|I like to welcome you and say Happy Hanukkah to all our Jewish friends. I hope you enjoy what I have for you here. Please enjoy and once again... Happy Hanukkah!|
| HANUKKAH CUSTOMS: THE MENORAH
About the Menorah
To Jews and non-Jews alike, the menorah, or Hanukkiya, is the most recognizable symbol of Hanukkah. It's usually a nine-branch candelabrum whose candles are lit by a "shamash" or service candle which then takes its own place at the centre of the menorah. The menorah itself is placed in a window or anywhere it can be seen by passers-by.
Lighting the Menorah
On the first night of Hanukkah, a single candle (or oil wick) is lit on the far right side of the menorah. A candle is added, from right to left, each night, and the newest candle is always lit first. Ideally, the candles should be lit as soon as stars become visible in the night sky, but they can be lit late into the night. While the candles are being lit and the blessing given, the whole family and any guests gather to witness the ceremony; everyone is encouraged to participate. By the eighth night, with all eight candles lit, the menorah makes a spectacular sight. And as they did the previous evenings, the candles will continue to shine until they burn themselves out.
The first blessing thanks God for the commandment to "kindle the Hanukkah lights."
Baruch Atah Adonai Elohenu Melech Ha-olam Asher Kidshanu B'mitzvotav V'tzivanu L'hadlik Ner Shel Hanukkah. Blessed is Adonai our God, Ruler of the Universe, by whose Mitzvot we are hallowed, who commands us to kindle the Hanukkah lights.
The second blessing praises God for the miracle the candles symbolize; it's said as the candles are being lit.
Baruch Atah Adonia Elohenu Melech Ha-olam She-asa Nissim L'votenu Bayamim Ha-hem Ba-ZmanHa-zeh. Blessed is Adonai our God, Ruler of the Universe, who performed wonderous deeds for our ancestors in days of old, at this season.
On the first night of Hanukkah the "shehechiyanu" blessing is included, to signify that this is the first time the Hanukkah lights have been lit this season.
Baruch Atah Adonai Elohenu Melech Ha-olam She-he-che-yanu V'ki-ye-manu V'hi-ge Yanula-zman Ha-zeh. Blessed is Adonai our God, Ruler of the Universe, for giving us life, for sustaining us and for enabling us to reach this season.
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