Famous Blessings, Sayings, and Songs in Celebration of Hanukkah

Get a Peek at the Festival of Lights Through the Words of Others

A family celebrates the eighth day of Hanukkah with all candles lit on the menorah

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The name of this Jewish holiday can be spelled many different ways, but the two most widely accepted are Hanukkah and Chanukah. The holiday is also known as the Festival of Lights.

In honor of the celebration of Hanukkah, here are some blessings, proverbs, thoughts, and even a song from famous people such as American film producer Ralph Levy, American author Dave Barry, poet Hannah Senesh, and many others.

Dave Barry

"In the old days, it was not called the Holiday Season; the Christians called it 'Christmas' and went to church; the Jews called it 'Hanukkah' and went to synagogue; the atheists went to parties and drank. People passing each other on the street would say 'Merry Christmas!' or 'Happy Hanukkah!' or (to the atheists) 'Look out for the wall!'"

Chinese Proverb

"It is better to light a candle than to curse the darkness."

Allen Ginsberg

From: "Psalm III"

"Let the crookedness and straightness bespeak the light."

Ralph Levy

"Now, near the Winter Solstice, it is good to light candles. All the nice meanings of bringing light to the world can be beautiful. But perhaps we are concentrating on lighting the world because we don't know how to light up our own lives."

Hanukkah Blessing

"May This Festival of Lights bring Blessings

upon you and All Your Loved Ones for Happiness,

for Health, and for Spiritual and Material Wealth,

and May the Lights of Chanukah Usher in the Light of Moshiach

and a Better World for All of Humankind."

Rabbi David Hartman

"The major question, which we must ponder on Hanukkah, is whether the Jewish people can develop an identity that will enable it to meet the outside world without feeling threatened or intimidated. The choice, hopefully, need not be ghettoization or assimilation. We can absorb from others without being smothered. We can appreciate and assimilate that which derives from 'foreign' sources and at the same time feel firmly anchored to our particular frame of reference."

Emma Lazarus, The Feast of Lights

"Kindle the taper like the steadfast star

Ablaze on evening's forehead o'er the earth,

And add each night a lustre till afar."

Ralph Levy

"Hanukkah — Another View"

"We have focused on the miracle-thing and I think we often overlook the message of Hanukkah. To me, the core of the holiday is the cleaning of the temple... The accomplishment was in restoring the temple to the purpose for which it was built. Now think of the temple as a symbol. Perhaps it represents my life. The world has tried to use me for its own (perhaps good, but none-the-less extrinsic) purposes. But now I can rededicate myself to my own original purpose."

II Maccabees 10. 6-7

"They celebrated it for eight days with gladness like Sukkot 

and recalled how a little while before, during Sukkot, 

they had been wandering in the mountains and caverns like wild animals.

So carrying lulavs ... they offered hymns of praise 

to God who had brought to pass the purification of His own place."

Charles Reznikoff

From the poem: "Meditations on the Fall and Winter Holidays"

"The miracle, of course, was not that the oil for the sacred light —

in a little cruse — lasted as long as they say;

but that the courage of the Maccabees lasted to this day:

let that nourish my flickering spirit."

Adam Sandler

From the song: "The Hanukkah Song" 

Put on your yarmulke,

Here comes Hanukkah!

So much funukah,

To celebrate Hanukkah!

Hanukkah is the festival of lights.

Instead of one day of presents, we have eight crazy nights.

Hannah Senesh

"Blessed is the match consumed in kindling flame.

Blessed is the flame that burns in the secret fastness of the heart."