Hanukkah

This year, Hanukkah is celebrated from sunset, 22 December, to sunset on Monday, 30 December. Those, obviously, are Gregorian/Christian dates. The feast moves around a bit on the Gregorian/Christian calendar. In the Jewish/Hebrew calendar, it begins on the 25th day of Kislev. And the year is 5780.

It’s remembering the story of the victory of the Maccabees over the Syrian Greek army, and the miracle of rededicating the Temple in Jerusalem, restoring its menorah, and the oil that should have lasted only a day going on for eight.

It’s a story that is told in the Books of Maccabees, books that are found in Roman Catholic and Orthodox Bibles, and the deuterocanonical (apocryphal) books for Anglicans (and others).

The Hanukkah blessings are found here.

Place the candles in the menorah. The one that is in the taller position (or separated from the other candles) is the Shamash.

Use the Shamash to light the candle. To best publicize the miracle, the Menorah is ideally lit outside the doorway of your house, on the left side when entering. If this is not practical, then the Menorah should be lit in a window facing the public thoroughfare.

Someone who lives on an upper floor should light in a window. If for some reason the Menorah cannot be lit by the window, it may be lit inside the house on a table; this at least fulfills the mitzva of “publicizing the miracle” for the members of the household.
Since the mitzva occurs at the actual moment of lighting, the Menorah must be lit in a proper place. Moving the Menorah to a proper place after lighting does not fulfill the mitzva.

The Menorah should preferably be lit immediately at nightfall. It is best to wait, however, until all the members of the household are present. This adds to the family atmosphere and also maximizes the mitzva. However, the Menorah can be lit late into the night, so long as everyone is still awake to see it.

The Menorah should remain lit for at least 30 minutes.

On Friday night, the Menorah should be lit 18 minutes before sundown. Then the Shabbat candles should be lit. The reason for this is because you can not light anything during Shabbat.

Blessing the candles

Baruch ata Adonai, Elohenu melech ha-olam
asher kideshanu be-mitzvotav, ve-tzivanu le-hadlik
ner shel Hanukah.

Blessed are you, Lord our G-d, King of the Universe, Who sanctified us by his commandments, and has commanded us to kindle the lights of Hanukah.

Baruch ata Adonai, Elohenu melech ha-olam
she-asa nisim la-avotenu ba-yamim ha-hem
ba-zeman ha-zeh.

Blessed are you, Lord our G-d, King of the Universe,
Who wrought miracles for our fathers in days of old, at this season.

Additional Blessing

Baruch ata Adonai, Elohenu melech ha-olam
she-hecheyanu, ve-kiyemanu, ve-higiyanu la-zeman ha-zeh.

Blessed are you, Lord our G-d, King of the Universe,
Who has kept us alive, and has preserved us,
and enabled us to reach this season.

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