web analytics
December 20, 2014 / 28 Kislev, 5775
 
At a Glance
Blogs
Sponsored Post
8000 meals Celebrate Eight Days of Chanukah – With 8,000 Free Meals Daily to Israel’s Poor

Join Meir Panim’s campaign to “light up” Chanukah for families in need.



These Candles: The Prayer that Went Viral

I had often wondered, if Jews love Israel so much, why didn't they just get up and come here. The Mahram's Aliyah attempt showed that Jews did.
The Maharam of Rothenburg adopted the custom of saying the "These Candles" declaration.

The Maharam of Rothenburg adopted the custom of saying the "These Candles" declaration.

In honor of the Palestinians recently getting UN recognition, I dedicate my article to ancient Palestinian traditions.  :)

On Chanukah, while lighting candles, we declare we’re lighting the candles for Chanukah, and that we’re not allowed to benefit from their light.

This declaration, in Hebrew known as “Ha-Nerot Hallalu” (These Candles) appears in the  “Tractate of the Scribes” (Masechet Sofrim).  In this early Halachik work, written in Israel around the 8th century (the Gaonic Era), we have a description of the ceremony of lighting Hanukkah candles, as it was done in ancient Israel.

On the first day, the person lighting the candles blesses upon lighting them.  He then states the following  declaration (translation based on the Rabbi Birnbaum’s siddur):

We light these candles on account of the triumphs and miracles and wonders which You performed for our fathers through Your holy priests.  Throughout these eight days of Hanukkah, these candles are sacred, and we are not permitted to make any use of them, but we should observe them in order to praise Your great name for Your wonders and Your miracles and Your triumphs.

The person lighting then adds two additional blessings: Shehecheyanu and the blessing over the Hanukkah miracle (Al Ha-Nissim).  The  participants repeat the last two blessings.

On the other days of the holiday, the person lighting the candles blesses upon lighting the candles and makes the aforementioned Declaration. The participants say  the blessing for the Hanukkah miracle.

This Israeli custom was generally forgotten and was not mentioned by any other Halachic books in  the centuries following .

That is, until the 13th century,  when the Israeli tradition was revived thanks to the custom of a German Rabbi.  Rabbi Meir of Rothenburg, also known as the Maharam of Rothenburg, loved the Israeli traditions.  He adopted the custom to say the “These Candles” declaration, based on the language of Masechet Sofrim.

His students reported this custom, and the prayer went viral.  The custom to say “Ha-Nerot Hallalu” was adopted all across the Jewish world by both Ashekanzi and Sephardi communities.

The Maharam of Rothenburg didn’t just love Israel from afar.  In 1286 he led dozens of Jewish families towards Israel.  However, he didn’t make it.  He was caught in Italy and accused of leading a mass escape from Germany, a crime at the time, as the Jews were by then property of the king.  He was imprisoned and died in a dingy pit, sacrificing his life for the right of return to Palestine!

An edict confiscating the property of the “escaping” Jews, documents that they came from various towns in Germany: Mainz, Worms, Speyer, Oppenheim and Wetterau.

I had often wondered, if Jews love Israel so much, why didn’t they just get up and come here.  The Mahram’s Aliyah attempt showed that Jews did.   They weren’t always successful, many times they perished on the way or soon after they got here, but they continued trying.  Over and over again.

We now have the privilege of retuning to our homeland. We can now adhere to the original Israeli custom of lighting the candle by the door of our homes or the gate of our yard, without fear.  When we recite “Ha-Nerot Hallalu”, we should remember its origin in that obscure period of Palestinian history, and the great leader who died in a dark pit but spread the light of hope and salvation around the Jewish world.

Visit the Muqata.

About the Author:


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “These Candles: The Prayer that Went Viral”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

muqata logo 486x300
Current Top Story
funny rocket joke
Israel Retaliates: Hits Terror Tunnel Cement Factory
Latest Blogs Stories
Alan Gross (L)

Did Cuba apologize for their spies the way Israel apologized for Pollard?

Torah scroll. (illustrative only)

Nothing binds Jews together more than Torah observance; Or so one would think.

tinsel-314750_1280

Sukkah tinsel decorations enjoy a robust market but are invariably manufactured for “another”holiday

PM Benjamin Netanyahu with Yishai and Tamar Fogel, survivors of an Arab terror attack which killed their parents and 3 siblings.

A number of Israeli papers regurgitated a biased AP article on settlement growth, but they should have read it more carefully before hitting publish.

Many of the battles of the Maccabees were right here in the Shiloh area.

Both Labor and Likud are expected to get more seats in the upcoming elections.

Get a straight answer from Edward de Bono to the question: What is lateral thinking?

Jewish communities worldwide commemorate Yehudit during Chanukah by eating dairy foods in her honor

Israel’s problem isn’t Indyk, Obama, UN, NGOs or even the media; Our problem is much closer to home.

None of the attacks on Jewish & property should come as a surprise in light of the Temple Mount.

No surprise! Israel is now being blamed for Ziad Abu Ein’s death.

How does the new U.S. tax amnesty affect American citizens living in Israel and abroad?

The party chiefs are acting drunk and childish – making stupid mistakes and inadvertently showing their true selves – just like on Purim.

A day dedicated to Torah&tradition; a day of great joy and of great sadness- a brit and a burial.

Who was this Minister of Rage, Ziad abu Ein, and what did he do to qualify for his position as a senior minister in the PA?

JoeSettler explains the electoral mess we’re in, and a possible solution for fixing it.

More Articles from Orat@Muqata
Eilat

From the Islamic sources, it is clear that Eilat had a significant Jewish population, which existed for hundreds of years after the Muslim conquest.

F130114MH01

Two people have reported snow in the late May-early June, though in both cases, it was hearsay.

Jews of 14th century Jerusalem celebrated Purim on both the 14th and 15th of Adar.

Historically, the Christian residents of Bethlehem did not identify themselves as Arabs.

I had often wondered, if Jews love Israel so much, why didn’t they just get up and come here. The Mahram’s Aliyah attempt showed that Jews did.

A year after the Crusaders captured Jerusalem, they turned to conquer Israel’s coastal cities. Haifa’s Jewish community is mentioned in the Genizah documents. The city was one of three forts (מבצר) that we know of – Haifa, Dan (Banias) and Rafah (Rafiah). Each had a major Jewish community. Haifa was probably mostly Jewish, if not exclusively so, with a small Muslim military presence. The story of Haifa’s conquest, in the summer of 1100, is reported by Christian chroniclers.

We’re now entering the period when we begin to pray for rain. Lack of rain was often an excuse to persecute the Jews, specifically those living in Jerusalem. There are quite a few examples from our history of this rain libel, which was very often linked to the ‘sin’ of drinking wine.

The main holiday events took place on the last day of Sukkot, Hoshana Raba. The Gaon would lead the people around the Temple Mount, and then the crowd made its way to the Mount of Olives. After they climbed the mountain, they circled it seven times. A monumental stone marked the spot where God looked over the Temple Mount. The Gaon would sit on this stone as he spoke to the assembled crowd.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/blogs/muqata/these-candles-the-prayer-that-went-viral/2012/12/09/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: