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Religious music:
Secular music:
Not Jewish in Form:
ClassicalMainstream and Jazz
Israeli Folk DancingBallet
HorahHava NagilaYemenite dance
HatikvahJerusalem of Gold
Adon OlamGeshemLekhah Dodi
Ma'oz TzurYedid NefeshYigdal
Music for Holidays
Music of the Haggadah
Ma NishtanaDayenuAdir Hu
Chad GadyaEchad Mi Yodea
Music of Hanukkah
BlessingsOh ChanukahDreidel Song
Al HanisimMi Y'malelNer Li

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

Chanukah blessings

There are three Chanukah blessings (Hebrew: בֵּרַכוֹת לֵחֲנוּכָּה Birchat L'Chanukah, Lit: Chanukah 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.

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 Chanukah lights." בָּרוּךְ אַתָה יי אֶלוֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הַעוֹלָם אֲשֶר קִדְשָנוּ בֵּמִצְווֹתַיו וְצִיוַונוּ לֵהַדְלִיק נֵר שֶל חֲנוּכָּה׃ baruch atah adonai eloheinu melech haolam asher kid'shanu b'mitzvotav v'tzivanu l'hadlik ner shel chanukah.
Blessed are You, Lord our God, King of the universe, Who performed wondrous miracles for our ancestors, in those days, at this moment." בָּרוּךְ אַתָה יי אֶלוֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הַעוֹלָם שֵעָשָׂה נִיסִים לַאֲבוֹתֵינוּ בַּיָמִים הַהֵם בַּזְמָן הַזֶה׃ baruch atah adonai eloheinu melech haolam shehasa nisim l'avotenu bayamim hahem bazman 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 אַתָה יְיָ אֶלוֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הַעוֹלָם שֵהֵחְיָנוּ וְקִיְימָנוּ וְהִגִעָנוּ לַזְמַן הַזֶה׃ baruch atah adonai eloheinu melech haolam shehechehyanu v'kiy'manu v'higianu lazman hazeh.

Maoz Tzur

Main articles: Maoz Tzur and Rock of Ages

"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 Chanukah, 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

Judas Maccabaeus is an oratorio by George Frideric Handel.

Oh Chanukah

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 Chanukah, The English version, along with I Have a Little Dreidel, is one of the most recognized English Chanukah songs. Both of these songs are playful songs with upbeat temp 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

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 Chanukah, 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 Chanukah song, "Sevivon" (Hebrew: סביבון sevivon) is Hebrew for "dreidel", where dreidel (Yiddish: 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
Chanukah, hu chag tov
Chanukah, hu chag tov
Sevivon, sov, sov, sov!

(In Israel)
Sov na sov ko va'cho
Nes gadol haya po
Nes gadol haya po
Sov na sov ko va'cho!

Chag simcha hu la-am
Nes gadol haya sham
Nes gadol haya sham
Chag simcha hu la-am.

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

Listen to Moshe Skier singing it [4]

Al Hanisim

Al Hanisim (or Al Hanissim) is a popular Hebrew song for Chanukah taken from liturgy (see Hanukkah → Additions to the daily prayers), and is also a Israeli folk dance. The song is about thanking God for saving the Jewish people.

Mi Y'malel

Mi Y'malel (or Mi Yimalel) (Hebrew: מי ימלל "Who can retell?") is a very well known Hebrew Chanukah 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." There also exists an English version, called "Who Can Retell," with words based on the Hebrew. The English below is that English version.

Hebrew Transliteration from Hebrew English (loosely-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 days of yore in Israel's ancient land
Brave Maccabeus led the faithful band
But now all Israel must as one arise
Redeem itself through deed and sacrifice.

Ner Li

Literally translated as "I have a candle," Ner Li is a simple Hebrew Chanukah song that is popular in Israel. The words are by L. Kiplis 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 Chanukah, my candle I will light.
On Chanukah my candle will glow
On Chanukah I will sing songs.

Light One Candle

"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

Ocho kandelikas

Main article: Ocho kandelikas.

Ocho kandelikas (Eight Little Candles) is a simple but lively song in the Ladino language by the Sephardi Jewish songwriter, Flory Jagoda. It describes a child's joy at the coming of the holiday, with its parties, special food and eight candles to be lit in the menorah. The lyrics consist largely of the numbers one to eight in Ladino.

The Chanukah Song

A series of popular Chanukah songs by Adam Sandler each a slightly different version that all center around the theme of Jewish children feeling isolated during the Christmas season and Sandler's listing of Jewish celebrities. The song often gets a lot of airplay during the winter holiday season.

Eight Days of Hanukka

Eight Days of Hanukka is a Hanukkah song written by Senator Orin Hatch and Madeline Stone, a Jewish songwriter from the Upper West Side of Manhattan who specializes in Christian music at the suggestion of Jeffrey Goldberg.[4]

Hanukkah Hey Ya


Nefesh B'Nefesh Hanukkah Flash Mob (Official NBN Release)

Hanukkah Hey Ya, is a Chanukah spoof of a chart-topping 2003 OutKast song, “Hey Ya!,” by American comedian Eric Schwartz. The song was made into a popular e-card in 2004.[5] In 2009 Nefesh B'Nefesh produced a Hanukkah Flash Mob viral video that became a major success.[6] The mob assembled on Jerusalem's Ben Yehuda Street and was choreographed by new immigrant Marvin Casey. [7][8]


  1. 1.0 1.1 University of Pennsylvania Library: Freedman Collection of Recorded Jewish Music
  4. A Senator’s Gift to the Jews, Nonreturnable, MARK LEIBOVICH December 8, 2009 , New York Times [1]
  5. December 1, 2009, Smooth-E’s Jewtronic Music-Making, By Ryan Torok, Jewish Journal of Los Angeles, [2]
  7. Feeling the beat, By YAEL BRYGEL, Jerusalem Post, June 3, 2009 [3]

External links

See also