Holiday Blessings

On the first evening of Sukkot, you can make the meal special with opening rituals and blessings.

Lighting the Holiday Candles

Like many Jewish holidays, Sukkot begins at sundown with lighting candles. 

Light the candles and say the blessing:

בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יי אֱלֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם אֲשֶׁר קִדְּשָׁנוּ בְּמִצְוֹתָיו וְצִוָּנוּ לְהַדְלִיק נֵר שֶׁל (שַׁבָּת וְשֶׁל) יוֹם טוֹב.

Baruch ata Adonai, Eloheinu melech ha’olam, asher kideshanu bemitzvotav vetzivanu lehadlik ner shel (Shabbat v’shel) yom tov.

Dear God, Creator of our world, thank You for giving us rules that make our lives special and for teaching us to light these holiday candles.
 

(If Sukkot begins on Friday night – Shabbat – include the text in parentheses.)

Blessing the Children

The traditional “blessing of the children” is particularly meaningful on the Jewish fall holidays, when parents and grandparents can share with their children their hopes and wishes for the new year.

Parents (and grandparents) place their hands on a child’s head and say:

 

‬יְבָרֶכְךָ‭ ‬יי ‬וְיִשְׁמְרֶךָ. ‭ ‬יָאֵר‭ ‬יי ‬פָּנָיו אֵלֶיךָ‭ ‬וִיחֻנֶּךָּ. יִשָּׂא‭ ‬יי ‬פָּנָיו‭ ‬אֵלֶיךָ‭ ‬וְיָשֵׂם‭ ‬לְךָ‭ ‬שָׁלום.

Yevarechecha Adonai veyishmerecha.
Ya’er Adonai panav eilecha viyechuneka.
Yisa Adonai panav eilecha veyasem lecha shalom.

May God bless you and keep you safe.
May God’s light shine on you and grace your life.
May God turn toward you and give you a world of peace.

Or an alternative version:

Always be safe
Shine light in the world
And feel truly at peace with yourself

 

Kiddush
Blessing over Wine or Grape Juice

On Sukkot, the blessing over wine or grape juice has a special text focusing on this season of joy. Say the blessing and take a sip of wine or grape juice.

 

בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יי אֱלֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם בּוֹרֵא פְּרִי הַגָּפֶן.

Baruch ata Adonai, Eloheinu melech ha’olam, borei peri hagafen. 

Dear God, Creator of our world, thank You for the delicious fruit that grows on vines.

 

בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְיָ אֱלֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם אֲשֶׁר בָּחַר בָּנוּ מִכָּל עָם וְרוֹמְמָנוּ מִכָּל לָשׁוֹן וְקִדְּשָׁנוּ בְּמִצְוֹתָיו. וַתִּתֶּן לָנוּ יְיָ אֱלֹהֵינוּ בְּאַהֲבָה (שַׁבָּתוֹת לִמְנוּחָה וּ)מוֹעֲדִים לְשִׂמְחָה חַגִּים וּזְמנִּים לְשָׂשׂוֹן אֶת יוֹם (הַשַׁבָּת הַזֶה וְאֶת יוֹם) חַג הַסֻּכּוֹת הַזֶּה, זְמַן שִׂמְחָתֵנוּ (בְּאַהֲבָה) מִקְרָא קֹדֶשׁ זֵכֶר לִיצִיאַת מִצְרָיִם. כִּי בָנוּ בָחַרְתָּ וְאוֹתָנוּ קִדַּשְׁתָּ מִכָּל הָעַמִּים (וְשַׁבָּת) וּמוֹעֲדֵי קָדְשֶׁ (בְּאַהֲבָה וּבְרָצוֹן) בְּשִׂמְחָה וּבְשָׂשׂוֹן הִנְחַלְתָּנוּ. בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְיָ מְקַדֵּשׁ (הַשַׁבָּת וְ)יִשְׂרָאֵל וְהַזְמַנִּים.

Baruch ata Adonai, Eloheinu melech ha’olam, asher bachar banu mikol am, veromemanu mikol lashon, vekideshanu bemitzvotav. Vatiten lanu Adonai Eloheinu b’ahava (Shabbatot limenucha u-) moadim lesimcha chagim uzmanim lesason, et yom (haShabbat hazeh v’et yom) chag haSukkot hazeh, zman simchateinu (b’ahava) mikra kodesh, zecher liyetzi’at Mitzrayim. Ki vanu vacharta v’otanu kidashta mikol ha’amim, (v’Shabbat) umoadei kodshecha (b’ahava uv’ratzon) b’simcha uv’sason hinchaltanu. Baruch ata Adonai, mekadesh (haShabbat v’) Yisra’el vehazmanim.

Dear God, Creator of our world, You have given all the people in the world different ways of living and believing. Thank You for giving us the gift of being Jewish and rules and good deeds that help make us better people. On this festival of Sukkot, a time of great happiness, we remember how You took us out of slavery in the land of Egypt. Dear God, thank You for giving us this special holiday.

(If Sukkot begins on Friday night – Shabbat – include the text in parentheses.)
 

BLESSING FOR SITTING IN THE SUKKAH
Then say the following special blessing for sitting in the sukkah.

בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְיָ אֱלֹהֵינוּ מֶֽלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם אֲשֶׁר קִדְּשָֽׁנוּ בְּמִצְוֹתָיו וְצִוָּנוּ לֵישֵׁב בַּסֻּכָּה.

Baruch ata Adonai, Eloheinu melech ha’olam, asher kid’shanu b’mitzvotav v’tzivanu leisheiv basukkah.

Dear God, Creator of our world, thank You for this special opportunity to sit in the sukkah.

When eating in the sukkah for the first time this year, also add the following blessing:

בָּרוּךְ‭ ‬אַתָּה‭ ‬יְיָ אֱלֹהֵינוּ ‬מֶלֶךְ‭ ‬הָעוֹלָם‭ ‬
שֶׁהֶחֱיָנוּ‭ ‬וְקִיְּמָנוּ‭ ‬וְהִגִּיעָנוּ‭ ‬לַזְּמַן‭ ‬הַזֶּה.

 

Baruch ata Adonai, Eloheinu melech ha’olam, shehecheyanu vekiyemanu vehigi’anu lazman hazeh. 


Dear God, Creator of our world, thank You for keeping us 
alive so we can celebrate this important moment.

 

Washing Hands & Eating Challah

Before eating a meal, it is traditional to wash your hands and say this blessing:

 

בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יי אֱלֹהֵֽינוּ מֶֽלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם אֲשֶׁר קִדְּשָֽׁנוּ בְּמִצְוֹתָיו וְצִוָּנוּ עַל נְטִילַת יָדָֽיִם.

Baruch ata Adonai, Eloheinu melech ha’olam, asher kideshanu bemitzvotav vetzivanu al netilat yadayim.

Dear God, Creator of our world, thank You for giving us rules that make our lives special and for teaching us to wash our hands before we eat.

 

Say this blessing before eating challah:

 בְָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יי אֱלֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם הַמּוֹצִיא לֶחֶם מִן הָאָֽרֶץ.

Baruch ata Adonai, Eloheinu melech ha’olam, hamotzi lechem min ha'aretz.

Dear God, Creator of our world, thank You for bringing bread out of the earth.

(Some families dip challah in honey throughout the fall holidays.)

 

Shaking the Lulav and Etrog

It’s customary to shake a lulav and etrog in the sukkah on each morning of Sukkot. But shaking anytime is fine, especially if you’re all gathered together for a festive evening meal.

Hold the lulav in your right hand and the etrog in your left hand with the tip of the etrog pointing toward the ground. Bring the lulav and etrog together so they’re touching and say this blessing:

 

בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְיָ אֱלֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם אֲשֶׁר קִדְּשָֽׁנוּ בְּמִצְוֹתָיו וְצִוָּנוּ עַל נְטִילַת לוּלָב.

Baruch ata Adonai, Eloheinu melech ha’olam, asher kid’shanu b’mitzvotav v’tzivanu al netilat lulav.

Dear God, Creator of our world, thank You for this opportunity to shake the lulav.
 

 

Flip the etrog so its tip is pointing upward, and now you’re ready to shake. Hold the lulav and etrog out in front of you and shake it. Then out to your right, and shake. Then behind over your shoulder, and shake. Then out to your left, and shake. Then way up toward the sky, and shake.  And finally, down toward the ground, and shake.