For old hands, a reminder, and for new ones a guide to how it’s done.
This year the first night of Chanukah is Sunday 18 December and the last night for lighting candles is Monday 25 December. Chanukah actually ends on the evening of Tuesday 26th. The Hebrew dates, which don’t change, of course, are 25 Kislev and 2 Tevet.
Candles should be lit after sunset, except for Friday, when they must be lit before sunset, and Saturday, when they must be lit after nightfall. On Friday, the Menorah is lit before the Shabbat candles.
On the first night of Chanukah, we light the Shamash and use the Shamash to light a single candle on the far right of the menorah. After lighting the Shamash, but before lighting the candle, we make three blessings:
1) Baruch Atah Adonai Elohainu Melech Ha’olam Asher Kid’shanu B’mitzvotav V’tzivanu L’hadlik Ner Shel Chanukah.
2) Baruch Atah Adonai Elohainu Melech Ha’olam She’asah Nissim La’avotainu Bayamim Hahaim Bizman Hazeh.
3) Baruch Atah Adonai Elohainu Melech Ha’olam Shehechiyanu Vekiy’manu Vehig’yanu Lizman Hazeh.
The third blessing is only recited the first night or the first time one lights candles this year.
On the second night, the Shamash is lit, the first two blessings are said, and then the Shamash is used to light the second candle from the right and finally the candle furthest to the right. Each night a new candle is added to the left and this is lit first.
May you have a bright and joyous festival. Enjoy some warm, traditional food. You can clean the arteries afterwards.
Chag Chanukah Sameach.