Chanuka Presents

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    I was shopping for presents yesterday and I asked the cashier to giftwrap one for me and there was this Jewish woman behind me who began ranting about how ‘Christmasy’ it is to give presents on Chanuka and how it’s not in the spirit of the Yom Tov… I told her to mind her own business (in nicer words) and I left.

    But then I started thinking. Why do we give presents on Chanuka? Anyone know? Do you give them? Why/Why not??


    she was right. Present giving come from the christmas season. Chanuka tradition is giving gelt not presents.


    Some people really have lost the ability to censor what comes out of there mouths it is absolutely horrible that she said this to you if i were you my response would not have been so nice.


    GOQ- What about the lofty praise and spiritual accomplishments of those who the Gemara describes as “those who are insulted and do not respond” are compared to Avraham Avinu and the stories of people who having come upon a person who had self control were asked for a Bracha for MAJOR things and it was answered by Hashem?? Is that to belittle or to be inspired by?

    Queen Bee

    I’m not an expert here, so I’m not sure if giving presents comes from Xmas, but I heard that parents give their kids presents to get them excited for Chanukah. True giving gelt can get them excited, too, but I know that when I was a kid, all I wanted was toys toys toys, and I couldn’t care less about money.


    Goq- I’ll admit I was not so nice. I’m a little embarrassed to repeat what I said because I think she meant well but still…


    What she said was terrible, she has no idea what level of religious observance the op has to inflict her viewpoint in such a way to a stranger to me is disgusting. As far as what you say Rabbaim i guess i am not on such a lofty level.


    I think presents started because for young kids the money is meaningless so they appreciate the present more. this just spread to adults cuz its much classier to give a gift than to give money.


    This q was actually just on Halacha For Today’s newletter. I’ll copy it here:

    Reader’s Question:

    Where is the makor (source) in minhagim seforim or even Halacha to give gifts on Chanukah?

    I strongly believe it is none other than chukas hagoyim one hundred percent.Chanukah gelt perhaps has a source, however, this business of giving gifts? Where does that originate from? I am hoping that perhaps you can change my opinion.


    The Poskim disucuss this and conclude that it isn’t a problem of Chukas HaGoyim, as in all likelihood the Goyim’s minhag of giving gifts on their holidays was taken from us and not vice verca. (See Emes L’Yaakov from Rav Yaakov Kamenetskky Zatzal Siman 670 in the footnote.)

    The Ponovez Rav, Rav Yosef Shlomo Kahaneman Zatzal said that after the greeks forbade the Jewish children from learning Torah, their parents had to “bribe” them with gifts to get them to learn once again. Giving gifts on Chanukah commemorates that aspect of the Chanukah miracle.

    Indeed, children should be told when receiving gifts that it is for this reason and that they are expected to increase their Torah learning because of the gifts. (See Sifsei Chaim from Rav Chaim Friedlander Zatzal; Moadim Vol. 2 page 134)

    See also Shu”t Avnei Yashfeh Vol. 1 Siman 129:2 and Sha’arei Halacha U’Minhag Vol. 2 page 283


    I don’t know the mekor of giving presents, but as a kid my parents used to give me 1 each night. It seems like it was trying to make up for not getting tons of stuff on XMAS like the other kids in my school. I still felt different though, so I don’t think it worked. Now as a BT, I don’t see the need to use presents/money to get kids excited about Channukah. There are other things to be excited for – getting off from school early for a whole week for the boys and vacation for a girls – sufganiyot, latkes and all of the other food that we usually only eat during Channukah. I stock up on the chocolate coins and we give them out after singing Maoz Tzur. Nobody wants to eat fleishigs the whole week, it’s almost like the 9 days in my house again trying to come up with milchig recipes so everybody can have the milchig chocolate at candlelighting time (no my kids don’t like the pareve ones). We usually try to take a walk on Shabbos night to see all of the houses in our neighborhood with the lights in the windows and doorways. It’s really beautiful. I also try to take my kids to the zoo on Zos Channukah since that’s the only day we don’t have to worry about what time we come home. The zoo closes at sunset, so we would have the full time available. It can be fun without presents also.

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