According to Jewish tradition, after the Maccabees’ victory over the Greeks, there was only enough oil to burn for one day in the Temple. Miraculously the oil burned for eight days. When we light the Hanukkah menorah we commemorate this miracle.
Step 1: Position your menorah
Position your menorah. Place the menorah in or near a window facing the street on the left side of your home, as you face the entrance from outside.
Placing a menorah in a window for passerbys to see fulfills the commandment to publicize the miracle.
Step 2: Put a candle in the holder
At nightfall, on the first evening of the Hanukkah holiday, put a candle into the holder at the far right of the menorah as you face it.
Step 3: Light the shamash
Light the shamash, the candle used to light the others, and recite the three Hanukkah blessings.
Never use the Hanukkah candles to light each other.
Step 4: Light the first candle
Light the first candle and place the still-lit shamash in its holder, which is usually above or below the other candles.
Step 5: Pray
After lighting the first candle, recite or chant the Hanerot Halalu prayer.
At this point, many people sing Maoz Tsur or other appropriate Hanukkah songs.
Step 6: Let the candle burn
Let the candles burn for at least 30 minutes.
Step 7: Continue lighting candles
On the second through eighth nights, add a candle to the left of the previous one and repeat the process, lighting the newer candle first and moving right. Eliminate the first candle blessing.
Step 8: On Fridays, light the menorah first
On Friday nights, always light the Hanukkah candles before the Shabbat candles. Light the menorah before sunset.
Did You Know?
Since oil is so important to the holiday, Hanukkah foods are often fried.