Lighting the Hanukkah Menorah

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Lighting the Hanukkah candles is an easy activity that the whole family can participate in. On the first night, three prayers are said: over the lighting of the candles, over the miracle of Hanukkah, and for a new experience. On the remaining seven nights, only the first two prayers are said.

Which candles do you light? Facing the hanukkiah (Hanukkah menorah), put a candle in the right-most spot on the first night. On the second night, candles are placed in the right-most spot and the one to its left. Keep adding additional candles to the left for each night. Which candle do you light first? You light the newest night’s candle first, so you start by lighting the left-most candle available. (In other words, fill in the menorah from right to left, but light the menorah from left to right.) You light the menorah by lighting the shamash (helper candle – usually the center of the menorah or otherwise distinguished from the others), then using it to light the other candles.

We have the instructions and blessings (in Hebrew, transliteration and English) in a handy, one-page format to help you bring this Hanukkah practice to your home. Download here (pdf).