Jerusalem poet Chaya Kaplan-Gafni has written a series of 8 kavanot (meditations) to be read after candlelighting, one for each of the eight nights of Hanukkah. In addition she offers an opening meditation to recite immediately before the blessings for candlelighting.


Hanukkah honors the house. It is the Maccabees' renowned rededication of the House, the House of Holiness, the Beit Hamikdash. It is the lighting of the fire in the heart, the hearth, the home of a People.

Hanukkat Habayit is the celebration of settling into a new home, a housewarming party of a sacred sort. It's as if with every move to a new house we celebrate a miniature Hanukkah. For each home is the manifestation of the Holy Temple in our times, in our own lives. Thus our four walls call for a Hanukkah — a dedication — the lighting of the fire that warms and sanctifies ou space.

And Hanukkah's lighting of house is no less than the illumination of the inner Self. For the Self, with her secret stairways, her observing windows, her half-closed doors, is a many-storied home, the abode of the soul.

Our task on these eight nights is to rededicate the Temple, in our own times, in our own lives; each night illumines a new aspect of self, lighting a new alcove of our inner House of Holies.

(to be recited before lighting the candles)

I am ready to light the first (second, etc) candle of Hanukkah and here I stand ready to rededicate myself to achieve higher levels of personal holiness and illumination in a world of shadows. Tonight's candle is dedicated to _________________.

(Enter your own value for the whole family or ask each person to dedicate it to their own personal value).

The first Hanukkah light Dedicated to Darkness: The Cellar
The second Hanukkah light
Dedicated to Ascension: The Stairway
The third Hanukkah light
Dedicated to Decisions: The Hallway
The fourth Hanukkah light
Dedicated to the Senses: The Dining Room
The fifth Hanukkah light
Dedicated to Defiance: The Outer Courtyard and the Inner Will
The sixth Hanukkah light
Dedicated to Rebirth: The Bedroom
The seventh Hanukkah light
Dedicated to "Advertising the Miracle": The Light in the Window
The eighth Hanukkah light
Dedicated to Dedication: The Open Door to Redemption

From: Naom Zion & Barbara Spectre, eds., A Different Light: The Big Book of Hanukkah, Copyright © 2000 by Noam Zion (New York: Devora Publishing Co.; Jeruasalem: The Shalom Hartman Institute))



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