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Chanukah Blessings

Lighting the Candles

The most well known observance of Chanukah is lighting the chanukiyah. The reason we light the chanukiyah is known as pirsumei nisah, the idea of publicizing the miracle. Today, chanukiyot come in all shapes and sizes. Some families collect them, lighting many to share the light and joy of the holiday. No matter what your chanukiyah looks like or how many of them you might light, it should be lit in a special and specific way.

The accepted practice is to light one candle on the first night, two the second night, and so on, until the eighth night when all eight candles are lit. Each person can light their own chanukiyah if they wish. We light the chanukiyah at nightfall, once we can see stars. We are not supposed to use the Chanukah lights for anything, such as reading or lighting another fire; they are purely for being seen. On Friday, one lights the chanukiyah before lighting the Shabbat candles.

Step 1: The candles are added to the chanukiyah from right to left, as they would be seen through your window (it’s an important part of our tradition to “publicize the miracle,” so try to have your chanukiyah in view to the public).

Step 2: We kindle the Chanukah lights using the shamash—the helper candle—which is usually set higher than the rest of the candles.

Step 3: The candles should be kindled from left to right as they are viewed by the public. The newest candle is lit first. (On the Shabbat of Chanukah, kindle the Chanukah lights first and then the Shabbat candles).

First Blessing

ֶבָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְיָ, אֱלֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם, אֲשֶׁר קִדְּשָׁנוּ בְּמִצְוֹתָיו, וְצִוָּנוּ לְהַדְלִיק נֶר שֶל חֲנֻכָּה

Baruch Atah, Adonai, Eloheinu Melech ha’olam, asher kid’shanu b’mitzvotav v’tzivanu l’hadlik ner shel Chanukah.

Blessed are You, Adonai our God, Sovereign of the Universe, who hallows us with mitzvot, commanding us to kindle the Chanukah lights.

Click here to listen to the first blessing.

Second Blessing

בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְיָ, אֱלֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם, שֶׁעָשָֹה נִּסִּים לַאֲבוֹתֵינוּ וְאִמּוֹתֵינוּ בַּיָּמִים הָהֶם בַּזְּמַן הַזֶה

Baruch Atah, Adonai, Eloheinu Melech ha’olam, sheh’asah nisim la’avoteinu v’imoteinu ba’yamim ha’heim baz’man ha’zeh.

Blessed are You, Adonai our God, Sovereign of the Universe, who performed wondrous deeds for our ancestors in days of old, at this season.

Click here to listen to the second blessing.

Third Blessing

On the first night only we add a third blessing:

בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְיָ, אֱלֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם, שֶׁהֶחֱיָנוּ וְקִיּמְנוּ וְהִגִּיעָנוּ לַזְמַן הַזֶה

Baruch Atah, Adonai, Eloheinu Melech ha’olam, sheh’heh’cheh’yanu v’kiy’manu v’higianu laz’man ha’zeh.

Blessed are You, Adonai our God, Sovereign of the Universe, for giving us life, sustaining us and enabling us to reach this season.

Click here to listen to the third blessing.

Wilshire Boulevard Temple

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