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Happy Hanukkah!

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Hanukkah Shop at JesusBoat.com
Hanukkah is a beautiful time of year. The word Hanukkah means “dedication “ in Hebrew and refers to the re-dedication of the Holy Temple during the Miracle of the Oil. (For the complete Hanukkah story, click here).
The dedication during Hanukkah has also come to refer to our dedication to our faith and our families. We are told in Psalms 127:3, “ Behold, children are a gift of the LORD, The fruit of the womb is a reward.” The holiday is very family centered. Songs, games and delicious treats makes these 8 days an especially grand occasion for children.
However, the main focus of Hanukkah is to light the Chanukkia (9-branched Hanukkah menorah) in dedication to God and His miracles. The whole family should be gathered to light the Chanukkia. At this holiday everyone can participate in lighting the candles and saying the blessings. As a matter of fact, children are encouraged to do so rather than just watch (with parental supervision of course).
There is a specific process for lighting the Chanukkia. The process is explained below for those who are new to Hanukkah or just want to understand it more.
How to Light the Chanukkia
On the first night of Hanukkah only two candles are placed in the Chanukkia. One candle represents the first night and is placed in the far right candle holder. The other is the “Shamash” or “attendant”. This is the candle used to light all the other candles. It is placed in the candle holder which is higher than the others.
Each night a candle is added to the Chanukkia. They must be added in a specific way. The new candle is placed just to the left of the last. Therefore as you fill the Chanukkia the candles are placed from right to left, just like Hebrew writing.
When you light the candles the Shamash is lit first, then the nightly candles are lit from left to right. The candle that represents that night is the first lit of the nightly candles, then the others in backwards order until you reach the one that represents the first night.
The order of the service is as follows:
  • Place the candles in the Chanukkia.
  • Remove the Shamash and light it.
  • Recite the Blessings of Hanukkah:
1st Blessing:
Baruch Atah Adonai Eloheinu Melech Ha'olam, asher kidshanu b’mitzvotav v’tzivanu l’hadlik ner shel Hanukkah.
Blessed are You, O Lord Our God, Ruler of the Universe, Who has sanctified us with Your commandments and commanded us to kindle the lights of Hanukkah.
2nd Blessing: Baruch Atah Adonai Eloheinu Melech Ha'olam, she’asah nisim l’avoteinu, b’yamim haheim bazman hazeh.
Blessed are You, O Lord our God, Ruler of the Universe, Who made miracles for our forefathers in those days at this time.
  • Light the nightly candles.
  • Sing Hanukkah songs and bask in the beauty of the light representing God’s miracles.
There is a very nice Hanukkah song that helps us remember how to light the Hanukkah candles. The song is by famous Israeli songwriter and musician, Naomi Shemer called “Ner Rishon” or “First Candle.” It is a sweet song preformed to and by children all over Israel every Hanukkah.
Here are the lyrics to the English version:
Ner Rishon, Ner Sheni,
Ner Shelishi, Ner Revii,
Ner Chamishi, Ner Shishi,
Ner Shevii, Ner Shemini
We put them in starting from the right 
we add one more on every night 
But don't forget when you start to light 
To do it from the left to right
The Shamash is highest, it's the candle
That lights every wick from here to there 
No other candle can compare 
to the shamash the highest candle.
And finally, for your pleasure, a video of Lisa’s 4-year-old son performing to Ner Rishon with his kindergarten in the Galilee (He’s the blond boy on the right with the yellow dreidel crown).
Have a very blessed Hanukkah!
Your friends in the Galilee,
Lisa, Naama and Ohad


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