Each night as Jews around the world observe Hanukkah, the eight-day Festival of Lights, the age-old song Maoz Tsur —”Rock of Ages” in Hebrew—is sung after the lighting of the candles on the menorah.
Baruch atah Adonai Eloheinu Melech ha-olam, asher kid’shanu b-mitzvotav, v-tzivanu l’hadlik ner shel Hanukkah. Blessed are you, Our God , Ruler of the Universe, who makes us holy through Your commandments, and commands us to light the Hanukkah lights.
Wishing someone “Happy Hanukkah ” or ” Chanukah Sameach” are perfectly appropriate greetings. The latter is Hebrew and both say the same thing.
In 2020, Hanukkah begins at sundown on Thursday, December 10, and continues through Friday, December 18. The first candle is lit on the Chanukiah ( menorah ) on this date.
(to be said prior to lighting the candles) Barukh atah Adonai, Eloheinu Melekh ha’olam, asher kid’shanu b’mitzvotav, v’tzivanu l’hadlik ner shel Hanukkah. Blessed are you Adonai our God, Ruler of the universe, who has made us holy through God’s commandments, and commanded us to light the Hanukkah candles.
The traditional Hanukkah candle lighting service consists of saying all three blessings on the first night, and only the first and second blessings for the seven nights to follow. Transliteration: Baruch atah Adonai, Eloheinu Melech ha’olam, asher kid’shanu b’mitzvotav v’tsivanu l’hadlik ner shel Hanukkah .
On the first night of Hanukkah, place a candle in the holder on the far right, and light it with the shamash . Then put the shamash back in its spot (leaving it lit). On the second night, light the candle second from the right, then the candle on the far right, and replace the lit shamash .
During the Hanukkah holiday, families eat latkes (potato pancakes), sufganiyot (round jelly doughnuts), and other foods to celebrate the miracle of the Festival of Lights.
Hanukkah , which means “dedication” in Hebrew, begins on the 25th of Kislev on the Hebrew calendar and usually falls in November or December. Often called the Festival of Lights, the holiday is celebrated with the lighting of the menorah, traditional foods, games and gifts.
When to Light Chanukah candles should be lit within a half hour of nightfall. This is because in previous generations there was virtually no more traffic in the streets by a half hour after nightfall.
On the first night of Hanukkah one light (candle or oil) is lit on the right side of the menorah, on the following night a second light is placed to the left of the first but it is lit first , and so on, proceeding from placing candles right to left but lighting them from left to right over the eight nights.
One candle is lit on the first night, two on the second, three on the third, through to the eighth night when all are lit . A special prayer is recited during the lighting and while the candles burn it is a time for songs and games, including the four-sided toy called dreidel.
What is the proper greeting for Hanukkah ? To wish someone a Happy Hanukkah , say “ Hanukkah Sameach!” ( Happy Hanukkah ) or simply “Chag Sameach!” ( Happy Holiday). Or if you want to show off your Hebrew skills, say “Chag Urim Sameach!” (urim means “lights”).
The celebrations continue for eight days and nights until Hanukkah comes to an end at nightfall on the eighth day of the festival, Zot Hanukkah. This year, Hanukkah ends on Friday 18 December.