Tuesday, 20 December 2011
How to Light the Chanukah Candles (+Video Clip)
On the 25th of Kisleiv (the night of the 20th of December 2011. Check your calendar for the dates of other years) at just after the sun begins to set wherever you are, we light the first Chanukah candle. You can find out what time Shkiyah (sunset) is in your town by visiting Chabad's Halachic Times page. Choose your exact location, and click GO!
The ideal time is just after sunset (though the earliest time for lighting is Plag HaMincha - see chart). You'll need to know the Plag HaMincha time for Friday when candles must be lit before sunset. Be careful, don't get too carried away on Erev Shabbat. You may definitely not light before the Plag HaMincha time!
Prepare your Menorah with either pure olive oil (ideal!) or candles.
On the first night fill up just one glass container (prepare one candle) together with another container of oil or candle (the Shamash) on the outside, middle or slightly away from the main light.
On the second night, prepare two candles next to each other, adding the additional candle to the left of the previous one, with the Shamash in its usual place as on the first night. On the third night, you'll be preparing three candles (excluding the Shamash) etc. up until the eighth night when you'll have all eight candles illuminating the home and the world!
Though the lights must be prepared on the right hand side with each additional light placed on the left of the previous night's light, the lights must be lit from the left hand side going towards the right!
There must be enough oil in the container to last for at least 30 minutes after nightfall. You can consult the Chabad luach (as above) to see what time nightfall (Tzeit HaCochavim) is in your area too. Remember, on Friday afternoon, you'll need a lot more oil to last until after nightfall, because you'll be lighting much earlier than the rest of the week.
Hold a wax candle in your hand, lit and ready to light the candle(s)
On the first night three blessings are recited. On the remainder nights, the third blessing of "Shehecheyanu" is not recited.
The blessings - Chabad version without brackets. Ashkenazi version in brackets:
"Barukh atah Adonai, Eloheinu, melekh ha'olam asher kid'shanu b'mitz'votav v'tzivanu l'had'lik neir (shel) Chanukah."
(Blessed are you, Lord, our God, King of the universe Who has sanctified us with His commandments and commanded us to light the light of Chanukkah.)
"Barukh atah Adonai, Eloheinu, melekh ha'olam she'asah nisim la'avoteinu bayamim haheim biz'man hazeh."
(Blessed are you, Lord, our God, King of the universe Who performed miracles for our ancestors in those days at this time.)
"Barukh atah Adonai, Eloheinu, melekh ha'olam shehecheyanu v'kiyimanu v'higi'anu laz'man hazeh."
(Blessed are you, Lord, our God, King of the universe who has kept us alive, sustained us, and enabled us to reach this season )
"ברוך אתה יי אלהינו מלך העולם אשר קדשנו במצותיו וצונו להדליק נר (של) חנוכה"
"ברוך אתה יי אלהינו מלך העולם שעשה נסים לאבותינו בימים ההם בזמן הזה"
"ברוך אתה יי אלהינו מלך העולם שהחינו וקימנו והגיענו לזמן הזה"
Immediately after the blessings, light the candle(s) from left to right. Do not speak until all the candles are lit.
The Shamash (the wax candle used to light the other candles,) can then be used to light the outside candle of the Menorah which is set aside as the Shamash. This candle (the one used temporarily to light the candles) may then be put out and the "main" Shamash candle on the side of the Menorah will remain burning.
Sing the accompanying song of "Haneirot Hallalu" found in Siddurim - and Maoz Tzur Yeshuati if you wish to too! Enjoy the video!
Don't forget to bring light into your own life, into the lives of others,
and into the entire world,
each day - adding more and more as you continue in your own life!