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Holiday Central > Chanukah > Menorah  > Lighting Songs
Sing Along When Lighting the Menorah
By: Rivka C. Berman, Contributor
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 Hanerot Halahlu Kosdesh Hem  
 Ma'oz Tzur

Ha-Ne-Roat Halah-lu Ko-desh Hem
These Candles Are Holy

Some tie strings around their fingers to remember important items on the to-do list. At chanukiyah lightings, Jews sing to remember a what not to do.

HaNay-roat Ha-lah-lu, These Candles, recalls the reason the candles are lit and the reason why the light is not used for any household purpose.


 
Ha-ne-roat Ha-lah-lu These candles 
Ah-nu mad-lee-keen That we light
Al Ha-nissim Are for the miracles
V'al ha-nif-lah-ot The wonders
V'al ha-te'shu-ot The salvation
V'al ha-mill-khah-mot The battles
Sheh-ah-see-tah That you fought (lit.did)
La'ah-vote-ay-nu For our ancestors
Bah-yah-meem In those days
Bah-zman hah-zeh At this time (of year)
Al yeh-day co-ha-ne-kha hak-doe-shim Through your holy kohen-priests (the Maccabees)
Veh-coal sh'mon-at yeh-may Chanukah And all eight days of Chanukah
Ha-nay-rot ha-lah-loo ko-desh hem These candles are holy
V'ain lah-noo reh-shoot And we do not have permission
leh-heesh-tah-mesh ba-hem To use them
El-ah leer-ot-am bil-vad But just to behold them
Ke-day l'hoe-dote In order to give thanks
Oo-l'hall-el And to praise
Et shim-kha hah-ga-dole To Your great name
Al nee-seh-kha About Your great miracles
V'al nif-loa-te-kha And Your wonders
V'al yeshu-ah-te-kha And Your salvations

Ma'oz Tzur - Rock of Ages 
Rock of Ages suffers from generations of hummage. The first line is memorable and so is the moving melody, but what is the song about anyway.

The first five (yes five) were written around the 13th century apparently by a man named Mordechai, who thoughtfully left his initials into the first letter of each stanza, a then-common literary flourish. The song praises God for stepping in and saving the Jewish people at critical moments in history. It highlights key historic triumphs in the Jewish saga beginning with the redemption from Egypt, the return from the Babylonian exile, Purim's last-minute save from annihilation, the triumph for religious freedom on Chanukah. The song ends with a prayer for the end of the current exile. Some versions of this stanza's stirring words call for God's vengeance over the Jewish blood that other nations had spilt. Scholars believe stanza six was composed around 1500 C.E.
 
Ma'oz tzur yeh-shoe-ah-ti O mighty stronghold of my salvation
L'kha nah-eh l'sha-bay-akh to praise you is a pleasure
Ti-kon bait te-feel-ah-ti fix my house of prayer
V'sham toe-dah nez-ah-bay-akh and there we will offer a gift of thanks
L'eight ta-khin mat-bay-akh when the time comes that you will have
Me-tzar ha-meh-na-bay-akh prepared the slaughter for the blaspheming foe
Az egg-more b'shir meez-more then I will complete with song and praise
Chanu-kat ha-meez-bay-akh to the dedication of the altar

Click the following for more interesting information about the Menorah and its traditions: 


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