Hanukkah Songs in Traditional and Popular Culture

As Hanukkah begins, we celebrate with light, food, and song. The Jewish people have centuries of songs to commemorate our long history and the turning of the Jewish calendar. Here are several traditional and modern songs about Hanukkah.

Maoz Tzur

Maoz Tzur, a well-known Hanukkah song, is sung each night after lighting the Hanukkah candles. This 13th century piyyut, Jewish poem, recalls and celebrates the deliverance of the Jewish people by HaShem from four ancient enemies: Pharoah (the Exodus), Nebuchadnezzar (Babylonian captivity), Haman (Purim), and Antiochus IV Ephiphanes (Hanukkah). The first stanza, which is often the only one sung at Hanukkah, expresses prayer and praise to God, the Rock of salvation.

Hebrew English Transliteration English Translation

מָעוֹז צוּר יְשׁוּעָתִי
לְךָ נָאֶה לְשַׁבֵּחַ
תִּכּוֹן בֵּית תְּפִלָּתִי
וְשָׁם תּוֹדָה נְזַבֵּחַ.

Maoz tzur y’shuati
l’cha naeh l’shabeach
Tikon beit t’filati
v’sham todah n’zabeach.
Refuge, Rock of my salvation:

To You it is a delight to give praise

Restore my House of prayer,

לְעֵת תָּכִין מַטְבֵּחַ
מִצָּר הַמְנַבֵּחַ.
אָז אֶגְמוֹר בְּשִׁיר מִזְמוֹר
חֲנֻכַּת הַמִּזְבֵּחַ.

L’eit tachin matbeach
mitzar hamnabeach
Az egmor b’shir mizmor
chanukat hamizbeach
So that there I may offer You thanksgiving.

When You silence the loud-mouthed foe,

Then will I complete, with song and psalm, the altar’s dedication.

 

The Maccabeats

Here are some fun Hanukkah parodies of pop songs by the orthodox Jewish a capella group called the Maccabeats.

Latke Recipe

 

Candlelight – Hanukkah

 

Children’s Songs

Hanukkah is a time for family celebrations and parties for children of all ages. Here are some links to well-known Hanukkah songs for children.

Sevivon sof, sof sof (spinning top)

 

Hanukkah, Oh Hanukkah

We hope you are having a wonderful, musical holiday – chag sameach!

This post was written by MJTI Academic Dean Rabbi Dr. Vered Hillel.

For more articles about Hanukkah, watch how to do the Hanukkah blessings, learn about Hanukkah traditions, watch how to make your own Hanukkiah, read a Biblical argument for Hanukkah, and read a Biblical argument for Hanukkah.

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