Hanerot Halalu – הַנֵּרוֹת הַלָּלוּ
Translation – These Candles.
These candles that we light, we light them for the miracles.
These candles that we light, on all eight nights of chanukah.
On these miracles, and on these wonders, on these salvations, and on these comforts
That You did for our ancestors in that time on these days.
And throughout these eight days, these candles before us are holy. We don’t use them for any purpose other than to gaze and remember. To give gratitude and praise for the miracles and wonders.
Melody by Rabbi Josh Warshawsky
Lyrics: Hanukkah Blessings Service
Do Less. A Hanukkah Lesson:
the blessing of just being. 🔥 The Mitzvah of Presence.
These candles that we light, we light them for the miracles –
Hanerot halalu anachnu madlikim al hanisim.
When I speak to children about Judaism, I tell them that to me, Judaism is all about awareness. It’s about noticing the things that are happening in the world around us and giving our lives meaning and intention. That’s what a brachah, a blessing, really is. A marking of a moment in time. When we light candles for Hanukkah and for Shabbat and other holidays, we say a brachah. When we see a rainbow, there’s a brachah that we say. When we meet a new person for the first time or even see someone we haven’t seen in a long time, there’s a brachah that we say. We are marking these moments in time and saying that they are important.
Especially during these times when we need a little bit more light and a little more connection, counting and noticing blessings is incredibly important. On Hanukkah after we say the blessings over the candles, we sing two songs: Ma’oz Tzur and Hanerot Halalu. Many Jews are familiar with Ma’oz Tzur, and I believe that is less true for Hanerot Halalu. And even those who do know it don’t necessarily realize the power and wisdom of these particular words.
Hanerot Halalu teaches us about the laws related to lighting the candles. We light these candles, and then what are we allowed to with them? Answer: Nothing. We can’t do anything with them. “V’ein lanu reshut lehishtamesh bahem, ela lir’otam bilvad.” “We do not have permission to do anything with them, just look at them.”
How rare it is to be told just to do nothing! Just bask in the glow of the candles, be together with family, be present. We light these lights, and the next step for us is to find a way to just be. Sit and enjoy and breathe and witness. That’s the blessing and commandment connected to these lights of Hanukkah. I wrote this melody to bring this blessing to light. As we sing it and light these Hanukkah lights, I hope you find a moment to sit and enjoy, to hug a loved one, to feel the warmth of presence next to you, and to be a light, a warmth, and a presence to others too.
Chag Urim Sameach, Happy Festival of Lights!
Hanerot Halalu by Rabbi Josh Warshawsky
Lyrics: Hanukkah Blessings Service
Executive Producer: Marc and Susan Sacks
Sponsored by: Congregation Beth Judea, Long Grove, IL
and the Kripke Institute
Produced and mixed by Jeremy Lawrence
Engineered by Patrick Kehrier and Tyler Karmen
Additional Audio Editing by Josh Kay and Patrick Rimterakul
Mastered by Mike White
Vocal arrangements and production by Ayo Awosika
Musical direction by Brock Pollock
Recorded at 64 Sound in Highland Park, CA
Directed by Dustin Warren
Produced by The Matterworks
Cinematography by Dustin Warren and Ricky Sanchez
Edited by Dustin Warren
Featuring the Chaverai Nevarech Band:
Coleen Dieker (Vocals)
Josh Warshawsky (Guitar, Vocals)
Brock Pollock (Music Producer, Bass)
Ayo Awosika (Vocal Producer, Vocals)
Duvid Swirsky (Lead Guitar, Bouzouki, Banjo, Vocals)
Chava Mirel (Vocals)
Deborah Sacks Mintz (Vocals)
Jackson Vance Mercer (Vocals)
Lior Shragg (Percussion)
Jenni Asher (Violin)