Chanukkah Candle Lighting Blessings

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Candles are normally lit after it is dark outside at night, to make them most visible. On Shabbat, however, they are lit shortly before the Shabbat candles. They are normally placed on the windowsill so they can be seen by people passing by, but you can put them in another location if this would not be safe for children or pets. The candles should be large enough to burn for at least half an hour. On Shabbat, however, the candles should be large enough to burn until at least a half an hour after dark, about 90 minutes after lighing before sunset.

One candle is added to the menorah each night. The first night, you light only the shammus (the one at a different height) and one Chanukkah candle. By the eighth night, you light all of the candles.

Candlelighting Procedure Candles should be added to the menorah from right to left (like Hebrew writing). See animation at right. The shammus candle is lit first. While holding the shammus candle, recite the following blessings. They are usually sung.

If you would like to hear the blessings sung, check out the MP3 recording on SiddurAudio.com. The recording is designed for educational purposes, and is chanted at a very moderate pace with very clear enunciation. Siddur Audio and its sister site, Haftorah Audio are great sources for learning the melodies of Jewish liturgy. (They are not associated with this website).

Blessing over Candles

This is the same blessing that is recited every Shabbat and on many holidays. Only the name of the holiday changes.

Light the shammus candle first, then recite the blessings while holding the candle. Do not light the other candles until the blessings are done!

Barukh atah Adonai
Blessed are you, Lord
Eloheinu, melekh ha'olam
our God, sovereign of the universe
asher kidishanu b'mitz'votav
Who has sanctified us with His commandments
v'tzivanu l'had'lik neir
and commanded us to light the lights
shel Chanukkah. (Amein)
of Channukah. (Amen)

Blessing for the Chanukkah Miracle

Barukh atah Adonai
Blessed are you, Lord
Eloheinu, melekh ha'olam
our God, sovereign of the universe
she'asah nisim la'avoteinu
who performed miracles for our ancestors
bayamim haheim baziman hazeh. (Amein)
in those days at this time (Amen)

Shehecheyanu (Who Has Kept Us Alive)

This blessing is recited only on the first night of Chanukkah, as it is recited on the first night of all holidays. It is a standard blessing for the first time something happens in a long time, thanking God for allowing us to experience this thing again.

Barukh atah Adonai
Blessed are you, Lord
Eloheinu, melekh ha'olam
our God, sovereign of the universe
shehecheyanu v'kiyimanu, v'higi'anu
who has kept us alive, sustained us, and enabled us
laz'man hazeh. (Amein)
to reach this season (Amen)

Lighting the Candles

After reciting the blessings, use the shammus to light the Chanukkah candles from left to right (newest to oldest). See animation at top.

Candles should be left burning until they go out on their own. They must burn for more than half an hour. Standard Chanukkah candles burn for about an hour.


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