Lighting the Candle Night 3

Hanukkah Night 3

On this night, we now light 3 candles on our Hanukkah Menorah.  Once again first the Shamash (center) candle is lit, and operates as the servant candle to light the other 3 candles.  The candles are then lit from the farthest right to the left (just like the Hebrew language is read from right to left).  3 candles in addition the Shamash candle now shine brightly!

Candle Lighting Blessing:

Barukh attah Adonai Eloheinu Melekh Ha’olam asher kideshanu bemitzvotav vetzivanu lehadlik ner shel Chanukah.

“Blessed art thou, Lord our God, King of the universe who sanctifies us with Thy commandments and commanded us to kindle the lights of Chanukah!”

Traditional Reading of Night 3:  Numbers 7:24-7:35

The Dreidel Game:

A dreidel is a pointy four sided top that spins.  There are four Hebrew letters written on the four sides, נ (Nun – Miracle/Nes), ג (Gimmel – Great/Gadol), ה (Hey – Was/Happened/Hayah), ש (Shin – There/Sham), making the phrase “A Great Miracle Happened There”.

It is normally played with gold chocolate coins, also known as “gelt”, if the player spins a Nun = nothing, they neither gain nor lose, a Gimmel = you win everything (all the “gelt” that is piled in the center), a Hey = you win half of the “gelt”, and a Shin = you lose everything, all your coins must go into the pile.

At first glance this seems like a children’s game and nothing more.  Yet the dreidel is far more than just a means of entertainment.  Notice that there are 4 sides, just as there are 4 kingdoms prophesied to come against Israel – Babylon, Persia, Greece, & Rome.  In 587 BCE, the Holy Temple was destroyed and the exile into Babylon began.  The sages teach that the Temple is connected with the nephesh, the soul of man, it is our connection to Yahweh, and it is our nephesh that brings the offering to His Holy Temple (Leviticus 2:1 – “When a soul/nephesh will bring an offering…”).  Nephesh begins with the letter Nun and so this kingdom of Babylon connects us to this first side of the Dreidel.

With Persia, Haman attempted to destroy the entire population of the Hebrews in his midst.  His was a threat to the physical body, the guf.  Guf starts with the Gimmel, therefore Persia connects us to this side of the dreidel.

When Greece came along, they attempted to attack the Wisdom of the Torah, changing the way of thinking to a Greek mindset.  They attacked the sechel/the wisdom.  They attempted to Hellenize the Hebrews and eradicate true wisdom leaving only a superficial form of it in its stead.  Sechel/Wisdom starts with the Shin and so Greece is connected to this side of the dreidel.

Finally we have Rome.  Rome was a compilation of all the other exiles, rolled into one.  They destroyed the Temple, attempted to annihilate the physical population of the Hebrews, and also destroy the wisdom of Torah.  Rome was “hakol” – “all” of the above.  Hakol starts with the letter Hey, connecting Rome to this final side of the dreidel.

When we look at the dreidel we see four sides spinning around the point, four great kingdoms who would revolve around the point that is Israel and Yahweh’s nation.  Yet we’re reminded that it is the hand from above that spins!  Every empire thought they would last forever and be victorious, yet their rise and their fall is in the hands of Yahweh.  They are used for His purpose and His purpose alone.  Yet it is Israel, those that stand upright before Yahweh, that will endure.

And finally, remember that each letter has a numerical value.  Nun = 50, Gimmel = 3, Hey = 5, and Shin = 300; the total value found on the dreidel = 358, the same value as Mashiach/Messiah!  It is the Messiah that will rule and it is He, the anointed One, that brings us light at this festival!

Hanukkah Recipe: 

Applesauce Recipe:

4 pounds apples
1 lemon
2 cinnamon sticks
½ cup apple juice, cider or water
Honey, brown sugar or maple syrup to taste.

Quarter the apples and the lemon. Place in a heavy pot with the cinnamon sticks. Add apple juice, cider or water.

Cover, bring to a boil, and then simmer over low heat, stirring occasionally to turn the apples and making sure they do not stick. You may want to add some liquid. Cook about 20 minutes, or until apples are soft. Remove cinnamon sticks.

Put the sauce through a food mill and adjust seasoning by adding honey, brown sugar or maple syrup to taste.

Copyright Joan Nathan. (Courtesy of

Hanukkah Music/Video: