Chanukah, a joyous celebration of family, freedom, and light, is a holiday primarily celebrated at home, beginning on the 25th day of the Hebrew month of Kislev (10 December 2020) and lasting for eight days.
At the end of what has been a dark year for many people, we celebrate by bringing light and warmth into our homes, into our communities and into the world around us. In the Talmud, the rabbis taught that the mitzvah of Chanukah, the commandment at the heart of the observance of the holiday, is a “candle for each man and his household” (the modern Progressive understanding is that this text refers to everyone, not just men). So the actual mitzvah, or commandment, of Chanukah is to kindle the Chanukah lights at home, ideally with family and friends!
Blessings are recited when lighting the candles, which are held in a nine-branched menorah (also called a chanukiyah). In some families, members of the household, including the children, light their own Chanukah menorah. Many families use the eight-day period of Hanukkah to spend time together each night.
How To Light Your Chanukah Candles
No matter whether your chanukiyah has been passed down for generations or quickly made from aluminium foil, it should be lit in this special and specific way:
Step 1: The candles are added to the chanukiyah from right to left, as they would be seen through your window.
Step 2: We kindle the Chanukah lights using the shamash—the helper candle—which is usually set apart from the rest.
Step 3: The candles should be kindled from left to right as they are viewed by the public. The newest candle is lit first.
בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְיָ אֱלֹהֵֽינוּ מֶֽלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם, אֲשֶׁר קִדְּשָֽׁנוּ בְּמִצְוֹתָיו, וְצִוָּֽנוּ לְהַדְלִיק נֵר שֶׁל חֲנֻכָּה
Baruch Atah, Adonai, Eloheinu Melech ha’olam, asher kid’shanu b’mitzvotav v’tzivanu l’hadlik ner shel Chanukah.
Praised are You, Eternal our God, Ruler of the universe, who makes us holy with mitzvot, commanding us to kindle the Chanukah lights.
בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְיָ אֱלֹהֵֽינוּ מֶֽלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם, שֶׁעָשָׂה נִסִּים לַאֲבוֹתֵֽינוּ בַּיָּמִים הָהֵם בַּזְּמַן הַזֶּה
Baruch Atah, Adonai, Eloheinu Melech ha’olam, sheh’asah nisim la’avoteinu ba’yamim ha’heim baz’man ha’zeh.
Praised are You, Eternal our God, Ruler of the universe, who performed wondrous deeds for our ancestors in days of old at this season.
Final Blessing (First Night Only)
בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְיָ אֱלֹהֵֽינוּ מֶֽלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם, שֶׁהֶחֱיָֽנוּ וְקִיְּמָֽנוּ וְהִגִּיעָֽנוּ לַזְּמַן הַזֶּה
Baruch Atah, Adonai, Eloheinu Melech ha’olam, sheh’heh’cheh’yanu v’kiy’manu v’higianu laz’man ha’zeh.
Praised are You, Eternal our God, Ruler of the universe, who has kept us alive, sustained us, and brought us to this season.