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Celebrating Chanukah
Chanukah is joyous holiday and lasts for eight days.

It is celebrated by lighting a Chanukah Menorah called a Chanukiah in Hebrew. It is a candelabrum with eight branches of equal size. The Hanukkah Menorah should sit in a front window or by a doorway for everyone to see.

Traditionally, Jews light the Chanukkah candles to remember the miracle of the oil that burnt for eight days and the miracle of the Maccabees’ victory. The lights are reminders of the miracles and of the struggle for religious freedom.

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On the Chanukiah there are nine candles. One is called the Shamus (or shamai in Israel). It is his job to light the other candles. On the first night the Shamus is lit and is used to light one additional candle. Each night, an extra candle is lit, until on the 8th night the Shamus lights all eight candles.

If you are facing the Menorah, you place the candles from the farthest right to the left but light them from left to right.

The candles should be lit immediately at nightful and last for a minimum of 30 minutes. Any type of candle can be used including the famous colored candles. Some people use olive oil with a wick.

On Friday night, you should light the Chanukah Menorah <u>before</u> you light the Shabbat candles. The recommendation is to light them 18 minutes before sundown. This means larger candles (i.e. not the colored candles) are required as they must burn for a minimum of 48 minutes (i.e. 18 + 30 minutes).

Lighting the Chanukiah can be performed by men, women and children

Blessings and Prayers
Before lighting the candles, special blessings are said:

Baruch Atta Adonai Eloheynu Melekh Ha-olam Asher Kiddeshanu Be-mitsvotav Ve-tsivanu Lehadlik Ner Shel Chanuka

Blessed are You, Lord our God, King of the universe, who has sanctified us by His commandments, and has commanded us to kindle the lights of chanukah.

Followed by:

Baruch Atta Adonai Eloheynu Melekh Ha-olam She-asa Nissim La-avoteynu Ba-yyamim Ha-hem Ba-zzman Ha-zze

Blessed are you, Lord our God, King of the universe, who wrought miracles for our fathers in days of old, at this season.

On the 1st night or 1st first time you kindle the Chanukah lights:

Barukh Atta Adonay Eloheynu Melekh Ha-olam She-hekheyanu Ve-kiymanu Ve-higgi'anu La-zzman Ha-zze

Blessed are You, the Lord our G-d, King of the universe, Who has kept us alive, sustained us, and brought us to this season.


After kindling the lights, Hanerot Halalu prayer is recited

Ha-nerot ha-lalu anach-nu mad-likin
Al ha-nissim vi-al hanif-laot
Al ha-tshu-ot vi-al ha-milchamot
She-asita la'avo-teinu
Ba-yamim ha-heim, ba-zman ha-zeh
Al ye-dey kohan-echa haki-doshim.
Vi-chol shmonat ye-mey Chanukah
Ha-nerot ha-lalu kodesh heim,
Ve-ein lanu reshut li-heesh-tamesh ba-hem
Ela leer-otam bilvad
Kedai le-hodot u-li-hallel li-shimcha
Al ni-secha vi-al niflo-techa
vi-al yeshua-techa.

We kindle these lights
For the miracles and the wonders
For the redemption and the battles
Which You performed for our forefathers
In those days at this season
Through Your holy priests.
During all eight days of Chanukah
These lights are sacred
And we are not permitted to make ordinary use of them
But only to look at them
In order to express thanks and praise to Your great Name
For Your miracles, Your wonders, and Your salvations.


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