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Hanukkah Menorah and BlessingsThe Hanukkah Menorah and Hanukkah Blessings — Download this resource HERE

Learn more about HANUKKAH
the Jewish holiday of HERE.

The Hanukkah Menorah
and Hanukkah Blessings

An eight branched candelabrum

The Hanukkah menorah (also called, Hanukiah pron. ha-noo-ki-yah) is an eight branched candelabrum used during the eight day celebration of Hanukkah which begins on Kislev 25th each year. The Hanukiah carries an additional (ninth) candle called the shamash1 which is separated on the menorah from the eight Hanukkah candles. The shamash is not one of the Hanukkah lights; its purpose is to light the Hanukkah lights and to provide additional light as a “service” candle since the Hanukkah lights themselves are not meant to be “used” but to display the miracle of Hanukkah [see Hanukkah]. According to the Talmud, it is prohibited to use the Hanukkah lights for anything except to publicize the miracle [of Hanukkah] or for meditation (Shab. 21b–23a). For this reason the Hanukkah menorah is usually placed in a prominent place for all to see, for example, in a window of a home or a public place.

The menorah lights are lit in the order of the days of Hanukkah. On Day 1 only one candle is lit, on Day 2 a second candle is lit making a total of two Hanukkah lights, on Day 3 the third candle is lit etc. The candles are arranged in the menorah from the right to left; each additional candle is lit, however, in the order left to right so that the candle for the Day is the first to be lit, followed by the other candles on its right.

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Lighting the Hanukkah menorah

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Hanukkah blessings

The kindling of the Hanukkah lights is accompanied each evening by the recitation of blessings. On the first evening an additional blessing, the Shehechiyanu (“Who has given us life”), is recited.

The Blessings ~ בֵּרַכוֹת לֵחֲנוּכָּה

Shehechiyanu LISTEN [Source. Virtual Cantor opens virtualcantor.com]
English:
Blessed are You, Lord our God, Sovereign of the universe, who has kept us alive, and sustained us, and enabled us to reach this moment.
Transliteration: Baruch Atah Adonai Eloheinu Melech Ha-olam Shehehchiyahnu vekiyamanu vehegianu lazman ha-zeh.
Hebrew: בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְיָ אֱלֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הַעוֹלָם שֶׁהֶחֱיָנוּ וְקִיְּמָנוּ וְהִגִּיעָנוּ לַזְּמַן הַזֶּה

Blessing 1 [LISTEN to Blessing 1] [Source. Virtual Cantor opens virtualcantor.com]
English: Blessed are You, Lord our God, Ruler of the universe, who has sanctified us with Your commandments, and has commanded us to kindle the lights of Hanukkah.
Transliteration: Baruch atah Adonai, Eloheinu Melech Ha-Olam, asher kiddeshanu b’mitzvotav, vitzivanu, lehadlik ner shel Hanukkah.
Hebrew: בָּרוּךְ אַתָה יי אֶלוֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הַעוֹלָם אֲשֶר קִדְשָנוּ בֵּמִצְווֹתַיו וְצִיוַונוּ לֵהַדְלִיק נֵר שֶל חֲנוּכָּה

Blessing 2 [LISTEN to Blessing 2] [Source. Virtual Cantor]
English: Blessed are you, Lord our God, Ruler of the universe, who wrought miracles for our fathers in days of old, at this season.
Transliteration: Baruch atah Adonai, Eloheinu Melech Ha-Olam, she-asah nissim la-avotaynu bayamim ha-hem bazman hazeh.
Hebrew: בָּרוּךְ אַתָה יי אֶלוֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הַעוֹלָם שֵעָשָׂה נִיסִים לַאֲבוֹתֵינוּ בַּיָמִים הַהֵם בַּזְמָן הַזֶה

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Maoz Tzur [מעוז צור]. Traditionally sung after the candles are kindled Maoz Tzur (Rock of Ages) is a liturgical piyyut (poem) usually sung on the holiday of Hanukkah. Maoz Tzur has six stanzas, the first expressing exilic Israel's messianic hopes for the re-establishment of the Temple in Jerusalem, and the other five relating to events in Jewish history. Stanza Five and Stanza One relate directly to Hanukkah. Little is known of the author except that his name was Mordechai [his name is signed as an acrostic in the first five verses.] Maoz Tzur was most likely written in the 13-14th Century in Western Europe. The popular melody is probably a German folksong since it is preserved in both Jewish and Christian provenances.

Maoz Tzur ~ מעוז צור
[LISTEN]

מָעוֹז צוּר יְשׁוּעָתִי, לְךָ נָאֶה לְשַׁבֵּחַ
תִּכּוֹן בֵּית תְּפִלָּתִי, וְשָׁם תּוֹדָה נְזַבֵּחַ.
לְעֵת תָּכִין מַטְבֵּחַ מִצָּר הַמְנַבֵּחַ.
אָז אֶגְמוֹר בְּשִׁיר מִזְמוֹר חֲנֻכַּת הַמִּזְבֵּחַ.

Ma'oz Tzur Yeshu'ati, lekha na'eh leshabe'ah.
Tikon beit tefilati, vesham toda nezabe'ah.
Le'et takhin matbe'ah mitzar hamnabe'ah.
Az egmor beshir mizmor hanukat hamizbe'ah
.

Literal translation:
O mighty stronghold of my salvation,
to praise You is a delight.
Restore my House of Prayer and there
we will bring a thanksgiving offering.
When You will have prepared the slaughter for the blaspheming foe,
Then I shall complete with a song of hymn
the dedication of the Altar.

רָעוֹת שָׂבְעָה נַפְשִׁי, בְּיָגוֹן כֹּחִי כָּלָה
חַיַּי מֵרְרוּ בְקֹשִׁי, בְּשִׁעְבּוּד מַלְכוּת עֶגְלָה
וּבְיָדוֹ הַגְּדוֹלָה הוֹצִיא אֶת הַסְּגֻלָּה
חֵיל פַּרְעֹה וְכָל זַרְעוֹ יָרְדוּ כְּאֶבֶן בִּמְצוּלָה.

Ra'ot sav'ah nafshi, byagon kohi kala.
Hayai mareru bkoshi, beshi'abud malkhut egla.
Uvyado hagdola hotzi et hasgula.
Heil par'o vekhol zar'o yardu ke'even bimtzula.

Literal translation:
My soul was sated with misery,
my strength was spent with grief.
They embittered my life with hardship,
when enslaved under the rule of Egypt.
But God with his mighty power
brought out His treasured people;
While Pharaoh's host and followers
sank like a stone into the deep.

דְּבִיר קָדְשׁוֹ הֱבִיאַנִי, וְגַם שָׁם לֹא שָׁקַטְתִּי
וּבָא נוֹגֵשׂ וְהִגְלַנִי, כִּי זָרִים עָבַדְתִּי
וְיֵין רַעַל מָסַכְתִּי, כִּמְעַט שֶׁעָבַרְתִּי
קֵץ בָּבֶל זְרֻבָּבֶל, לְקֵץ שִׁבְעִים נוֹשַׁעְתִּי.

Dvir kodsho hevi'ani, vegam sham lo shakateti.
Uva noges vehiglani, ki zarim avadti.
Vyein ra'al masakhti, kim'at she'avarti.
Ketz Bavel Zerubavel, leketz shiv'im nosha'ati.

Literal translation:
He brought me to His holy abode;
even there, I found no rest.
The oppressor came and exiled me,
because I served strange gods,
and drank poisonous wine.
Yet scarcely had I gone into exile,
When Babylon fell and Zerubabel took charge;
within seventy years I was saved.

כְּרוֹת קוֹמַת בְּרוֹשׁ בִּקֵּשׁ, אֲגָגִי בֶּן הַמְּדָתָא
וְנִהְיָתָה לוֹ לְפַח וּלְמוֹקֵשׁ, וְגַאֲוָתוֹ נִשְׁבָּתָה
רֹאשׁ יְמִינִי נִשֵּׂאתָ, וְאוֹיֵב שְׁמוֹ מָחִיתָ
רֹב בָּנָיו וְקִנְיָנָיו עַל הָעֵץ תָּלִיתָ.

Krot komat brosh bikesh, Agagi ben Hamdatah. Venihiyeta lo lefah ulemokesh, vega'avato nishbata. Rosh yemini niseta, ve'oyev shmo mahita. Rov banav vekinyanav al ha'etz talita.

Literal translation:
The Agagite, son of Hammedatha,
plotted to cut down the lofty fir tree;
But is proved a snare to him,
and his insolence was silenced.
You raised the head of the Benjamite,
but the enemy's name You blotted out.
His numerous sons and his household
You hanged upon the gallows.

יְוָנִים נִקְבְּצוּ עָלַי, אֲזַי בִּימֵי חַשְׁמַנִּים
וּפָרְצוּ חוֹמוֹת מִגְדָּלַי, וְטִמְּאוּ כָּל הַשְּׁמָנִים
וּמִנּוֹתַר קַנְקַנִּים נַעֲשָׂה נֵס לַשּׁוֹשַׁנִּים
בְּנֵי בִינָה יְמֵי שְׁמוֹנָה קָבְעוּ שִׁיר וּרְנָנִים

Yevanim nikbetzu alai, azai bimei Hashmanim. Ufartzu homot migdalai, vetim'u kol hashmanim. Uminotar kankanim na'asa nes lashoshanim. Bnei vina yemei shmona kav'u shir urenanim

Literal translation:
The Greeks gathered against me,
in days of the Hasmoneans.
They broke down the walls of my towers,
and defiled all the oils.
But from the last remaining flask
a miracle was wrought for the Jews.
Therefore the sages of the day ordained
these eight for songs of praise.

חֲשׂוֹף זְרוֹעַ קָדְשֶׁךָ וְקָרֵב קֵץ הַיְשׁוּעָה
נְקֹם נִקְמַת עֲבָדֶיךָ מֵאֻמָּה הָרְשָׁעָה
כִּי אָרְכָה הַשָּׁעָה וְאֵין קֵץ לִימֵי הָרָעָה
דְּחֵה אַדְמוֹן בְּצֵל צַלְמוֹן הָקֵם לָנוּ רוֹעִים שִׁבְעָה

Hasof zroa kodshekha, vekarev ketz hayeshu'a. Nkom nikmat dam avadeikha me'uma haresha'a. Ki arkha hasha'a, ve'ein ketz limei hara'a. Dkheh admon betzel tzalmon, hakem lanu ro'im shiv'a.

Literal translation:
O bare Your holy arm,
and hasten the time of salvation.
Wreak vengeance upon the wicked nation,
on behalf of your faithful servants.
For deliverance has too long been delayed;
and the evil days are endless.
O thrust the enemy into the shadows of death,
and set up for us the seven Shepherds.

Maoz Tzur. Popular translation: [LISTEN]
[Based on the German version by Leopold Stein (1810–1882),
this version was written by Talmudic linguist Marcus Jastrow and Gustav Gottheil.]

Rock of Ages, let our song, praise Thy saving power;
Thou, amidst the raging foes, wast our sheltering tower.
Furious they assailed us, but Thine arm availed us,
And Thy Word broke their sword, when our own strength failed us.
And Thy Word broke their sword, when our own strength failed us.

Kindling new the holy lamps, priests, approved in suffering,
Purified the nation's shrine, brought to God their offering.
And His courts surrounding, hear, in joy abounding,
Happy throngs, singing songs with a mighty sounding.
Happy throngs, singing songs with a mighty sounding.

Children of the martyr race, whether free or fettered,
Wake the echoes of the songs where ye may be scattered.
Yours the message cheering that the time is nearing
Which will see, all men free, tyrants disappearing.
Which will see, all men free, tyrants disappearing

Footnote:
1. Shamash, from a Hebrew root, שמש , meaning to serve or attend or make use of, is a utility candle.

 

         
         
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