Hebrew for Chanukah
Here's some Hebrew help for anyone celebrating Chanukah! Learn how to spell Hannukka (or is it Hanukah?), how to wish people Happy Chanukah in Hebrew, how to light the candles and say the blessings. There's also a short blurb on the story of Chanukah.
How do you say happy Chanukah in Hebrew?
In English it's just fine to say "happy Chanukah" but even Jews who don't speak much Hebrew often know at least one of these greeting phrases.
- The most correct way is almost a direct translation: חֲנוּכָּה שַׂמֵחַ (audio) or Chanukah sameach.
- Another commmon way to say Happy Chanukah is chag Chanukah sameach חַג חֲנוּכָּה שַׂמֵחַ (audio) which means "happy holiday of Chanukah." Technically a chag is only one of the high holidays like Rosh Hashanah, and Chanukah is a minor Jewish holiday no matter how much kids love it! But many people say it this way.
- You can also drop the word Chanukah completely for the common holiday greeting of chag sameach: חַג שַׂמֵחַ (audio)
How do you spell Chanukah/Hannukka?
Quick answer: almost any way you want.
In Hebrew it's written חֲנֻכָּה (audio) and in English:
- H/Ch/Ḥ: The Chet/ח sound can be written with either H (close enough?), Ch (as in loch), Kh, or even Ḥ -- a special H with a dot to represent the sound.
- n/nn: The double n works with the usual English pronunciation that sounds like Honnikah (rhymes with Harmonica). The single n fits the Hebrew sound a bit better.
- End in h? It can end in h or not. The Hebrew ends in a Hey/ה.
If that's not confusing yet, that means you can use any of these spellings:
- ...and that's not even all of them!
Candles and Blessings
Here's some help for candle lighting!
Blessing on fulfilling the mitzvah of lighting the candles: בַּרוּךְ אַתָּה אֲדֹנָי אֱלֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הַעוֹלַם, אֲשֶר קִדְשָׁנוּ בּמִצְוֹתָיו, וְצִוָנוּ לְהַדְלִיק נֵר שֶל חֲנוּכָּה.
Blessing on the miracles of Chanukah: בַּרוּךְ אַתָּה אֲדֹנָי אֱלֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הַעוֹלַם, שֶׁעָשָׂה נִסִים לַאֲבוֹתֵינוּ, בַּיָמִים הָהֶם בַּזְמַן הַזֶה.
Only on the first night — Blessing in thanks for being alive to experience this moment: בַּרוּךְ אַתָּה אֲדֹנָי אֱלֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הַעוֹלַם, שֶׁהֶחֱיָנוּ וְקִיְמָנוּ וְהִגִיעָנוּ לַזְמַן הַזֶה.
Here are some videos with some more information about the candle lighting and blessings.