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Hanukkah music (or Chanukah music) (Hebrew: שירי חנוכה‎) contains several songs associated with the festival of Hanukkah.

Hanukkah blessings[edit]

There are three Hanukkah blessings (Modern Hebrew: בְּרָכוֹת לֵחֲנֻכָּה Berakhot Laḥanukka, Lit: Hanukkah blessings) that are sung for lighting the candles of the menorah. The third blessing (shehecheyanu) is only sung on the first night. After the two or three blessings are sung, Hanerot Halalu is chanted. The following blessings are transliterated according to proper Modern Hebrew.

English Hebrew Transliteration
Blessed are You, Lord our God, King of the universe, Who sanctified us with His commandments and commanded us to kindle the Hanukkah lights. בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יי אֱלֹהֵנוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם אֲשֶׁר קִדְּשָׁנוּ בְּמִצְווֹתָיו וְצִוָּנוּ לְהַדְלִיק נֵר שֶׁל חֲנֻכָּה׃ Barukh Atta Ado-nai Elo-heinu melekh ha'olam, asher kiddeshanu be-mitzvotav, Ve-tzee-vanu le-had-leek ner shel ḥanukka.
Blessed are You, Lord our God, King of the universe, Who performed wondrous miracles for our ancestors, in those days, at this moment. בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יי אֱלֹהֵנוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם שֶׁעָשָׂה נִסִּים לַאֲבוֹתֵינוּ בַּיָּמִים הַהֵם בַּזְּמַן הַזֶּה׃ Barukh Atta Ado-nai Elo-heinu melech ha'olam, she'asah nissim la'avotenu bayamim hahem baz'man hazeh.
Blessed are You, Lord our God, King of the universe, Who has kept us in life, sustained us, and brought us to this moment. בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יי אֱלֹהֵנוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם שֶׁהֶחֱיָנוּ וְקִיְּמָנוּ וְהִגִּיעָנוּ לַזְּמַן הַזֶּה׃ baruch Atta adonai eloheinu melekh ha'olam sheheḥehyanu vekiyy'manu vehiggi'anu lazman hazeh.

Maoz Tzur[edit]

"Ma'oz Tzur" (Hebrew: מעוז צור‎), also a widely known English version as "Rock of Ages", is a Jewish liturgical poem or piyyut. It is written in Hebrew, and is usually sung on the holiday of Hanukkah, after lighting the festival lights. Its six stanzas correspond to five events of Jewish history and a hope for the future. Of its six stanzas, often only the first stanza is sung (or the first and fifth), as this is what directly pertains to Hanukkah. "Ma'oz Tzur" was written sometime in the 13th century.

Judas Maccabaeus[edit]

Judas Maccabaeus is an oratorio by George Frideric Handel. During Hanukkah, the melody for "See, the Conqu’ring Hero Comes" is used by Spanish and Portuguese Jewish communities for the hymn En Kelohenu.

Mrs. Maccabeus[edit]

To the tune of "Oh Hanukkah." By Ben Aronin of Congregation Anshe Emet in Chicago.

Light One Candle[edit]

Oh Chanukah[edit]

"Oh Chanukah" (also "Chanukah, Oh Chanukah") is an English version of the Yiddish "Oy Chanukah" (Yiddish: חנוכּה אױ חנוכּה Khanike Oy Khanike). The English words, while not a translation, are roughly based on the Yiddish. "Oy Chanukah" is a traditional Yiddish Chanukah song and the English version, along with "I Have a Little Dreidel," is one of the most recognized English Chanukah songs. Both songs are playful with upbeat tempo and are sung by children. The lyrics are about dancing the horah, eating latkes, playing dreidel, lighting the candles and singing happy songs.

I Have a Little Dreidel[edit]

"I Have a Little Dreidel"[1] (also known as the "Dreidel Song"[1]) is a very famous song in the English speaking world for Hanukkah, which also has a Yiddish version. The Yiddish version is Ikh Bin A Kleyner Dreydl, (Yiddish: איך בין אַ קלײנער דרײדל Ikh Bin A Kleyner Dreydl Lit: I am a little dreidel). The English version of the song is well associated with the festival of Hanukkah, and is known by many Jews and non-Jews alike. The lyrics of the song are simple and about making a dreidel and playing with it. The lyrics are as follows:

I have a little dreidel
I made it out of clay,
And when it's dry and ready
O dreidel I shall play.
O dreidel dreidel dreidel
I made it out of clay,
And when it's dry and ready,
O dreidel I shall play.


A popular Hebrew Hanukkah song, "Sevivon" or "S'vivon" (Hebrew: סביבון sevivon) is Hebrew for "dreidel", where dreidel (Hebrew: דרײדל dreydl) is the Yiddish word for a spinning top. This song, "Sevivon," is very popular in Israel and by others familiar with the Hebrew language. The English below is a literal translation, not an English version.

Hebrew Transliteration from Hebrew English Literal Translation

סֵבִיבוֹן סב סב סב
חנכּה הוא חג טוב
חנכּה הוא חג טוב
סֵבִיבוֹן סב סב סב

(In Israel)
סב נא סב כה וכה
נס גדול היה פה
נס גדול היה פה
סב נא סב כה וכה

חַג שִׂמְחָה הוּא לַעָם
נֵס גָדוֹל הָיָה שָם
נֵס גָדוֹל הָיָה שָם
חַג שִׂמְחָה הוּא לַעָם

Sevivon, sov, sov, sov
ḥanukah, hu ḥag tov
ḥanukah, hu ḥag tov
Sevivon, sov, sov, sov!

(In Israel)
Sov na sov ko va'cho
Nes gadol hayah poh
Nes gadol hayah poh
Sov na sov ko va'kho!

ḥag simḥa hu la-am
Nes gadol hayah sham
Nes gadol hayah sham
ḥag simḥa hu la-am.

Dreidel, spin, spin, spin.
Hanukkah is a great holiday.
Hanukkah is a great holiday.
Dreidel, spin, spin, spin.

(In Israel)
Spin, please, spin like this and that.
A great miracle happened here.
A great miracle happened here.
Spin, please, spin like this and that.

A joyous holiday for the nation.
A great miracle happened there.
A great miracle happened there.
A joyous holiday for the nation.

Al Hanisim[edit]

"Al Hanisim" (or "Al Hanissim") is a popular Hebrew song for Hanukkah taken from liturgy (see Hanukkah → Special additions to the daily prayers), and is also an Israeli folk dance. The song is about thanking God for saving the Jewish people. The most popular tune, however, is relatively recent, having been composed by Dov Frimer in 1975.[citation needed]

Mi Y'malel[edit]

"Mi Y'malel" (or "Mi Yimalel") (Hebrew: מי ימלל "Who can retell?") is a very well known Hebrew Hanukkah song. The opening line, which literally means "Who can retell the mighty feats of Israel," is a secular rewording of Psalms 106:2, which reads "Who can retell the mighty feats of God." Below is a singable version of this song called "Who Can Retell," with words based on the Hebrew, as well as a literal translation.

Hebrew Transliteration from Hebrew English (singable version) English (alternate lyrics) English (literally translated version)

מי ימלל גבורות ישראל
אותן מי ימנה
הן בכל דור יקום הגיבור
גואל העם

בימים ההם בזמן הזה
מכבי מושיע ופודה
ובימינו כל עם ישראל
יתאחד, יקום ויגאל

Mi yimalel gvurot Yisrael,
Otan mi yimne?
Hen be'chol dor yakum ha'gibor
Goel ha'am!

Ba'yamim ha'hem ba'zman ha'ze
Maccabi moshia u'fode
U'v'yameinu kol am Yisrael
Yitached yakum ve'yigael!

Who can retell the things that befell us,
Who can count them?
In every age, a hero or sage
Came to our aid.

In this time of year in days of yore
Maccabees the Temple did restore
And tonight our people as we dream
Will arise, unite, and be redeemed.

Who can retell the things that befell us,
Who can count them?
In every age, a hero or sage
Came to our aid.

In days of yore in Israel's ancient land
Brave Maccabeus led his faithful band
But now all Israel must as one arise
Redeem itself through deed and sacrifice.

Who can tell of the heroic deeds of Israel?
Who can count them?
Yes in every generation a hero arises
To save the people.

In those days at this time
The Maccabee saved and redeemed
But in our days the whole people Israel
Will unite, arise, and save.

Ner Li[edit]

Literally translated as "I have a candle," "Ner Li" is a simple Hebrew Hanukkah song that is popular in Israel. The words are by L. Kipnis and the music, by D. Samburski.[2]

The transliteration of the Hebrew is as follows:
Ner li, ner li, ner li daqiq,
Bakhanukah neri 'adliq.
Bakhanukah neri ya'ir
Bakhanukah shirim 'ashir.[3]

The literal translation is:
I have a candle, I have a small thin candle
On Hanukkah, my candle I will light.
On Hanukkah my candle will glow
On Hanukkah I will sing songs.

Chanukah Chanukah[edit]

Another traditional Chanukah folk song with origins in Israel is Chanukah, Chanukah Words by Levin Kipnis Transliterated and translated by Gila Ansell Brauner of Jerusalem, Israel [4]

Chanukah, Chanukah, Chag yafeh kol kach Or chaviv, misaviv, Gil leyeled rach.

Chanukah, Chanukah, Sevivon sov sov Sov sov sov, sov sov sov, Mah na'im vatov.


Chanukah, Chanukah, What a lovely holiday! Cheerful lights around us shine, Children have fun and play.

Chanukah, Chanukah, The dreidel spins and spins. Spin your top until it stops, Have a good time, see who wins!

חנוכה חנוכה עממי מילים: לוין קיפניס לחן: עממי

חנוכה, חנוכה, חג יפה כל כך אור חביב מסביב, גיל לילד רך. חנוכה, חנוכה, סביבון סוב סוב סוב נא סוב, סוב נא סוב מה נעים מה טוב.

Non-traditional songs[edit]

(I'm Spending) Hanukkah in Santa Monica[edit]

"(I'm Spending) Hanukkah in Santa Monica" is a song written by satirist singer-songwriter and mathematician Tom Lehrer.[5]

Light One Candle[edit]

"Light One Candle" is a 1983 Hanukkah song written by Peter Yarrow of Peter, Paul, and Mary. It is a very popular song and it has been sung by the trio at their concerts. It is a song that encourages the Jewish people to remember the history of the holiday and continue their heritage.

The Chanukah Song[edit]

The Chanukah Song is a series of popular Hanukkah songs by Adam Sandler that are each a slightly different variation of a list of Jewish celebrities listed by Sandler for Jewish children who feel isolated during the Christmas season. It begun as a skit on Saturday Night Live and then appeared on his album What the Hell Happened to Me?. Due to its popularity, Sandler recorded three follow-ups of the song. The songs often gets airplay during the winter holiday season.

Eight Days of Hanukka[edit]

"Eight Days of Hanukka" is a Hanukkah song written by Senator Orrin Hatch and Madeline Stone, a Jewish songwriter from the Upper West Side of Manhattan who specializes in Christian music. The song was written at the suggestion of Jeffrey Goldberg.[6]

Hanukkah Hey Ya[edit]

"Hanukkah Hey Ya" is a Hanukkah spoof of a chart-topping 2003 OutKast song, "Hey Ya!," by American comedian Eric Schwartz. The song was made into an e-card in 2004.[7] In 2009 Nefesh B'Nefesh produced a Hanukkah Flash Mob viral video that became a major success.[8] The mob assembled on Jerusalem's Ben Yehuda Street and was choreographed by new immigrant Marvin Casey.[9][10]


"Candlelight" is a song written and sung by The Maccabeats, an undergraduate a cappella group at Yeshiva University. The song is a cover parody of "Dynamite" by Taio Cruz, with lyrics retelling the Hanukkah story. It was released in late 2010 and quickly achieved viral status.[11][12][13] Since 2010, The Maccabeats have produced an annual Hanukkah music video.[14]


  1. ^ a b University of Pennsylvania Library: Freedman Collection of Recorded Jewish Music
  2. ^ "Custom On-line Liturgy". Retrieved 2011-08-22. 
  3. ^ "Ner Li". Zemerl. Retrieved 2011-08-22. 
  4. ^
  5. ^ Beckerman, Gal (20 December 2011). "Hanukkah in Santa Monica". Jewish Daily Forward. Retrieved 17 December 2014. 
  6. ^ Mark Leibovich (December 8, 2009). The New York Times. "A Senator's Gift to the Jews, Nonreturnable"
  7. ^ December 1, 2009, Smooth-E's Jewtronic Music-Making, By Ryan Torok, Jewish Journal of Los Angeles, [1]
  8. ^ "Hanukkah Flash Mob". Urlesque. 2009-12-16. Retrieved 2011-08-22. 
  9. ^ Feeling the beat, By YAEL BRYGEL, Jerusalem Post, June 3, 2009
  10. ^ "Nefesh B'Nefesh Hanukkah Flash Mob (Official NBN Release)". YouTube. 2009-11-23. Retrieved 2011-08-22. 
  11. ^ Hesse, Monica (4 December 2010). "Harmony group's Hanukkah anthem lights a fire on Web". The Washington Post. Retrieved 27 March 2017. 
  12. ^ Berger, Joseph (6 December 2010). "A Hanukkah Miracle, Set to Music". The New York Times. Retrieved 27 March 2017. 
  13. ^ Freeman, Paul (16 March 2016). "Love of music and faith combine in The Maccabeats". The Mercury News. Retrieved 27 March 2017. 
  14. ^ Fierberg, Ruthie (16 December 2016). "This Music Video Tells the Channukah Story, Hamilton Style". Playbill. Retrieved 22 March 2017. 

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