The Story of Hanukkah & the Menorah

I get a lot of questions about Hanukkah from friends, family, and strangers. I think that it’s great that they are interested, but having to answer them constantly is tiring. So, I thought this would be the perfect platform to tell them and you about the story of Hanukkah.

Hanukkah is celebrated to commemorate the re-dedication of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem. The lead up to this event was the Maccabean Revolt against King Antiochus. The reason Jews celebrate for eight days and nights is because when the temple was rebuilt, which was ordered by Judah, they could only find enough oil to burn for one night. It turned out that this oil ended up burning for eight days and nights; a miracle if you will 🙂

Nowadays, we use candles to represent the oil. Every night, we light the Menorah, or candle holder, and recite the prayers. Here are those prayers:

 

Baruch atah, Adonai 

Eloheinu, Melech haolam,

asher kid’shanu b’mitzvotav

v’tsivanu l’hadlik ner shel Chanukah.

 

Translation: Blessed are You, Adonai our God, Sovereign of all, who hallows us with mitzvot, commanding us to kindle the Chanukah lights.

 

Baruch atah, Adonai

Eloheinu, Melech haolam,

she-asah nisim laavoteinu v’imoteinu

bayamim haheim bas’man hazeh.

 

Translation: Blessed are You our God, Sovereign of all, who performed wondrous deeds for our ancestors in days of old at this season.

 

This one is for the first night only:

 

Baruch atah, Adonai

Eloheinu, Melech haolam,

shehecheyanu, v’kiy’manu v’higianu laz’man hazeh.

 

Translation: Blessed are You, Adonai our God, Sovereign of all, for giving us life, for sustaining us, and for enabling us to reach this season.

 

Now, the candles have to be lit in a certain way. You must always use the shamash, or the candle that is taller in the Menorah. You use this candle to light the others from right to left. You might be asking why are they lit from right to left. Well, that is because that is how Hebrew is read.

 

I hope this brief history lesson helped you understand the holiday, but if you have any other questions please comment down below.

 

Jess

xx

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