A Guide To The Best Hanukkah Traditions

Whether a lifelong tradition or a first-time experience, Hanukkah is a cherished Jewish holiday. It runs from Dec. 7 to Dec. 15, distinct from Christmas. Rabbi Lenore Bohm clarifies it’s not a “Jewish Christmas” but a commemoration of a historic victory and a testament to faith. It’s marked by gift-giving, home décor, and the crucial menorah lighting. Discover the significance behind 20 beloved Hanukkah traditions.

Illuminating The Menorah

Rabbi Bohm emphasizes that the focal point of Chanukah is lighting the nine-branched candelabra, known as either a chanukiyah or a Chanukah menorah. She explains, “Every night, an additional candle is kindled for eight nights.”

Use The Shamash To Light The Menorah

Rabbi Bohm explains that the ninth candle, known as the shamash, holds a special place on the menorah. It is always kindled first and serves as the light source for the other candles. “This custom is wonderfully understated and elegant in its simplicity,” she remarks.

Pondering The Essence Of Hanukkah

Rabbi Bohm describes how family and friends gather around these modest lights, sensing the contrast between the brightness and the surrounding darkness (which, for some, may symbolize a world in turmoil). She notes, “With each passing night, the light grows stronger as an extra candle is ignited. It’s a poignant metaphor for spreading illumination and blessings worldwide.”

Women Refrain From Labor During Candle Burning

Ladies, take a moment to unwind! According to the Code of Jewish Law, Hanukkah candles serve as a reminder of the holiday’s significance and are not meant for any other use. notes that women refrain from working in the presence of the candles to avoid any appearance of using their light. It differs from the purpose of Shabbat candles.