Hanukkah blessing

Hanukkah Blessings: Learn the 3 Hanukkah Prayers

Hanukkah Blessings: Chant Before Lighting the Candles

One of the most important Hanukkah rituals is to recite the Hanukkah blessings and light the candles on the menorah. We say three blessings on the first night and only two blessings — the first and second blessing — for the following seven nights. There is a chant for each of these blessings (#1 and #2 start with the exact same melody) but it is also completely acceptable to simply speak the words of each Hanukkah blessing.

Place the candles in the menorah from right to left. You will always have one extra candle for each night of Hanukkah. For example, on the first night you will have two candles, the second night you will have three candles, etc. That’s because we light the candles with the shamash, or helper candle, which usually sits higher than the rest of the candles and is typically in the center of the menorah.

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

Hanukkah prayer

Hanukkah Blessings #1: Blessing Over the Candles

The first blessing — which is sung for all eight nights of Hanukkah — is the blessing over the Hanukkah candles. It is the exact same blessing as the candle blessing we say weekly on Shabbat, except for the last word. Instead of saying shel Shabbat, we say shel Hanukkah.

בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְיָ אֱלֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם, אֲשֶׁר קִדְּשָׁנוּ בְּמִצְוֹתָיו וְצִוָּנוּ לְהַדְלִיק נֵר שֶׁל חֲנֻכָּה

TRANSLITERATION

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

TRANSLITERATION #2: BMA STYLE

BAH-rOOch AH-tAH AH-dOH-nEYE EH-LOH-hAY-nOO MEH-LEHch HA-OH-LAHm AH-shEHr KEEd-shAH-nOO BEH-mEEtz-vOH-tAHv V-tzEE-vAH-nOO L-hAHd-LEEk NAYr ShEHL ChAH-nOO-kAH

TRANSLATION

Blessed are You, Adonai our God, Ruler of the Universe, who makes us holy with your commandments, commanding us to kindle (light) the Hanukkah lights.

Listen to Hanukkah Blessing #1 Chant

An In-Depth Explanation of How to Say Hanukkah Blessing #1

Hanukkah Blessings #2: Blessing about Miracles

We say Hanukkah blessing #2 directly after we finish blessing #1 and before we light the Hanukkah candles on the menorah. This blessing starts off with the traditional “Baruch Atah Adonai Eloheinu Melech Ha’olam” intro, but quickly gets into some more challenging Hebrew words.

בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְיָ אֱלֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם, שֶׁעָשָׂה נִסִּים לַאֲבוֹתֵינוּ וְאִמוֹתֵינוּ בַּיָּמִים הָהֵם בַּזְּמַן הַזֶּה

TRANSLITERATION
Baruch atah Adonai, Eloheinu melech haolam, she-asah nisim laavoteinu v’imoteinu bayamim hahaeim baz’man hazeh

TRANSLITERATION #2: BMA STYLE
BAH-rOOch AH-tAH AH-dOH-nEYE EH-LOH-hAY-nOO MEH-LEHch HA-OH-LAHm ShEH-AH-sAH NEE-sEEm LAH-AH-vOH-tAY-nOO V-EE-mOH-tAY-nOO Bye-yAH-mEEm HAH-chAYm BAHz-mAHn HAH-zEH
 
TRANSLATION
Blessed are You, Adonai our God, Ruler of the Universe, who performed wondrous deeds for our ancestors in those ancient days at this season.

Listen to Hanukkah Blessing #2 Chant

An In-Depth Explanation of How to Say Hanukkah Blessing #2

Hanukkah Blessings #3: Shehecheyanu

(aka First Night of Hanukkah Prayer)

Why do we say an additional prayer, the Shehecheyanu, on the first night of Hanukkah? The Shehecheyanu is a blessing of firsts. We recite this particular blessing the first time we do something in the Jewish calendar year and to celebrate special occasions. In this case, we recite the Shechecheyanu the first night we light the Chanukah candles on the menorah.

בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְיָ אֱלֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם, שֶׁהֶחֱיָנוּ וְקִיְּמָנוּ וְהִגִּיעָנוּ לַזְּמַן הַזֶּה

TRANSLITERATION

Baruch atah Adonai, Eloheinu melech haolam, shehecheyanu v’kiy’manu v’higiyanu laz’man hazeh

TRANSLITERATION #2: BMA STYLE

BAH-rOOch AH-tAH AH-dOH-nEYE EH-LOH-hAY-nOO MEH-LEHch HA-OH-LAHm ShEH-hEH-chEH-yAH-nOO VEH-kEEy-mAH-nOO VEH-hEE-gEE-AH-nOO LAHz-mAHn HAH-zEH

TRANSLATION

Blessed are You, Adonai our God, Ruler of the Universe, who has kept us alive, sustained us, and brought us to this season.

Listen to Shehecheyanu Chant

An In-Depth Explanation of How to Say the Shehecheyanu

Download Hanukkah Blessings PDF – Printable

Hanukkah candles burning

Once you recite the blessings for Hanukkah, you can go ahead and light the candles. The candles are placed in the menorah from right to left but are lit from left to right. The shamash candle is always the first one lit, and is used to light the others, starting with the left-most one. Essentially, you are lighting the candle representing the newest night first.

One of my favorite Hanukkah pastimes is to turn off all of the lights in the house and silently watch as the candles burn out one by one. Not only is it incredibly peaceful, but it is really beautiful to watch. Each candle does so in its own unique fashion. Give it a good half hour or so, but once you notice that the candles have burned about three quarters of the way down, come back to where the menorah is lit and watch them burn. If you are with other family members or friends, it is fun to make a game out of it; each person takes a guess at which candle will last the longest.

Next up? It’s time for a Hanukkah game. Learn how to play dreidel and get your spin on!

Are you interested in more content? Check out the other posts on my blog!

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