Popular Hanukkah Songs

in About Hanukkah


In Judaism, every holiday (including the weekly Sabbath celebration) has its own special songs. Hanukkah is no exception! Because it is such a festive and joyous holiday, there are literally dozens of Hanukkah songs out there, from ancient ones to very modern ones. Here are some of the most popular Hanukkah songs!

Singing Hanukkah songs.

Hanukkah Blessings

The most well-known Hanukkah songs are actually the blessings sung while lighting the Hanukkah candles! In Jewish tradition, blessings are often sung, rather than spoken, so these blessings have become the most well-known songs out there.

The first blessing is:

Blessed are You, L-rd our G-d, King of the universe, who sanctified us with His commandments and commanded us to kindle the Hanukkah lights.

Barukh Atah Ado-noi Elo-heinu melech ha’olam, asher kid’shanu bi-mitzvo-sav, Vi-tzee-vanu li-had-leek ner shel Hanukkah.

The second blessing is:

Blessed are You, L-rd our G-d, King of the universe, who performed wondrous miracles for our ancestors, in those days, at this moment.

Barukh Atah Ado-noi Elo-heinu melech ha’olam, she’asah nisim l’avotenu bayamim hahem baz’man hazeh.

The third blessing, which is sung only on the first night of Hanukkah, is:

Blessed are You, L-rd our G-d, King of the universe, who has kept us alive, sustained us, and brought us to this moment.

Barukh Atah Ado-noi Elo-heinu melech ha’olam, sheheḥehyanu, v’kiy’manu, v’higianu lazman hazeh.

Ma’oz Tzur

Ma’oz Tzur means “Rock of Ages” and it is usually sung right after the Hanukkah blessings and the lighting of the candles. It was originally written as a poem, to commemorate all the times that G-d has saved the Jewish people from their enemies. Now, it is sung to the tune of an old German folk song. On Hanukkah, most people will sing just the first stanza, which goes like this:

Rock of ages, let our song
Praise Your saving power;
You, amid the raging foes,
Were our sheltering tower.
Furious they assailed us,
But Your arm availed us,
And Your word,
Broke their sword,
When our own strength failed us.

Ma-oz Tzur Y’shu-a-ti
Le-cha Na-eh L’sha-bei-ach
Ti-kon Beit T’fi-la-ti
V’sham To-da N’za-bei-ach
L’eit Ta-chin Mat-bei-ach
Mi-tzar Ha-mi-ga-bei-ach
Az Eg-mor B’shir Miz-mor
Cha-nu-kat Ha-miz-bei-ach
Az Eg-mor B’shir Miz-mor
Cha-nu-kat Ha-miz-bei-ach

The Dreidel Song

The Dreidel Song, also known as “I Have a Little Dreidel,” is one of the most well-known and popular children’s Hanukkah songs. There are several versions of it, including a Yiddish version called “Ikh Bin A Kleyner Dreydl,” which means “I Am a Little Dreidel.” These are the most popular and well-known lyrics:

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.

S’vivon

In Israel, the Hanukkah songs that are popular are slightly different from other places. S’vivon (or “Sevivon”) is probably the most well-known Hanukkah song in Israel. It is not normally sung in English, only Hebrew. (Although here is a translation so you can more easily understand.) The first stanza is standard, but the second stanza changes depending on whether or not you are in Israel.

First stanza:

Sevivon, sov, sov, sov (Dreidel, spin, spin, spin.)
Hanukkah, hu chag tov (Hanukkah is a great holiday.)
Hanukkah, hu chag tov (Hanukkah is a great holiday.)
Sevivon, sov, sov, sov! (Dreidel, spin, spin, spin!)

Second stanza (in Israel):

Sov na sov ko va’cho (Spin, please, spin like this and that.)
Nes gadol hayah poh (A great miracle happened here.)
Nes gadol hayah poh (A great miracle happened here.)
Sov na sov ko va’kho! (Spin, please, spin like this and that!)

Second stanza (outside of Israel):

Chag simcha hu la-am (A joyous holiday for the nation.)
Nes gadol hayah sham (A great miracle happened there.)
Nes gadol hayah sham (A great miracle happened there.)
Chag simcha hu la-am! (A joyous holiday for the nation!)

Modern Hanukkah Songs

There are many modern songs about Hanukkah that have become popular and even get played on the radio. One of these is Adam Sandler’s “The Chanukah Song,” which has many versions and is about Jewish children celebrating Hanukkah instead of Christmas. Another well-known song is “The Eight Days of Hanukkah” by Orrin Hatch and Madeline Stone. “Hanukkah Hey Ya” is a spoof of OutKast’s 2003 song “Hey Ya,” which Eric Schwartz (an American comedian) made. It became very popular after a group called Nefesh B’Nefesh organized a flash mob on Jerusalem’s popular Ben Yehuda street and filmed it.

There are many other Hanukkah songs out there, but these are the most popular and well-known ones. This Hanukkah, you will be prepared with lyrics to sing with family and friends about all the miracles that occurred!



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