Songs for Hanukkah

Songs for Hanukkah

Songs Following Lighting the Candles

Ha-neirot Hallalu

Following lighting the candles, it is customary to sing the paragraph Ha-neirot Hallalu, which makes explicit the purpose of our lighting the menorah and the prohibition of making practical use of the light it casts:

Ha-neirot ha-lalu anu madlikim al ha-nisim v’al ha-nifla’ot v’al ha-t’shu’ot v’al ha-milhamot.
She-asita la-avoteinu ba-yamim ha-heim ba-z’man ha-zeh.
Al y’dei kohanekha ha-k’doshim.

V’khol sh’monat y’mei Hanukkah, ha-neirot ha-lalu kodesh heim,

V’ein lanu r’shut l’hishtameish ba-heim, ela lirotam bilvad, k’dei l’hodot u-lhaleil l’shim’kha ha-gadol, Al nisekha v’al nifl’otekha v’al y’shu’atekha.

הַנֵּרוֹת הַלָּלוּ שֶׁאָנוּ מַדְלִיקִין, עַל הַנִּסִּים וְעַל הַנִּפְלָאוֹת וְעַל הַתְּשׁוּעוֹת וְעַל הַמִּלְחָמוֹת, שֶׁעָשִׂיתָ לַאֲבוֹתֵינוּ בַּיָּמִים הָהֵם בַּזְּמַן הַזֶּה, עַל יְדֵי כֹּהֲנֶיךָ הַקְּדוֹשִׁים.

וְכָל שְׁמוֹנַת יְמֵי הַחֲנֻכָּה הַנֵּרוֹת הַלָּלוּ קֹדֶשׁ הֵם

וְאֵין לָנוּ רְשׁוּת לְהִשְׁתַּמֵּשׁ בָּהֶם, אֶלָּא לִרְאוֹתָם בִּלְבָד, כְּדֵי לְהוֹדוֹת וּלְהַלֵּל לְשִׁמְךָ הַגָּדוֹל עַל נִסֶּיךָ וְעַל נִפְלְאוֹתֶיךָ וְעַל יְשׁוּעָתֶךָ.

These lights which we kindle recall the wondrous triumphs and the miraculous victories wrought through Your holy Kohanim for our ancestors from ancient days until our time.

These lights are sacred
through all the eight days of Hanukkah.

We may not make use of their light, but are only to look upon them, and thus be reminded to thank and praise You for the wondrous miracle of our deliverance.

Maoz Tzur

This is followed by the singing of Ma·oz Tzur (Rock of Ages), the most famous of all Hanukkah songs. Below you will find the first verse.

Ma’oz tzur y’shu’ati, 
L’kha na’eh l’shabei’ah,

Tikon beit t’filati, 
V’sham todah n’zabei’ah,

L’eit takhin matbei’ah, 
Mi-tzor hamnabei’ah,

Az egmor b’shir mizmor, 
Hanukkat ha-mizbei’ah.

מָעוֹז צוּר יְשׁוּעָתִי לְךָ נָאֶה לְשַׁבֵּחַ.
תִּכּוֹן בֵּית תְּפִלָּתִי וְשָׁם תּוֹדָה נְזַבֵּחַ.
לְעֵת תָּכִין מַטְבֵּחַ מִצָּר הַמְנַבֵּחַ.
אָז אֶגְמוֹר בְּשִׁיר מִזְמוֹר חֲנֻכַּת הַמִּזְבֵּחַ.

Rock of Ages, Let our song 
Praise Your saving power.

You amid the raging throngWere our sheltering tower.

Furious they assailed us,
But Your help availed us.

And Your word broke their sword
When our own strength failed us.

Other Songs

S'vivon Sov Sov Sov

S’vivon sov sov sov, Hanukkah hu hag tov, Hanukkah hu hag tov,  S’vivon sov sov sov.

Hag simhah hu la-am, Neis gadol hayah sham, Neis gadol hayah sham, Hag simhah hu la-am.

סְבִיבוֹן סֹב סֹב סֹב, חֲנֻכָּה הוּא חַג טּוֹב,
חֲנֻכָּה הוּא חַג טּוֹב, סְבִ יבוֹן סֹב סֹב סֹב.

חַג שִמְחָה הוּא לַעָם, נֵס גָדוֹל הָיָה שָם,
נֵס גָדוֹל הָיָה שָם, חַג שִמְחָה הוּא לַעָם.

Dreidel, spin, spin, spin;
Hanukkah is a great holiday.

A joyous holiday for the nation;
A great miracle happened there.

(L.Kipnis)

Hanukkah, Hanukkah

Hanukkah, Hanukkah,
Hag yafeh kol kakh,

Or haviv misaviv gil l’yeled rakh.

Hanukkah, Hanukkah, S’vivon sov sov,

Sov sov sov, Sov sov sov, Mah na’im v’tov.

חֲנֻכָּה, חֲנֻכָּה, חַג יָפֶה כָּל כְָּך,
אוֹר חָבִיב מִסָבִיב, גִיל לְיֶלֶד רַךְ.
חֲנֻכָּה, חֲנֻכָּה, סְבִיבוֹן סֹב סֹב,
סֹב סֹב סֹב, סֹב סֹב סֹב, מַה נָעִים וְטּוֹב.

Hanukkah, What a nice holiday:

Lovely light all around, fun for children.

Hanukkah: the dreidel spins, how wonderful.

Hanukkah, Oh Hanukkah - Y'mei ha-Hanukkah

Y’mei ha-Hanukkah hanukkat mikdasheinu,

B’gil u-vsimhah m’mal’im et libeinu,

Lailah va-yom s’vivoteinu yisov,

Sufganiyot nokhal bam la-rov.

Ha’iru, hadliku, neirot Hanukkah rabim!

Al ha-nisim v’al ha-nifla’ot asher hol’lu ha-makabim. (x2)

יְמֵי הַחֲנֻכָּה חֲנֻכַּת מִקְדָשֵנוּ,
בְגִיל וּבְשִמְחָה מְמַלְאִים אֶת לִבֵנוּ,
לַיְלָה וָיוֹם סְבִיבוֹנֵנוּ יִסֹב,
סֻפְגָנִיוֹת נֹאכַל בָם לָרֹב.
הָאִירוּ, הַדְלִיקוּ, נֵרוֹת חֲנֻכָּה רַבִים!
עַל הַנִסִים וְעַלהַ נִפְלָאוֹת אֲשֶר חוֹלְלוּ הַמַכַּבִים. (2 פעמים)

Hanukkah, oh Hanukkah,
Come light the Menorah.

Let’s have a party,
We’ll all dance the hora.

Gather round the table,
We’ll all have a treat.

S’vivon to play with,
And latkes to eat.

And while we are playing,
The candles are burning bright

One for each night,
They shed a sweet light to remind us of days long ago.(x2)

Mi Y'maleil

Mi y’maleil g’vurot Yisrael,
Otan mi yimneh?

Hein b’khol dor
Yakum ha-gibor, Go’eil ha-am.

Sh’ma!

Ba-yamim ha-heim ba-z’man ha-zeh
Makabi moshi’a u-fodeh,

U-vyameinu kol am Yisrael,
Yitaheid yakum v’yiga’el.

מִי יְמַלֵל גְבוּרוֹת יִשְרָאֵל, אוֹתָן מִי יִמְנֶה?
הֵן בְכָל דוֹר יָקוּם הַגִבוֹר, גוֹאֵל הָעָם.
שְמַע!
בַיָמִים הָהֵם בַזְמַן הַזֶה
מַכַּבִי מוֹשִיעַ וּפוֹדֶה,
וּבְיָמֵינוּ כָּל עַם יִשְרָאֵל, יִתְאַחֵד יָקוּם וְיִגָאֵל.

Who can retell the things that befell us, Who can count them?

In every age, a hero or sage came to our aid.

Hark!

In days of yore in Israel’s ancient land. Brave Maccabeus led the faithful band.

But now all Israel must as one arise, Redeem itself through deed and sacrifice.

(Judith K. Eisenstein)

I Have a Little Dreidel

I have a little dreidel, I made it out of clay.
And when it’s dry and ready, then dreidel I shall play!

It has a lovely body, with legs so short and thin.
And when my dreidel’s tired, it drops and then I win!

[chorus]

My dreidel’s always playful, it loves to dance and spin.
A happy game of dreidel, come play now, let’s begin!

[chorus]
(S.E. Goldfarb and S.S. Grossman)

Neir Li

Neir li, neir li, neir li dakik,
Ba-Hanukkah neiri adlik.
Ba-Hanukkah neir ya’ir,
Ba-Hanukkah shiri ashir.

נֵר לִי, נֵר לִי, נֵר לִי דָקִיק.
בַחֲנֻכָּה נֵרִי אַדְלִיק.
בַחֲנֻכָּה נֵרִי יָאִיר,
בַחֲנֻכָּה שִירִי אָשִ יר.

I have a fine candle;
I will light it on Hanukkah.
On Hanukkah, my candle will bring light;
On Hanukkah I will sing my song.
(L.Kipnis)

Adapted with permission from the Rabbinical Assembly.

Author

  • Reena Bromberg Gaber is a student in the Joint Program with Columbia University and the Jewish Theological Seminary. At school, she is involved with Columbia/Barnard Hillel, Gamma Phi Beta, the Columbia Daily Spectator, and Artists Reaching Out. Growing up, Reena was involved with the Conservative movement, including many summers as a camper and staff member at Camp Ramah in the Poconos and in local, regional, and international leadership positions in USY. As Reena moves through college and into adulthood, she is excited to find a space for herself and her peers in the Conservative movement.

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