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What blessing is recited when lighting the High Holiday candles?

by Rabbi Naftali Silberberg

  

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Rosh Hashanah:


On Rosh Hashanah we recite the following:


Baruch atta Ado-noy Elo-hai-nu Melech ha'olam asher kid-e-sha-nu b'mitz-vo-tav v'tzi-vanu li-had-lik ner shel Yom Ha-zi-kar-on.
[Blessed are you, Lord our G-d, King of the universe, who has sanctified us with His commandments, and commanded us to kindle the light of the Day of Remembrance.]


If Rosh Hashanah Eve falls on Friday night, instead of the above we recite the following blessing on the first night of the holiday:


Baruch atta Ado-noy Elo-hai-nu Melech ha'olam asher kid-e-sha-nu b'mitz-vo-tav v'tzi-vanu li-had-lik ner shel Shabbat v'Yom Ha-zi-kar-on.
[Blessed are you, Lord our G-d, King of the universe, who has sanctified us with His commandments, and commanded us to kindle the light of Shabbat and the Day of Remembrance.]


The candle-lighting blessing is followed by the Shehecheyanu:1  


Baruch atta Ado-noy Elo-hai-nu Melech ha'olam she-he-che-yanu, v'kee-manu, v'hee-gee-anu l'zman hazeh.
[Blessed are you, Lord our G-d, King of the universe, who has granted us life, sustained us and enabled us to reach this occasion.]


Yom Kippur:


On the eve of Yom Kippur we recite the following:


Baruch atta Ado-noy Elo-hai-nu Melech ha'olam asher kid-e-sha-nu b'mitz-vo-tav v'tzi-vanu li-had-lik ner shel Yom Ha-kee-Purim.
[Blessed are you, Lord our G-d, King of the universe, who has sanctified us with His commandments, and commanded us to kindle the light of the Day of Atonement.]


If Yom Kippur Eve falls on Friday night, then the following blessing is recited instead:


Baruch atta Ado-noy Elo-hai-nu Melech ha'olam asher kid-e-sha-nu b'mitz-vo-tav v'tzi-vanu li-had-lik ner shel Shabbat v'Yom Ha-kee-purim.
[Blessed are you, Lord our G-d, King of the universe, who has sanctified us with His commandments, and commanded us to kindle the light of Shabbat and the Day of Atonement.]


The Shehecheyanu blessing is then recited.2


[Ed. note: also read "How does Holiday candle-lighting differ than Shabbat candle-lighting?"]

Footnotes

  • 1. The two days of Rosh Hashanah are halachically considered “one long day.” Therefore there is doubt whether the Shehecheyanu blessing is recited on the second night. It is thus customary for the woman to wear a new garment, or place "new fruit" (that she hasn't eaten this season) on the table. Since the new garment or fruit is sufficient reason to recite the Shehecheyanu, we thus avoid any doubt regarding the appropriateness of the blessing. If no new garment or fruit is available, the Shehecheyanu is still recited.
  • 2. The woman who recites the Shehecheyanu blessing while lighting the candles, omits this blessing from the conclusion of the Kol Nidrei prayer. The men recite this blessing in lieu of the Shehecheyanu normally recited during the holiday kiddush.

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Holidays » Rosh Hashanah » Laws and Customs

Shabbat
(pl: Shabbatot). Hebrew word meaning "rest." It is a Biblical commandment to sanctify and rest on Saturday, the seventh day of the week. This commemorates the fact that after creating the world in six days, G-d rested on the seventh.
Rosh Hashanah
The Jewish New Year. An early autumn two day holiday marking the creation of Adam and Eve. On this day we hear the blasts of the ram's horn and accept G-d's sovereignty upon ourselves and the world. On Rosh Hashanah we pray that G-d should grant us all a sweet New Year.
Shehecheyanu
A blessing recited on joyous occasions. The blessing thanks G-d for "sustaining us and enabling us to reach this occasion."
Yom Kippur
Day of Atonement. This late-autumn high-holiday is the holiest day of the year. We devote this day to repentance and all healthy adults are required to fast.
Purim
A one-day holiday celebrated in late winter commemorating the miraculous deliverance of the Jewish people from a decree of annihilation issued by Persian King Ahasuerus in the year 356 BCE.
G-d
It is forbidden to erase or deface the name of G-d. It is therefore customary to insert a dash in middle of G-d's name, allowing us to erase or discard the paper it is written on if necessary.