On the first day of Hannukah three blessings are said. On the remaining days only the first two blessings are said. I always feel that the accidental notes on the word "ner" (light) musically represent the flickering of a flame.
The following recording is of the Rev. Eliezer Abinun, of blessed memory, singing the S&P chant for the Berachot and Hanerot Halalu in his own inimitable way. (Thanks to Daniel Halfon for this.)
♫ Blessings and Hanerot Halalu [EA]
The blessings chanted by the late lamented Hazan Eliezer Abinun of Lauderdale Road Synagogue, London.
There is no getting away from the fact that Maoz Tzur is an Ashkenazi poem, but it has become inseparable from the modern observance of Hannukah, even among Sephardim, and it appears in the more recent editions of the London S&P prayerbook. The commonly known melody comes in two versions: The "original" German one, and a somewhat anglicized (and in my opinion, superior) adaption by Anglo-Jewish composer Julius Mombach (1813-1880).
♫ Maoz Tzur (Mombach) [JC]
Read more about this hymn, and hear German, English, Italian and Lithuanian melodies for it, on the Maoz Tzur page.
Although it is almost unheard of for a recognizable secular tune to be incorporated into the S&P liturgy, there is a single noteworthy exception: En Kelohenu at the end of the service on Shabbat Hanukkah is sung to the tune of "See the Conquering Hero Comes" from Handel's Oratorio "Judas Maccabeus". The following recording comes from the CD A Sephardi Celebration, and is reproduced with permission. (The CD notes suggest that the S&P tune may predate Handel, but that is just wishful thinking. It is far more likely that members of the London community present when the oratorio premiered in London, were so moved that they incorporated it into the synagogue repertoire. )
♫ En Kelohenu (Hannuka) [SC]
Important note: The above recording is not in the public domain. I received permission to post it here but unlike the other recordings on this site, no use may be made of it without permission from the copyright owners.
♫ Adon Olam (Mombach) [JC]
Note: The hannukiot shown above are (left to right):
- Brass, presented to Amsterdam S&P Synagogue in 1629,
- Silver, made in 1770 by Isaac van Wijk, presented to Amsterdam S&P Synagogue in 1877.
- Silver, made in 2007 for Bevis Marks Synagogue by silversmith Rabbi Eiran Davies (the design is a simplified version of the synagogue's Renaissance style Ark).