The Music of Christmas – Day 10: “Hannukah Blessings”

“Hannukah Blessings
By Barenaked Ladies

The Jewish religious holiday of Hannukah started at sundown tonight, and will go for the next eight days. Celebrating the miracle of the lights, when oil for lamps lasted days longer than it should, the menorah is lit every night to remember.

I’ll be honest. Growing up, I knew almost nothing about Hannukah and the Jewish faith, and what I did know turned out to be mostly inaccurate in varying degrees. So, all my knowledge of this holiday has come as an adult. And surprisingly, this song helped me in my education.

Barenaked Ladies released their holiday album in 2004, and co-lead singer Steven Page, although not completely enthused with the concept, wrote this song about his Jewish traditions at Hannukah.

It’s a very beautiful song that tells the story of Maccabees and the miracle, and it also explains the ritual of the menorah. And it includes traditional Hebrew blessings:

Barukh Atah Adonai
Elohaynu Melekh h’olom
Asher kid’shanu b’mitzvotav v’tzivanu
L’hadlik nehr shel hannukah

One translation of this is

Blessed are You, Lord our God, Ruler of the Universe, who has sanctified us with commandments, and commanded us to light Hanukkah candles.

The rest of BNL backup Steven both in harmonies and in instruments, leaving one with a sense of peace and contentment as they sing about the lights. It’s a great song for Hannukah, and it should be part of your holiday playlist.

Tomorrow — the dark horse for the Christmas #1.