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How to Light

In order to light the lights for Chanukah, you don’t even need a Menorah! Obviously it is great to have one, but if not, arrange a total of eight candles or cups of oil (with wicks) in a row, plus an additional one to serve as the “Shamash.” The Shamash is the only one used to light other lights, and should be placed higher, lower, or off to the side of the others. Your Menorah or set of lights should be placed near a window visible from the street, or on a table.

On the first night, you prepare and light only the right-most light of the eight. On the second, you prepare the right-most two lights, and light them from left to right. Each night you light the newly-added light, and proceed to the right.

There are three Brachos (blessings) which are recited prior to lighting the Chanukah candles.

  1. “Baruch ata Ado-nai, Elo-heinu Melech ha’olam, Asher kid’shanu b’mitzvosav v’tzivanu l’hadlik ner shel Chanukah”Blessed are You, Hashem our G-d, King of the universe, Who has sanctified us with His commandments, and has commanded us to Kindle the Chanukah light.

  1. “Baruch ata Ado-nai, Elo-heinu Melech ha’olam, She’asah nisim la’avoseinu, bayamim ha’hem baz’man hazeh”Blessed are You, Hashem our G-d, King of the universe, Who has wrought miracles for our forefathers, in those days at this season.

  1. Recited on the first night only
    “Baruch ata Ado-nai, Elo-heinu Melech ha’olam, She’hecheyanu, vekiyemanu vehigi’anu laz’man hazeh”Blessed are You, Hashem our G-d, King of the universe, Who has kept us alive, sustained us, and brought us to this season.

After reciting the blessings and lighting the candles, the following paragraphs should recited or sung. It is customary to begin saying the first of these after lighting the first light to the point that it is burning on its own, while (on the second and other nights) lighting the remaining lights.

“Ha’Neiros halalu anachnu madlikin al hanisim ve’al hanifla’os, ve’al hat’shu’os ve’al hamilchamos, sh’asisa la’avoseinu bayamim hahem baz’man hazeh, al yedei kohaneicha hakedoshim. Vechol sh’monas yemei Chanukah, haneiros halalu kodesh hem. Ve’ein lanu reshus le’hishtamesh ba’hem, eh’la lir’osam bilvad, ke’dei le’hodos u’lehalel leshimcha hagadol al nisecha ve’al nifle’osecha ve’al yeshu’oshecha.”

These lights we kindle upon the miracles, the wonders, the salvations, and the battles which you performed for our forefathers in those days at this season through Your holy priests. During all eight days of Chanukah these lights are sacred, and we are not permitted to make ordinary use of them, but to look at them in order to express thanks and praise to Your great Name for Your miracles, Your wonders and Your salvations.

“Ma’oz tzur yeshu’asi
Lecha na’eh leshabe’ach
Tikone bais tefilasi
Ve’sham todah nezabe’ach
Le’es Tachin Mabe’ach
Mitzar ham’nabe’ach
Az egmor beshir mizmor
Chanukas hamizbe’ach.”

O mighty Rock of my salvation,
to praise You is a delight.
Restore my house of prayer
and there we will bring a thanksgiving offering.
When You will have prepared the slaughter
for the blaspheming foe,
Then I shall complete with a song of hymn
the dedication of the Alter.

Understanding Chanukah

Chanukah was not merely a physical or political victory. It was a victory of light over darkness.

How to Light

Our Quick, Easy, and Complete Guide to Lighting the Menorah like a Pro.

Chanukah Perspectives

A wide variety of perspectives into the depth and meaning of this monumental holiday.