I always love to picture the little boy, Yeshua, with his family in Natzaret during the Festival of Lights, Chanukah...how he would have listened with his brothers and sisters to the story of how there was only enough oil to light the lamp in the temple for one day. And how God caused that small bit of oil to last for eight days.
Even as we look forward to seeing the cheerful flickering flames grow in number each night, we look forward to speaking the blessings as we light the candles-- the same blessings that would have been spoken by Yeshua and his family as they lit the lamps.
Throughout the world, each night during Chanukah, members of the family will gather around their menorot - and recite the blessings below as part of the candle-lighting ceremony. The first two blessings are recited each night. The third blessing is only recited on the first night of Chanukah, when the menorah is kindled for the first time.
This evening, we will light only the shamash. It is the one candle that is raised higher than all the others in the menorah, and the one that is used to light all the candles, one by one on each night of Chanukah. Shamash means “helper” or “servant”……even as Yeshua came as the servant Messiah first, born of a woman. He remains our ever-present help, the One who lights our lives with truth and joy.
I hold the candle in my right hand and light it, speaking the 1st blessing.
Ba-ruch a-tah A-do-nai, El-o-hei-nu Me-lech Ha-O-lam, a-sher kid-de-sha-nu b’mitz-vo-tav, ve-tzi-va-nu, le-had-lik ner Cha-nu-kah.
Blessed are You, Lord our God, King of the universe, who has sanctified us with Your commandments, and has commanded us to kindle the lights of Hanukkah.
Blessing 2 This second blessing urges us to remember the miracles performed by Adonai for our ancestors. I place the candle in the menorah as I speak the second blessing.
Ba-ruch a-tah A-do-nai, El-o-hei-nu Me-lech Ha-O-lam, she-asa ni-sim la-avo-tay-nu ba-ya-mim ha-hem biz-man ha-zeh.
Blessed are You, Lord our God, King of the universe, who performed miracles for our forefathers in those days, at this time.
Blessing 3 This blessing is recited only on the first night (or the first time lighting the menorah this Chanukah):
Since I light the shumash tonight, I will not speak this third blessing on Tuesday evening when I will light the shumash and the first candle.
Ba-ruch A-tah A-do-nai E-lo-hei-nu Me-lech Ha-o-lam she-hechei-ya-nu ve-ki-yi-ma-nu ve-higi-a-nu liz-man ha-zeh.
Blessed are You, Lord our God, King of the universe, who has granted us life, sustained us, and enabled us to reach this occasion.
All praises to Adonai, for He sent light to a world filled with darkness…..even as it is now, in these days, so that we can celebrate His steadfast love and the gift of our salvation through Yeshua Whom He sent, Or ha’Olam….the Light of the World.
The following is from a presentation shared with a group of about 35 people from several house church congregations in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, USA on December 14, 2014
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