How to Recite the Three Hanukkah Blessings

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Lighting the Hanukkah menorah at sundown is a hallmark tradition of the holiday. For each of the eight nights of Hanukkah an additional candle is added to the menorah until all the candles are blazing on the last night of Hanukkah. Every night prior to the lighting of the candles families recite the Hanukkah blessings. There are three blessings, two of which are recited every night--the third is an additional blessing recited only at the first kindling of the menorah.

  • Gather the family around the menorah on the first night of Hanukkah. Begin by reciting or singing the additional Hanukkah blessing. Of the the three Hanukkah blessings this blessing, called Shehecheyanu, is said only on special occasions and is used to offer gratitude for being able to experience new things. It is customary to recite the Shehechaynu only on the first night of Hanukkah. In Hebrew: Baruch atah Adonai, Eloheinu, melech ha'olam shehecheyanu v'kiyimanu v'higi'anu laz'man hazeh. (Amein)

  • Translate and recite the prayer in English for friends and family who may not understand the Hebrew. Though this is optional, the English translation is often recited so that children will learn the meanings as well as the words of the blessings. Blessed are you, Lord our God, King of the universe, who has kept us alive, and has preserved us, and allowed us to reach this season.

  • Light the shamash and recite the first Hanukkah blessing. The shamash, also known as the "helper candle" will be used to light the other candles from left to right, so that each night the newest candle is lit first. Should the first night of Hanukkah fall on Shabbat, it's necessary to add "v Shabbat" after the word "Chanukah" at the end of the blessing.This will ensure that the blessing also sanctifies the lights of the Sabbath. In Hebrew: Baruch atah Adonai, Eloheinu, melech ha'olam asher kidishanu b'mitz'votav v'tzivanu l'had'lik neir shel Chanukah. (Amein)

  • Recite the blessing in English: 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 Hanukkah.

  • Recite the second Hanukkah blessing while the shamash is still lit and prior to lighting the first Hanukkah candle: Baruch atah Adonai, Eloheinu, melech ha'olam she'asah nisim la'avoteinu bayamim haheim baziman hazeh. (Amein)

  • Say it one more time in English: Blessed are you, Lord, our God, King of the universe/Who performed miracles for our ancestors in those days at this time.

  • Light the rest of the Hanukkah candles with the shamash immediately after finishing the blessings.

Tips & Warnings

  • The Hebrew version of the blessings is written in transliterated form, not in Hebrew characters.

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