Lighting the Hanukkiah (Hanukkah Menorah) is the highlight of the Hanukkah celebration. The Menorah is lit every night during the week-long celebration of Hanukkah. This ritual is done to commemorate the ancient Jews’ victory and the miracle of the oil that burned for eight days in the temple.
All family members should be present when lighting the Menorah. Before lighting the candles, family recite the Hanukkah Brachos (blessings). The first two blessings should be recited each night. The third blessing is recited on the first night of the candle lighting ceremony.
- Gather everyone around the Hanukkah Menorah. On the first night, recite the Sheheyanu blessing. Sheheyanu is a Jewish prayer said in celebrating special occasions. This blessing is recited on the first night only. (Baruch ata Ado-nai, Elo- Heinu Melech ha’olam. She’hecheyanu vekiyemanu vehigi’anu laz’man hazeh.) English translation: Blessed are You Lord our God, King of the Universe, who has kept us alive, and has preserved us, and allowed us to reach this season.
- Light the Shamash (helper candle) on the first night of Hanukkah blessing. This candle will be used to light the rest of the candles starting from left to right. (Baruch ata Adonai, Eloheinu Melch Ha’olam asher kidishanu b’mitz’votav v’tsivanu l’hadlik neir shel Chanukah.) English translation: Blessed are, Lord our God, King of the Universe, who has sanctified us by his commandments, and has commanded us to kindle the lights of Hanukkah.
- Recite the second blessing before lighting the first Menorah candle. (Baruch atah Adonai, Eloheinu, melech ha’olam she’asah nisim la’avoteinu bayamim haheim baziman hazeh.) English translation: Blessed are you, Lord our God, King of the Universe, who performed miracles for our ancestors in those days at this time.
- If necessary, say the blessings in English as some of the people present during the ceremony may not understand Hebrew.
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