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The Customs of Hanukkah
נרות החנוכה
The most important custom of Hanukkah is kindling the light
Our Rabbis instructed us:
These Candles are Holy. We don’t have permission to use them as a light source, but merely to look upon them.
Hanerot halalu kodesh hem, ve-eyn lanu reshut lehishtamesh ba-hem ela lir-ortam bilvad.

He who lights the candles of the Hanukiyah, recites these two blessings, shtey brachot:

Habracha harishona, the first blessing:
Blessed are you, Lord our G-d, King of the universe, who has sanctified us by His commandments and has commanded us to kindle the lights of Hanukkah.
Baruch ata Adonay, Eloheynu melech ha-olam, asher kidshanu bemizzvotav, ve-zzivanu lehadlik Ner shel Chanuka.

Habracha hashniya, the second blessing:
Blessed are you, Lord our G-d, King of the universe, who performed miracles for our ancestors, in those ancient days, at this season
Baruch ata Adonay Eloheynu melech ha-olam, asher asa nisim la-avoteynu, bayamim ha-hem bazman haze.

On the first night of the Hanukkah, we also say bracha shlishit, a third blessing:
Blessed are you, Lord our G-d, King of the universe, who has given us life and sustained us and enabled us to reach this time.
Baruch ata Adonay Eloheynu melech ha-olam, shehecheyanu, ve-kiyemanu vehigianu lazman haze.

We light the candles on a special Hanukkah nine-branch candelabrum.
We should remember!
It is different than another great symbol of Judaism, the Menorah which is a seven-branch candelabrum

On the Holiday, it is a custom to give Hanukkah money

It is a custom to eat Latkes – levivot and doughnuts – sufganiyot.
They are all deep-fried in oil, to remind us of the miracle of the container of oil, which, even though it contained a small amount, still lasted for eight days.

“A great miracle happened there”
To remind us of the great victory of spirit over power we play the Sevivon – the Dreidel
On the side panels of the Sevivon we find four Hebrew letters. Nun, Gimel, Hey and depending if you're in or out of Israel – Pey or Shin.
The Nun stands for nes – a miracle
Gimel is gadol – great
Hey, Haya – was
Pey stands for Po – here and Shin stands for Sham- there. Svivonim in Israel have the Pey and outside of Israel, the Shin.

A Game for Hanukkah

Find the words listed below and circle them.
The words can appear from left to right, top to bottom or diagonally. Behazzlacha!

sufganyot nes kad hashemen
levivot gadol chanuka
sevivon haya chanukia
menora po shamash
makabim matityahu ner
chashmonain antiyochus or


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What's New on Learn Hebrew Pod

Lesson 32: In Honor of the Hanukkah

Chanuka is the Holiday of Lights. Let's join Eran, Liat and Jonathan as they cook sufganyot and levivot while singing beautiful Holiday songs in Hebrew.
Listen to Lesson 32 on our website

Lesson 31: A Letter from Paris

Take a stroll down the Chanzelize and along the Seine, visit the Eiffel Tower and the Louvre, experience the scents of Paris and the taste of fine wine.
Listen to Lesson 31 on our website

The Matching Game

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Vocabulary Game - Jewish Holidays 2

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