The custom of lighting Hanukkah candles from right to left is based on a combination of elements deeply symbolizing the story of the Jewish people. According to tradition, each night of Hanukkah one more candle is added, beginning with one candle on the first night of Hanukkah and ending with eight candles on the eighth night. As you light each additional candle you can recall the miracles of Hanukkah.
The Hanukkah tradition of lighting candles from right to left symbolizes how our lives progress in a special way. Lighting the Hanukkah candles from right to left reflects the idea of beginning with great enthusiasm and slowly proceeding to a more subdued level as the holiday ends. Each of the eight candles symbolizes a special moment of the Festival of Lights.
The rich symbolism of starting at the right and moving to the left also reminds us of part of the Hanukkah story, when the Maccabees reclaimed the Temple in Jerusalem and had to make new pure olive oil for the menorah – enough to last 8 days. With just enough oil, the Maccabees lit the menorah from right to left, ending with the last remaining candle. Lighting the last candle first and the first candle last symbolizes the principle of recognizing the importance of something, and then actually doing it. It is our way of remembering this powerful story.
The Hanukkah lights also symbolize the many miracles that unfolded during the eight days of Hanukkah – throughout history, in our lives today, and in the future. The custom of lighting each candle – from right to left – reminds us that we should always strive to be more than what we are today. As we move from right to left, we can see the many accomplishments of each of us, near and far, and the miracles that still unfold throughout time.
In essence, lighting the Hanukkah candles from right to left is a reminder of past miracles and hope for those to come, an expression of gratitude for each day’s blessings, and an opportunity to fulfill the dreams of our ancestors. The ritual of lighting the Hanukkah candles is a symbol of light amidst darkness, joy amidst sorrow, hope amidst despair, and peace amidst anger. Through the lighting of the Hanukkah candles, we can be reminded of our sacred past and focus on creating a brighter future.
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Last update 2023-11-22. Price and product availability may change.