How to Light the Hanukkah Menorah

The traditional blessings and procedures for lighting the Hanukkah candles.

As with all other Jewish rituals, the lighting of Hanukkah candles goes according to a specific order and has blessings that accompany it.

On the first of Hanukkah’s eight nights, only two candles are placed in the Hanukkah menorah (also known as a hanukkiah): the shammash, or “helper” candle, which has its own designated spot (usually in the center), and another candle. Each night, another candle is added so that on the eighth and final night of Hanukkah, nine candles (the shammash plus eight others) are lit.

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The candles are placed in the menorah from right to left (just as Hebrew is written from right to left), but are lit from left to right. The shammash candle is always the first one lit, and is used to light the others, starting with the left-most one. (Think of it as lighting the candle representing the newest night first.)

Before lighting the candles (but after placing them in the menorah), we recite three blessings.

ברוך אתה יי, אלוהינו מלך העולם, אשר קידשנו במצוותיו, וציוונו להדליק נר של חנוכה

Baruch atah, Adonai Eloheinu, Melech haolam, asher kid’shanu b’mitzvotav v’tsivanu l’hadlik ner shel Hanukkah.

Praised are You,
Our God, Ruler of the universe,
Who made us holy through Your commandments
and commanded us
to kindle the Hanukkah lights.

 

ברוך אתה יי, אלוהינו מלך העולם, שעשה נסים לאבותינו, בימים ההם בזמן הזה

Baruch atah, Adonai Eloheinu, Melech haolam, she-asah nisim la’avoteinu bayamim hahem bazman hazeh.

Praised are You,
Our God, Ruler of the universe,
Who performed wondrous deeds for our ancestors
in those ancient days
at this season.

(First Night Only):

ברוך אתה יי, אלוהינו מלך העולם, שהחיינו, וקיימנו, והגענו לזמן הזה

Baruch atah adonai elohenu melech ha’olam, shehecheyanu, v’kiyimanu, v’higiyanu lazman hazeh

Praised are You, Our God, Ruler of the universe, Who has given us life and sustained us and enabled us to reach this season.

 

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