Lighting Hanukkah candles left to right is a widely practiced tradition throughout the Jewish world. This ritual is meant to create a festive atmosphere and remind families of the triumph of the Maccabees during the time of the Second Temple. Although Hanukkah is widely celebrated, understanding what is required to light the candles left to right and how it is accomplished may require some additional explanation. This article will provide a detailed overview of how to carry out this ritual and the symbolism behind it.
Table of Contents
Step 1: Acquire the Necessary Supplies
You will need a menorah (with 8 or 9 branches), Hanukkah candles, a lighter/matches, and a suitable flat surface. A menorah is a branch-shaped candelabrum that is placed on a flat surface such as a windowsill or tabletop. The menorah is usually silver- or gold-plated, made of brass, or made of ceramic. Your Menorah should have 8 or 9 branches, and each branch should hold a candle. The traditional number of candles for Hanukkah is 8, with 1 candle being added each night for 8 nights.
Step 2: Insert the Candles into the Menorah
Start by placing the Shamash, or leader candle, in the central branch of the Menorah. This candle is lit first, and is used to light the other candles. This candle is usually slightly larger than the other candles. It is convenient to have the Shamash already in place prior to the ritual. Place the 8 nights’ candles in the right side of the Menorah, leaving the left side of the Menorah free.
Step 3: Place the Menorah on a Suitable Flat Surface
Make sure that the flat surface is stable and heat-resistant. Many people choose tables, windowsills, and fireplace mantels to place their menorahs during the ritual.
Step 4: Light the Menorah
Light the Shamash first, and then with the Shamash, light the candles beginning from the far right and ending on the left. This should be done according to the principle of “Going Up, Coming Down”, since lighting the candles from right to left symbolizes progress from the more spiritual to the more material.
Step 5: Add a Blessing
At the end of the candle-lighting ritual it is customary to say a blessing, usually consisting of two sentences to commemorate the menorah and the liberation of the Jewish people. After saying the blessing, the ritual is complete.
Lighting the Hanukkah candles from left to right is a deeply entrenched tradition amongst the Jewish people to remind members of the triumph of the Maccabees and commemorate the liberation of the Jewish people. It is also a way to create a festive and joyful atmosphere during the 8-night celebration. Although it can be difficult to understand all of the symbolism and requirements of this ritual, individuals of all ages and backgrounds can learn how to light the Hanukkah candles left to right with the right instructions and supplies.
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Last update 2023-11-27. Price and product availability may change.