Celebrate the Festival of Lights With These Hanukkah Blessings

·2 min read

Hanukkah, also known as the Festival of Lights, may be considered a minor Jewish holiday, but it holds a special place in the hearts of many Jewish families who come together each winter to celebrate the holiday. Modern day celebrations of the holiday include giving and receiving gifts, playing with a spinning top called a dreidel, enjoying delicious holiday foods such as sufganiyot and latkes, lighting candles, and of course saying Hanukkah blessings.

These prayers are said when lighting the candles on a special candle holder commonly called a menorah, but also referred to as a hanukkiyah, which has nine candle holders. Eight of these candles represent one night of Hanukkah, and the ninth is for the shammash, which is the "helper" candle used to light all others. Candles are placed in the menorah from right to left (as Hebrew is written from right to left), and they are lit from left to right, with each new day of Hanukkah getting to be lit and celebrated first. The shammash is the only candle that's lit with a match or lighter, and once it's aflame it is used to light all other candles.

Photo credit: chameleonseye
Photo credit: chameleonseye

As you gather to celebrate the Festival of lights this year, don't forget these Hanukkah blessings. Say them in Hebrew if you're feeling super traditional, or opt for the English translation.

בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יי, אֱלוֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם, אֲשֶׁר קִידְשָׁנוּ בְּמִצוֹתָיו, וְצִיוָּנוּ לְהַדְלִיק נֵר שֶׁל חַנֻכָה

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.

בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יי, אֱלוֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם, שֶׁעָשָׂה נִסִּים לַאֲבוֹתֵינוּ, בַּיָּמִים הָהֵם בַּזְּמַן הַזֶּה

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.

On the first night of Hanukkah, you also recite the shehecheyanu, a prayer of gratitude that is said on special occasions.

בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יי, אֱלוֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם, שֶׁהֶחֱיָּנוּ, וְקִיְּמָנוּ, וְהִגִּיָּענוּ לַזְּמַן הַזֶּה

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.

This year, Hanukkah begins at sundown on November 28.

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