IsraeLightly’s Favorite Hanukkah Songs

Hanukkah time is sing-a-long time! So I’ve decided to share some of my favorite songs. Enjoy!
Most Israelis who have immigrated from the United States brought with them the following two songs:
Oh Chanukah, Oh Chanukah
English and Yiddish Version with lyrics
and The Dreidel Song
The Israeli cousin of The Dreidl Song is Sevivon
its transliterated lyrics are:
Sevivon, sov,sov, sov
Chanuka hu chag tov
Chanuka hu chag tov
Chag simcha who la-am
Nes gadol haya po
Nes gadol haya po
Chag simcha hu la-am.
Translation: Dreidel, spin, spin, spin.
Chanuka is a great holiday.
It is a celebration for our nation.
A great miracle happened here.
 
Ma’oz Tzur (Rock of Ages) is traditionally sung immediately after lighting the Hanukkiah.
There were many versions on you-tube to choose from, but I particularly enjoyed this one which shows Israel Defense Forces preparing for a performance. True, the camera work leaves a bit to be desired but the soldiers sure do sound good!
its transliterated lyrics are:
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 Mad-bei-ach
Mi-tzar Ha-mi-nave-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 English Version of the song is:
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.
 
Ner Li (My Candle) is gentle song and favorite amongst kindergarten aged Israeli children
Its transliterated lyrics are:
Ner li, Ner li
Ner li dakeek.
BaChanukah neri adlik.
BaChanukah neri yair.
BaChanukah shirim ashir (2x)
Translation:
I have a candle, a candle of light
On Chanukah my candle burns bright.
On Chanukah its light burns long
On Chanukah these songs I sing. (2x)
Another favorite amongst kindergarten aged Israeli children is the energetic Banu Hosheck Legarresh (We have come to Banish the Darkness)
Its transliterated lyrics are:
Banu choshech legaresh,
beyadeinu or va’esh.
Kol echad hu or katan,
vechulanu or eitan.
Surah choshech, hal’ah sh’chor!
Surah mipnei ha’or!
Translation:
We Came to Banish the Darkness.
In our hands is light and fire.
Everyone’s a small light,
and all together we are a firm light.
Fight the darkness, (get) rid of the blackness!
Banished before the light!
This following song is a Ladino (Judeo-Espan~ol) classic, its title “Ocho Kandelikas Para Mi” (Eight Little Candles for me) refers to the eight candles on the Hanukkia.
Here is a traditional rendition of the song.
and here is an updated, really rockin’ Polish version sung in Ladino (Judeo-Espan~ol)
and finally my favorite Hanukkah song “Mi Yimalel” (Who Can Retell)
its transliterated lyrics are:
Mi yemalel gvurot Yisra’el,
‘otan mi yimneh?
Hen bechol dor yaqum hagibor,
go’el ha’am.
Shma’! Bayamim hahem bazman hazeh,
Makabi moshia’ ufodeh,
uvyameinu kol ‘am Yisra’el,
yit’akhed, yaqum veyiga’el.
The Spanish translation is:
¿Quién relatará el heroísmo de Israel, quién lo ennumerará?
En cada generación surge un héroe
Redentor del pueblo.
Escuchen, en aquellos días en estos tiempos
El Macabeo dirigió Y en nuestros días todo el pueblo de Israel
Se levantará, reunirá y redimirá.
and the English translation is:
Who can retell,
the things that befell us,
Who can count them?
In every age a hero or sage,
Came to our aid.
Hark! In days of yore in
Israel’s ancient land,
Brave Maccabeus led the
faithful band.
But now all Israel must as one arise,
Redeem itself through deed and
sacrifice.
Who can retell,
the things that befell us,
Who can count them?
In every age a hero or sage,
Came to our aid
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