Tonight at sundown, the Jewish festival of Hanukkah begins, so to mark this occasion, I thought I’d share this sumptuous image by Jewish artist Elena Kotliarker, titled The Lilies and Menorah. Rich in symbolism, the painting captures the joy of this festival, as butterflies, peacocks, and exotic flowers sweep across the canvas in a riot of jewel tones. The menorah, which is lit, candle by candle, over the eight nights and days of Hanukkah, sits to the left, its candle glow radiating a bright warmth across the entire image.
Traditionally, on the first night of Hanukkah, the following three blessings are said before the kindling of the menorah light. On subsequent nights, the first two of these blessings are recited.
1. Ba-ruch A-tah Ado-nai E-lo-he-nu Me-lech ha-olam a-sher ki-de-sha-nu be-mitz-vo-tav ve-tzi-va-nu le-had-lik ner Cha-nu-kah.
2. Ba-ruch A-tah Ado-nai E-lo-he-nu Me-lech Ha-olam she-a-sa ni-sim la-avo-te-nu ba-ya-mim ha-hem bi-zman ha-zeh.
3. Ba-ruch A-tah Ado-nai E-lo-he-nu Me-lech Ha-olam she-heche-ya-nu ve-ki-yi-ma-nu ve-higi-a-nu liz-man ha-zeh.
1. Blessed are You, Lord our G-d, King of the universe, who has sanctified us with His commandments, and commanded us to kindle the Chanukah light.
2. Blessed are You, Lord our G-d, King of the universe, who performed miracles for our forefathers in those days, at this time.
3. Blessed are You, Lord our G-d, King of the universe, who has granted us life, sustained us, and enabled us to reach this occasion.
For the next couple of days, my colleague Nick Thompson will be taking over the Advent blog posts while I’m at a conference. So I’ll see you all on Wednesday and, in the meantime, Happy Hanukkah when it arrives!