One of the most important rituals of the Hanukkah season is the lighting of the menorah, the eight-sided candelabra. In the eight days of Hanukkah, a new branch of the Menorah is lit each night for eight nights. But before that happens, lighting the first candle is essential to begin the holiday. This article will answer the question of which candle to light first for Hanukkah.
Which Candle Should You Light On The First Night Of Hanukkah?
The candle you light on the first night of Hanukkah is traditionally called the shamash, which literally means “servant” in Hebrew. The shamash is different than the other seven bright candles used to commemorate the holiday. The shamash is almost always placed in the center of the Menorah and is usually a lighter colored candle than the others, although any color can be used.
The shamash is used to light the other seven candles and is then used to light all of the other candles for the seven-night holiday. On the first night, the shamash candle is lit first, and on the other subsequent nights, it will be used to light all of the other candles already lit in order from right to left.
Instructions For Lighting The Shamash On The First Night Of Hanukkah:
- Light the shamash candle, begin on your far right and recite the blessing:
“Blessed are You, Lord our God, King of the Universe, who has sanctified us with His commandments, and commanded us to light the Chanukah light.”
- Use the shamash to light the other seven candles, from right to left.
- Repeat the following blessing for each candle:
“Blessed are You, Lord our God, King of the Universe, who has performed miracles for our fathers in those days, at this time.”
Each night, starting with the candle farthest to the right, an additional candle is added to the Menorah. This is done because the miracle of Hanukkah is a reminder of how the light of the Menorah burned for eight days on the oil that was only enough to last for one day.
In conclusion, the first candle to be lit on the first night of Hanukkah is the shamash. The shamash is then used to light the other seven candles in order from right to left. This ritual of lighting the Menorah is a beautiful reflection of the miracle which occurred during the Maccabean revolt, when a small jug of oil that should have been enough for a single night, burned for eight. Hanukkah is a celebration of light against darkness, and each night’s ritual with the Menorah is a wonderful way to honor, remember and experience the joys of this spiritual journey.
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Last update 2023-11-27. Price and product availability may change.