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Chanukah Prayers & Blessings Overview

Chanukah Prayers & Blessings Overview

Photo: Rabbi Chayim B. Alevsky
Photo: Rabbi Chayim B. Alevsky

Blessings on the Kindling of the Menorah

Click here for the blessings in Hebrew, transliteration and translation of the blessings on the kindling of the menorah.

V'al Hanissim

During the eight days of Chanukah, we add the V'al Hanissim ("And for the miracles...") section in the amidah (daily silent prayers) and in the Grace after Meals. In this section we summarize the miracles of the Maccabee victory, and thank G‑d for the "miracles, redemption, mighty deeds, saving acts and wonders" that He wrought for our ancestors.

Click here for the Hebrew text of the V'al Hanissim, as well as an English translation.


Every day of Chanukah, we recite the complete Hallel in the course of the morning prayers. The Hallel is a sequence of praise and gratitude-themed psalms (Psalms 113-118) that is recited on Jewish holidays.

Torah Reading

The Torah is read every day immediately following the Hallel. The Chanukah readings are from the Book of Numbers (7:1-8:4), and discuss the dedication of the Tabernacle, the gifts that the tribal leaders brought in honor of the inauguration, and the command to Aaron to kindle the Tabernacle Menorah daily.

On Chanukah, too, we celebrate the dedication (or, to be precise, the re-dedication) of the Temple by the Maccabees after it had been defiled and contaminated by the Greeks. And the command to Aaron to kindle the Menorah is also an allusion to the Chanukah Menorah, a mitzvah that we have thanks to the bravery of Aaron's descendants—the priestly Hasmonean family that led the Maccabeean armies in battle against the Greeks.

Click here for the Chanukah readings along with commentary and contemporary insights.

Chanukah Hymns

Various hymns have been composed in honor of Chanukah. The two most popular ones are Maoz Tzur and Haneirot Halalu, which are traditionally sung after the lighting of the Menorah.

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Mrs. Chana Benjaminson via December 22, 2014

To Marilyn You can if you wish but most let them burn out.

The candles need to burn at least thirty minutes each night. The standard Chanukah candles you buy in the store are designed to last about that time. Reply

Marilyn Denver December 20, 2014

Do I blow out the candles after 30 minutes? And do I replace the burnt candles with new candles each night since they are supposed to be at the same height? Reply

Nancy Weems Tucson, AZ 85711 November 27, 2013

I want to celebrate Chanukah I want to know what is to be done during Chanukah Reply

Doriel November 26, 2012

maoz tzur This song is so beautiful, I just wept as I listened and I could feel my heart swell. The whole world needs to hear it. Sounds can heal. I have learned that the holy tongue, hebrew, is a very special language, because it is the only language that flows through our very cells, into our DNA and creates light, phosphene flares. Hebrew generates light. Reply

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