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There are varying customs as to the text of the bracha we recite before lighting the menorah.
Ashkenazim generally end the blessing with the words:
.לְהַדְלִיק נֵר שֶׁל חֲנֻכָּה
However, Hasidim (at least in the far eastern dynasties such as Lubavitch, Breslov, and Skver, I don't really know about the other dynasties) generally end the blessing differently, reciting
.לְהַדְלִיק נֵר חֲנֻכָּה
instead of the aforementioned ending, I have heard that this was the custom of the Arizal.
I have several questions concerning the above:
- What is the grammatical difference between the two versions? Both seem to (in my mind) translate out to "to kindle the Chanukah lights".
- Where does the school of the Arizal write that it was his custom to recite להדליק נר חנכה, omitting the של from the traditional Ashkenazi rendering? What is the reason for this?
- I would assume that if it was the Arizal's custom to end the blessing להדליק נר חנכה, Sephardim would also render the blessing that way, since they generally follow the Arizal for nusach. How do Sephardim conclude the blessing?
- Scholars generally agree that the customs of the Yemenite Jewry seem to be most ancient. How to the Yemenites conclude the blessing?
- Is there a place in the Gemara or other early Rabbinic work (such as Rambam) which outlines the text for the blessing, and which text does it follow?
I apologize for the many questions but they seem to me all related; if this question is asking too many sub questions I'd be more than happy to split them up into separate questions.