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How Many Candles Do You Need For Hanukkah?

  • Written By Candace 
  • Updated On
  • 4 min read

How Many Candles Do You Need For Hanukkah?

To celebrate Hanukkah, you’ll need to buy at least thirty-six candles. Each day of the holiday, you add one candle to the menorah. On the eighth day, you light the final candle. Most menorahs include an extra spot, usually above the other spots, for the shamash candle, the helper candle used to help illuminate the rest. With this, you will require a total of forty-four candles lit during Hanukka.

There are two main traditions regarding the number of candles per menorah. One says that you should start with one candle and add another every night until you reach eight.

Another tradition of lighting candles says that you should start out with four candles and add one additional candle each night until you reach eight, including the shamash.

Hanukkah Candles

During Hanukkah, Jews light menorah candles. There are two types of menorahs used during Hanukkah: the chanukiah and the shammes. A chanukiah is a small candelabra shaped like a menorah. A shammes is a large menorah that holds eight candles.

On the eighth night of Hanukkah (the final night), Jews light additional handmade candles to commemorate the miracle of the oil burning for eight days. Each night of Hanukkahs starts with one candle lit and ends with eight candles lit.

Types Of Candles

Hanukkah candles come in many shapes and sizes. You’ll find basic Hanukkah candles that are inexpensive and simple to light. These are great for younger children who may not be able to handle more complex candle types.

Safed Candle’s premium handmade Hanukkah candles are made in Tzfat, Israel. They are hand-dipped in the holy city of Tzfat and are available in a wide array of gorgeous jewel tones. They look beautiful in menorahs of all designs.

These are definitely the most expensive candles out there, but they are worth every penny. They are truly works of art. You can also find handmade Hanukkah candlesticks at various price points.

Some are very simple and others are quite elaborate. Whatever style you prefer, you’ll find a selection of quality Hanukkah candles at reasonable prices.

When To Light The Menorah

There are two main customs regarding when to light the menorah. One is to light it before the Shabbat begins on Friday evenings. The second is to light it after the havdalah ceremony on Saturday nights.

According to Jewish law, the candle lighting must be done before sunset on Friday evenings. However, since Hanukkah lasts eight days, there will inevitably be at least one day when the holiday overlaps with Shabbat. On those occasions, the candle menorahs must be lit before sunset.

There is no consensus among Ashkenazi rabbis, and most Sephardi communities light the menorah after the Havdalah. However, there is a minority opinion that says the Havdalah should be recited first.

Blessings To Say

Hanukkah is a Jewish holiday celebrated between December 18th and December 26th. During Hanukkah, Jews celebrate the miracle of oil lasting eight days.

During Hanukkah, it’s customary to light the candles at sundown on the first night and to say candle blessings on the first night. After saying the blessings, you should add another blessing on each successive night. You’ll find the blessings below.

Blessing #1

Baruch atah Adonai, Eloheinu Melech haolam, asher kid’shanu b’mitzvotav v’tsivanu l’hadlik ner shel Hanukkah.

Praised are you, Lord our God, Ruler of the universe, who made us holy through your commandments and commanded us to kindle the Hanukkah lights.

Blessing #2

Baruch atah, Adonai, Eloheinu Melech haolam, she-asah nisim la’avoteinu bayamim hahem bazman hazeh.

Praised are you, Lord our God, Ruler of the universe, who performed wondrous deeds for our ancestors in those ancient days of this season.

Blessing #3: Shehechiyanu (First Night Only)

Baruch atah Adonai, elohenu melech ha’olam, shehecheyanu, v’kiyimanu, v’higiyanu lazman hazeh

Praised are you, Lord our God, Ruler of the universe, who has given us life and sustained us, and enabled us to reach this season.

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