Chanukah for Children

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Lighting the Menorah


Light up when?

Right after nightfall, once it’s dark outside (aside for Friday afternoon, when the candles are lit shortly before sunset).


Light up what?

The Menorah or holder used for lighting the lights should be attractive and clean. All 8 Chanukah lights need to be lined up on the same level, but the Shamesh candle must be separate!

The preferred way to fulfill the mitzvah of lighting the Chanukah Menorah is to use pure olive oil and wicks of cotton, just like the Menorah in the Holy Temple. Nevertheless, other types of oils, wicks and candles may be used, as long as they give a steady light!


Light up where?

Some people put their Menorah in the doorway opposite the Mezuzah, while others place it near the window. We do this to spread the Chanukah light! In these places, people are sure to see your Menorah, and remember the great miracles that G-d performed.


Light up how?

We place candles in the Menorah from right to left, but we light the candles from left to right.

On the first night we light one candle on the right side. On the second night we light the new, candle first, starting from the left and moving to the right. We continue this way every night of Chanukah, adding a candle each night (see diagram on opposite page).


Follow the Leader!

The Chanukah candles cannot be used to light each other, which is why we use the Shamesh Candle to light the Menorah. It’s not one of the 8 Chanukah candles, so we set it in a place above the rest.
The Shamesh can be made out of sweet-smelling beeswax. The lights of the Chanukah candles are special - only for looking at, not for using. It is good for the eyes - and the soul!


Light up how long?

The Chanuka candles are supposed to burn for at least a half hour.
On Friday though, we have to light them before it gets dark and Shabbat comes in. We generally use more oil, or bigger candles on Friday, so that the candles will stay burning, well into Shabbat!

Menorah Calendar

Tuesday Night, Dec. 20
Blessings 1, 2 & 3

Wednesday Night, Dec. 21
Blessings 1 & 2

Thursday, Dec. 22
Blessings 1 & 2

Friday afternoon, Dec. 23
Before sunset, recite blessings 1 and 2 and kindle four lights in the menorah. The menorah should be lit before lighting the Shabbat Candles (18 minutes before sunset).

Saturday Night, Dec. 24
After nightfall, recite blessings 1 and 2 and kindle five lights in the menorah. The menorah is lit after Shabbat ends and the Havdalah is recited.

Sunday Night, Dec. 25
Blessings 1 & 2

Monday Night, Dec. 26
Blessings 1 & 2

Tuesday Night, Dec. 27
Blessings 1 & 2

Light up lingo!

Before you light the candles, make the appropriate blessings.

Before the first night of Chanukah, Tuesday night, December 20, 2011 (or the first time on Chanukah you perform this mitzvah) recite all three blessings. On all following nights, say only the first two:

1. Ba-ruch A-tah Ado-nai E-lo-he-nu Me-lech Ha-olam A-sher Ki-de-sha-nu Be-mitz-vo-tav Ve-tzi-va-nu Le-had-lik Ner Cha-nu-kah.

2. Ba-ruch A-tah Ado-nai E-lo-he-nu Me-lech Ha-olam She-a-sa Ni-sim La-avo-te-nu Ba-ya-mim Ha-hem Bi-zman Ha-zeh.

3. Ba-ruch A-tah Ado-nai E-lo-he-nu Me-lech Ha-olam She-heche-ya-nu Ve-ki-yi-ma-nu Ve-higi-a-nu Liz-man Ha-zeh.

Next: Which Hanukkah Songs to Sing