How to Light the Menorah

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The menorah is the centerpiece of the eight-day Festival of Lights known as Hanukkah. Here's the ritual used in lighting it.

Things You'll Need

  • Candles
  • Menorahs
  • Matches
  • Place the menorah in a central spot in your home where all who pass can see its glow.

  • Recite the following blessing at nightfall on the first day of Hanukkah before you light the candle on the far right: "Blessed are you, Lord our God, King of the universe, who has sanctified us with his commandments and commanded us to kindle the lights of Hanukkah."

  • Light the shamash, or service candle, and then use it to light the candle, or oil wick, on the far right of the menorah. As you do so, say the following: "Blessed are you, Lord our God, King of the universe, who performed miracles for our ancestors, at this season, in days past." Replace the shamash in its holder and let both candles glow until they burn themselves out.

  • Add the following shehechiyanu blessing only on the first night of Hanukkah: "Blessed are you, Lord our God, King of the universe, who gave us life and kept us and delivered us to this time."

  • Light two candles on the second night, keeping in mind that you always light from left to right using the shamash.

  • Continue with three candles on the third night in the same fashion, and continue doing this each night until, on the eighth night, all eight candles are burning brightly (nine, including the shamash). On each night, repeat the first two blessings quoted above.

Tips & Warnings

  • The menorah should be filled from right to left, but the candles lighted from left to right.
  • The placement of the shamash can vary with different menorahs, but it will be set apart in some way. It may be in the center of the menorah, or it may be raised above the others.
  • On Friday, light the candles before sunset to avoid lighting on the Shabbat.
  • As you do with all lighted candles, keep these ones away from highly flammable objects and well beyond the reach of small children.

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