Hanukkah is a Jewish holiday celebrated every year at the same time for eight days starting from the 25th of the Jewish month of Kislev. During this holiday, Jews celebrate a miracle that happened in 165 BC during a war led by the Maccabees against the Hellenistic Greeks and Syrians. A large part of the celebration is lighting a menorah or hanukiah (a candelabrum with nine lamps – one for each day of Hanukkah) with a special blessing. So when it comes to Hanukkah, one of the most important questions asked is: what time is Hanukkah candle lighting?
When to Light Hanukkah Candles?
Each night of Hanukkah, an extra candle is added to the Hanukkah menorah. On the first night, one candle is lit, on the second two candles, and so on until all eight candles are lit on the last night. The most common way to light the Hanukkah candles is to light the Shammash (servant) candle first and use that candle to light the rest of the candles – right to left.
The Blessing for Lighting Hanukkah Candles
On each night of Hanukkah, the blessings are recited when lighting the Hanukkah menorah. The full blessing is spoken three times for the Hanukkiah (the Hanukkah menorah) and once for the candles. The text of the blessing for lighting the Menorah is:
- בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְיָ, אֱלֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם, אֲשֶׁר קִדְּשָׁנוּ בְּמִצְוֹתָיו, וְצִוָּנוּ לְהַדְלִיק נֵר שֶׁל חֲנֻכָּה.
Translated, it means: “Blessed are You, Lord our God, King of the universe, Who has sanctified us with His mitzvot, and has commanded us to light the Hanukkah lamp.”
After the blessing for the Menorah, the special blessing for the candles themselves is said:
- בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְיָ, אֱלֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם, שֶׁהֶחֱיָנוּ וְקִיְּמָנוּ וְהִגִּיעָנוּ לַזְּמָן הַזֶּה.
Translated, it means: “Blessed are You, Lord our God, King of the universe, Who has granted us life, sustained us, and enabled us to reach this season.”
What Time Should Hanukkah Candles Be Lit?
It is important to light the Hanukkah candles at the right time so that they will burn for a full half hour after nightfall. In general, the time of lighting should begin when there is equal amounts of light and darkness in all directions. It is traditional to light Hanukkah candles each night twenty minutes after nightfall. For more specific times, click here.
The miracle of Hanukkah is commemorated in the lighting of the Hanukkah menorah each night for the duration of the holiday. It is a joyous thing to be part of this special mitzvah – blessing and joy that infuses our lives with light. By knowing when to light the Hanukkah candles, we retell our history and celebrate the miracle that happened so many centuries ago.
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Last update 2023-11-22. Price and product availability may change.