What is Chanukah Rituals

Judaism –> Hanukkah Rituals

Chanukah is a Jewish holiday, also known as the Festival of lights. Chanukah is a Hebrew word meaning “dedication”. It is also spelled Chanuka, Hannukah or Hanukkah. The first evening of Chanukah (called Erev Chanukah) starts after the sunset of the 24th day of the Hebrew month of Kislev. As in Jewish tradition the calendar date starts at sunset, Chanukah begins on the 25th.

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Chanukah rituals ~ Dreidel Rules ~ What is Chanukah?
  How to Light a Menorah
Chanukah rituals:

The Jewish Holidays of Chanukah (Feast of Dedication) has relatively simple religious rituals. Some aspects are practiced at home by the family, other aspects are communal. There are additions to the regular daily prayer services in the Siddur, the Jewish prayer book.

The Chanukiah (Chanukah menorah)

Chief importance is attached by Jewish law and custom to the kindling of the Chanukiah, a menorah specially designed for use on this holiday. The reason for its use is not for the lighting of the house within, but rather for the illumination of the house without, so that passers-by should see it. Accordingly lamps are set up near the door leading to the street; and when a house had doors on several sides, lamps are placed in front of each door. It is customary to have a separate Chanukiah for each family member. Only when there was danger of Anti-Semitic persecution, as was the case in Persia under the rule of the fire-worshipers, or in Europe before and during World War II, were lamps supposed to be hidden indoors. As the lights were intended only for illumination in honor of the feast, reading by them was prohibited (Talmud, Tracate Shabbat 21b-23a).

Blessings over the candles

Typically 3 blessings (Brachahs) are recited during this eight-day festival. On the first night of Hannukah, Jews recite all three blessings, on all subsequent nights, they recite blessings number 1 and 2. On the first night of Chanukah one light (candle, lamp, or electric) is lit on the right side of the Menorah, on the following night a second light is placed to the left of the first and is lit first proceeding from left to right, and so on each night.

The First Brachah. Barukh atah Adonai, Eloheynu melekh ha-olam, asher kid’shanu be-mitzvotav ve-tzivanu le-hadlik ner shel Chanukah.

Praised are You, Lord our God, King of the Universe, Who sanctified us with His commandments and commanded us to kindle the Chanukah lights.

The Second Brachah. Barukh atah Adonai, Eloheynu melekh ha-olam, she-asah nisim la’avoteynu, ba-yamim ha-hem, ba-zman ha-zeh. Praised are You, Lord our God, King of the universe, Who performed wondrous deeds for our ancestors, in ancient days, at this season. The Third Brachah. Barukh atah Adonai, Eloheynu melekh ha-olam, she-heche’yanu, ve-kiy’manu, ve-higi’anu la-zman ha-zeh. Praised are You, Lord our God, King of the universe, Who has kept us in life, sustained us, and enabled us to reach this season.

After kindling the lights, the Hanerot Halalu prayer is recited.


Haneirot halalu anachnu madlikin Al hanissim ve’al haniflaot Al hatshu-ot ve’al hamilchamot She-asita la’avoteynu Bayamim hahem, bazman hazeh Al yedey kohanecha hakdoshim. Vechol shmonat yemey Chanukah Hanerot halalu kodesh hem, Ve-ein lanu reshut lehishtamesh bahem Ela lirotam bilvad Kedai lehodot u’lehalel leshimcha hagadol Al nissecha veal nifleotecha ve-al yeshuotecha. We light these lights For the miracles and the wonders, for the redemption and the battles that you made for our forefathers, in those days at this season, through your holy priests.

During all eight days of Chanukah these lights are sacred. 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.

Additions to the daily prayers An addition is made to the “hoda’ah” (thanksgiving) benediction in the Amidah, called Al ha-Nissim. This addition refers to the victory achieved over the Syrians by the Hasmonean Mattathias and his sons. (The erroneous designation of Mattathias as son of Johanan the high priest seems to rest upon the late Hebrew apocryphal “Megillat Antyokus” or “Megillat Hanukkah,” which has other names and dates strangely mixed.) The liturgical part inserted reads as follows:

“We thank You also for the miraculous deeds and for the redemption and for the mighty deeds and the saving acts wrought by You, as well as for the wars which You waged for our ancestors in ancient days at this season. In the days of the Hasmonean Mattathias, son of Johanan the high priest, and his sons, when the iniquitous Greco-Syrian kingdom rose up against Your people Israel, to make them forget Your Torah and to turn them away from the ordinances of Your will, then You in your abundant mercy rose up for them in the time of their trouble, pled their cause, executed judgment, avenged their wrong, and delivered the strong into the hands of the weak, the many into the hands of few, the impure into the hands of the pure, the wicked into the hands of the righteous, and insolent ones into the hands of those occupied with Your Torah. Both unto Yourself did you make a great and holy name in Thy world, and unto Your people did You achieve a great deliverance and redemption. Whereupon your children entered the sanctuary of Your house, cleansed Your temple, purified Your sanctuary, kindled lights in Your holy courts, and appointed these eight days of Chanukah in order to give thanks and praises unto Your holy name.”