Friday, December 7, 2012

ḤANUKA TUTORIAL (Saturday, December 8th, after 5:15 pm, NYT)

This year the first night of Ḥanuka falls out on this coming Saturday night, December 8th.  When Shabbat is over (after 5:15 p.m, N.Y. time), at home we first recite the Habdala, and then we light the Ḥanuka candles. In the Synagogue we should first light the Ḥanuka candles and then recite the Habdala, to promote the Ḥanuka miracle in a bigger crowd (pirsume nisa).  If we would say the Habdala first, most people would probably leave the Synagogue before the Ḥanuka candles are lit.   

Maimonides (MT, Hilkhot Megila vaḤanuka 4:1) explains that the Miṣva of Ḥanuka candle-lighting is technically fulfilled by lighting just one candle per family.  Those who wish to beautify (hidur) this Miṣva, let each member of the family, men and women, light their own candle. And those who want to excel in the fulfillment of this commandment (Miṣva min hamubḥar) should add one additional candle each night. 

In most Sephardic communities, one Ḥanukia per family--not per individual--is lit. Other communities have the custom to allow or encourage children and other family members to light their own Ḥanukia.  Also, today, the popular custom is to light one additional candle per night.

This Saturday night, the father or the person in charge of lighting the candles recites the following three blessings before lighting the candles. (On all subsequent nights, only blessings number 1 and 2 are recited).

Blessing #1: Barukh..... asher qiddeshanu bemiṣvotav, veṣeevanu lehadleeq ner Ḥanuka.

Blessing #2: Barukh... she'asa neeseem la-abotenu, bayameem hahaem bazeman haze.

Blessing #3: Barukh... sheheḥeyanu vekeeyihemanu veheeg-eeyanu lazeman haze.

The following text is also read each night, after all the candles, or at least the first one, has been kindled:

Hanerot halalu....

"We kindle these lights for the miracles and the wonders for the redemption and the portents, salvations and marvels which You performed for our ancestors in those days, at this time (of the year) through Your holy priests. During all eight days of Ḥanukathese lights are holy and we are not permitted to make ordinary use of them, but only to look at them in order to express thanks and praise to Your great Name for your miracles, and Your salvations and Your wonders, ".

Then we recite: Mizmor shir Ḥanukat haBayit leDavid


Candle lighting in NYC    4:11 p.m. 

Shabbat Ends in NYC       5:15 p.m. 

 ḤANUKA candle lighting ceremony, Moroccan style