks for the "miracle" of deliverance:
Baruch atah adonai, eloheinu melekh haolam, she'asah
nissim la'avoteinu ba-yamim ha-hem baz'man ha-zeh.
Praised are You, Adonai, Our God, Ruler of the world, who did wondrous things for our people long ago at this time of year.
The third blessing is chanted only on the first night:
Baruch atah adonai, elohenu melekh ha'olam,
she-heheheyanu, v'kiy'manu, v'higiyanu laz'man ha-zeh.
Praised are You, Adonai, Our God, Ruler of the world, who has given us life, sustained us, and brought us to this season of joy.