The Hanukkah Blessings

Prayers said 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.

When is Hanukkah 2019? Click here to find out!

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.

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.

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

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

3. (First Night Only): 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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