what is the origin of chanukah gifts?
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- This topic has 104 replies, 33 voices, and was last updated 1 year, 4 months ago by TS Baum.
December 22, 2014 3:39 pm at 3:39 pm #1112620
There is most definitely religious significance associated with gift giving. I’m not the world’s biggest expert on the non Jewish celebrations, but what I’ve heard (and Google confirms) is that the gifts supposedly come from a saint or from yoshke himself, and are associated with yoshke and the wise men.December 22, 2014 3:42 pm at 3:42 pm #1112621
I think the order of posts got messed up but I was replying to what you wrote above about why gifts have religious significance above what you wrote.December 22, 2014 3:50 pm at 3:50 pm #1112622
DY for arguments sake assuming you are correct (as an aside gift giving on Decemebr 25th is a Western European thing, Asians exclsively give money. Though like us, in America their minhag is evolving somewhat too)
So what would be assur:
Gift giving ever?
Gift giving on Yom tov in particular?
Gift giving specificaly on chanukah: always even November/early december or only when it is near Dec 25th.December 23, 2014 1:30 am at 1:30 am #1112623
Even if it religious (I highly doubt it), it would probably not be chukas hagoy. It is a logical customDecember 23, 2014 1:44 am at 1:44 am #1112624
Ubiquitin: Good question. Not ever giving gifts doesn’t make sense, nor does on any Yom Tov, because it’s unlikely to be a copy of the goyish “minhag”. Giving on Chanukah would be the problem, since Chanukah gifts are seemingly a copy of their ???. I could definitely see a tayna that it’s only assur on Dec. 25; in fact, I wonder if even the mattirim would agree to asser then.
Jewish Thinker: If there’s religious significance, being logical doesn’t help. Google “origins of christmas gifts” to see what the significance is.December 23, 2014 2:40 am at 2:40 am #1112625
DY see IM YD 4:11:3 where Rav Moshe tz”l writes that we can’t prohibit every item of pleasure in the world just because goyim decide to do it religiousy.December 23, 2014 3:53 am at 3:53 am #1112626
Right. So stam gift giving would be fine, but davka giving on Chanukah, which was copied from them, might be the same as taking off the yarmulka to daven, which is still assur. Ayin shom.December 26, 2014 6:12 pm at 6:12 pm #1112627
DaasYochid- It is not clear from the Rema whether a logical custom is prohibited if it has a ??? ????? ?????? from the ancestors. According to Maharit we are only concerned about us trying to be like the goyim. So if we copy their illogical customs without benefit to ourselves it can be assur. Though, I do admit that the Rema seems to lean more on to the Ran’s reasoning why illogical customs are prohibited-??? ????? ?????? from ancestors. It is not clear though that when we have logical customs we have to start looking into their history to see if it has pagan roots.December 27, 2014 11:28 pm at 11:28 pm #1112628
Copied and pasted from your earlier post:
?? ???? ????? ????? ????? ???? ??? ???? ????? ????? ??? ???? ???? ?????? ???? ?? ??? ????? ?????? ????????
I don’t know why you don’t think it’s clear – the reason a custom without a known reason is assur is out of concern that perhaps ?? ?? ??? ????? ?????? ????????, so if it certainly does, it is assur. He is not leaning that way, he says it pretty much outright.
As far as looking into the origins, the horse is already out of the barn – we know the origins of gift giving on the ???.
The only question, I think, is whether Chanukah gift giving is considered a copy of that “minhag”, but if it is, there is no basis in the ??”? to be mattir.December 28, 2014 12:11 am at 12:11 am #1112629
DY- I still think that a logical custom cannot be hijacked to be chukas hagoyim. As per IM YD 4:11:3 pleasurable customs can’t be hijacked. It is different then taking off a yarmulke in shul because that is an illogical custom. If the church came out with a delicious, nutritious candy bar and made a religious law to eat it, would we be doing chukas akum if we decide to eat it because it tastes good? We got the idea of such a candy bar from them but it is something good in it of itself. Same thing with chanuka presents.December 28, 2014 1:01 am at 1:01 am #1112630
Hijacked? It wasn’t hijacked. The December gifts “custom” directly developed from the Christian holiday. You don’t see a massive gift-giving culture or custom on all the other Jewish holidays that fall in months other than December.December 28, 2014 1:07 am at 1:07 am #1112631
If the church came out with a delicious, nutritious candy bar and made a religious law to eat it, would we be doing chukas akum if we decide to eat it because it tastes good? We got the idea of such a candy bar from them but it is something good in it of itself.
Absolutely, if the Church developed this food item (and mandated it be eaten) it would surely be prohibited for us to consume.December 28, 2014 1:18 am at 1:18 am #1112632
I understand what you’re saying, but that’s not the ??”?; that’s the ????? ???, but I think you’re misapplying it. See ??? ??? ??’ ?”? ?”? ?”? who quotes the ??”? who assers trees in shul on ??????. I think that is more analogous (in the same ???? in ??”? which you quoted earlier, he brings this ??”?).December 28, 2014 9:52 pm at 9:52 pm #1112633
Daas Yochid- The Gra’s understanding of chukas hagoyim is not the normative halacha but a stringecy. See Gra YD 178:7. I understand I’m streching Rav Moshe’s psak a little but there can be room for such a strech possibly.December 29, 2014 12:25 am at 12:25 am #1112634
Lior (To a lesser extent DY), if I show you a source indicating that christmas gelt precedes chanukah gelt would you say gelt is assur?December 29, 2014 12:42 am at 12:42 am #1112636
In your hypothetical “what if” scenario are you proposing that Chanukah Gelt came about as an offshoot of the so-called “Christmas Gelt”?December 29, 2014 12:47 am at 12:47 am #1112637
JT, not sure what you mean.
Ubiquitin, interestingly, according to the Gr”a I mentioned, it wouldn’t matter which came first.December 29, 2014 12:52 am at 12:52 am #1112638
The Gra rejects the Ran and Maharit’s pshat because the Gemara does not seem to fit in with their understanding of what the parameters of chukas hagoy is. (The Maharam Shick does resolve these diffuculties, though, See Shu”t YD 165) The Seriedei Aish 3:93 (new editions-YD 39 Anaf 2) writes that the shita of the Gra is in contrast with the rest of the Rishonim. We do not pasken like the Gra’s pshat of chukas hagoy.December 29, 2014 1:42 am at 1:42 am #1112639
DY, I briefly alluded to that earlier. among Asian cultures the custom on Christmas is davka to give money and not presents, though I am not sure if that would be a factor, since if we were to ban every custom any society has that is related to A”Z there woudlnt be much left to do. What are your thoughts. Shoudl the Asian custom be a factor (according to the Gr”a) or do we limit it to custom’s that surronding society does?December 29, 2014 1:57 am at 1:57 am #1112640
If Chanukah gelt was established as a copy of a so-called kratsmuch gelt custom, of course it would be forbidden. But it is not the case that Chanukah gelt is given as a result of that reason. So your hypothetical point is moot.December 29, 2014 2:32 am at 2:32 am #1112641
Lior, according to the Gr”a, even had Chanukah gelt come first, it would still be a problem.
However, I would think, as ubiquitin suggests, that the issue is only in a place where the non Jews have such a custom.January 2, 2015 8:24 pm at 8:24 pm #1112642
DaasYochid- The Gra’shita of chukas hagoy is not the halachikly accepted one except in regard to Shavous, I think.January 4, 2015 12:11 am at 12:11 am #1112643
DaasYochid- I saw the Gra in the ????? ??? you told me to check. It says there that according to the Rema it is not a problem because it is a logical custom so it cannot be chukas hagoy. I think it proves my point that logical customs cannot be come chukas hagoy.January 4, 2015 1:10 am at 1:10 am #1112644
1) The fact that we don’t pasken like one shittah of the Gr”a in Chukas Aku”m does not mean we can’t pasken like him in another; in fact, that’s precisely what we do. They are two different things.
2) The Igros Moshe does not say that the Gr”a on Shavuos trees argues on the R”ma; he says he argues on the Maharsha”m. Again, they are two different things.January 4, 2015 1:16 am at 1:16 am #1112645
Listen, the point is that according to the Maharsha”m (who is explaining why the Rema holds muttar, I think) there is no issue of chukas hagoyim by a religious logical custom. We pasken like the Gra regarding Shavous, if you want to say we pasken like him whenever we have this type of scenario of religious logical customs I do not know if that is true.January 4, 2015 7:18 am at 7:18 am #1112646
I’m not really in the sugya, but this is what seems to me: The ??”? is referring to where the reason for what the ???? do is unknown, so if it seems logical, it’s okay. This is what the ????? ???”? disagrees with, and ????? ???? we pasken like the ??”?.
The ????”? is referring to where our reason for doing something is logical, so it’s okay even though the ???? do it. The ????’s opposition to ?????? trees shows that he does not hold like this, since we have a reason to do it, and in fact, we did it before the ????. We do pasken like the ??”? on this. So, even though it may make sense to give gifts on Chanukah, if the ???? give their gifts as a religiously significant act, it would seem to be assur.January 4, 2015 5:17 pm at 5:17 pm #1112647dnetskMember
Sonei Matanos Yichyeh (someone said that I’m sure, good mkor)January 4, 2015 7:54 pm at 7:54 pm #1112648
I think that we just pasken like the Gra by Shavous and by other logical religious custom we go with the Rema.January 4, 2015 8:37 pm at 8:37 pm #1112649
Randomly? Why would you want to think that, instead of realizing that the R’ma doesn’t actually argue on this psak of the Gr’a, and that how we pasken is consistent?
I think I’ve presented a reasonable approach as to how we pasken like the R’ma by a custom with an unknown source and like the Gr’a by Shavuos.November 18, 2015 9:39 pm at 9:39 pm #1112650555Participant
As a child, I was told the source for “Chanukah Presents” started when Jews mingling with the goyim and didn’t want to be out casts. Sound like a direct Minhag-Neologgen (Reform – in English).November 18, 2015 9:50 pm at 9:50 pm #1112651🍫Syag LchochmaParticipant
i don’t believe that for a second. In my family we give gelt because that is what i was taught is right. I grew up receiving gelt as well. Having said that, if you have 5 kids and not enough cash to make a “gift” of it, buying sale priced toys is an option for survival. If you were never taught that presents were wrong, it would make perfect sense.November 18, 2015 9:54 pm at 9:54 pm #1112652
Gelt is a true Jewish minhag on Chanukah. Presents are not; those come from Christmas. But don’t confuse gelt with presents.November 18, 2015 10:05 pm at 10:05 pm #1112653
In my family we give gelt because that is what i was taught is right. I grew up receiving gelt as well. Having said that, if you have 5 kids and not enough cash to make a “gift” of it
Were you taught why that is correct?
How much cash is considered making a gift of it?
I know people who give a dollar just to fulfill the minhag.November 18, 2015 11:19 pm at 11:19 pm #1112654555Participant
By us the minhag was coins ‘davka’. That means it started with pennies then increasing with the yrs. After a quarter came 1/2 dollar coin then one dollar coin. Additionally it stopped once i was old enough to earn my own $ with the explanation “I was no longer a child and understood the value of mitzvos without it”.
I was also told, as mentioned earlier, the concept started in order to encourage the children to learn(like the concept of allowance). And every time i got a coin i was told “This is a reminder to learn”. Which is not doable with presents. Additionally, the money can later be used for anything including tzedaka of my choice. A present is much harder to do a mitzva with unless its a sheep being saved for Korban Pesach.November 24, 2019 8:33 pm at 8:33 pm #1803857
Just want to remind ubiq to peruse through the Black Friday discounts while he’s enjoying the turkey at the family Thanksgiving dinner this week, so that he can chap some metziahs to distribute christmas presents to the kinderlach for Chanukah. 😂
Just don’t use a red stocking, as that’s a bit goyish…November 24, 2019 9:41 pm at 9:41 pm #1803876
I have been looking forward to this post for months. As you may recall there was an argument over the summer as to whether you were a troll or if you believe the things you said. some naively said that you were sincere. Here we have proof positive, in case there ever was any doubt that you are a troll.
It has been explained multiple times in several threads why you were are mistaken. But you dont reply nor retract, no that isnt the Joseph way, you double down in your ignorance, like only a true joseph woul in all of his glorious josephness (in this thread there is a bit of substance, but that is becaus you werent using the moniker of Joseph” in the years that followed you made sure to remove any vestige of thought from your posts on this topic) . you have no interest in responding nor learnig, you are happy being an am haaretz as long as you can have your fun .
don’t worry I dont need the reminder all the Jewish newspapers will have their ads out soon. (dont worry no women or girls chas veshalom)
looking forward to your annual mocking of selling chometz which is just a few months away. don’t forget please don’t let me downNovember 25, 2019 6:39 am at 6:39 am #1803911akupermaParticipant
Giving gifts on or about Dec. 25 is the avodah the Christians do in honor of the birth of their “diety”. The issue is discussed in the gemara, and it is clear that this constitutes avodah zarah. Anyone who thinks otherwise is ignorant.November 25, 2019 8:33 am at 8:33 am #1803934jdf007Participant
Git Meshige, although I see no tree next to them, if it weren’t for “some” group lighting a public menorah, I would see NO menorah ever. There are Jews in all 50 states, and they are vanishing because, they see no menorahs or anything Jewish anywhere – not even television – and all they get is xmas memes on facebook and movies. Then they hear “happy holiday” as I get flooded in my email from corporate sales lists on the 24th and 25th. What holiday, what holiday season? Frankly, this is the more offensive as they’re lumping me into a religion I am not a part of. It is not inclusive, it is forceful.
Secondly, as much as I don’t want to participate, the prices for items are only cheap once a year.
Otherwise, ignorance is the enemy nowadays, and while we argue if you should give a gift at the cheapest time of the year is kosher or not, everyone “out of town” as you call it are pretending to be full blown evangelists as that is all they see now.November 25, 2019 10:06 am at 10:06 am #1803959user176Participant
I may be a few years late but I find it funny that people who wear costumes on Purim won’t give gifts on Hanukka. I guarantee if the rema were writing today he would bring the minhag of giving gifts just like he brings that of costumes… it’s all from goyim but if anything costumes is more problematicNovember 25, 2019 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm #1804241shmoolik 1Participant
I might take a guess giving gifts etc is the minhag of Purim as found in the megilla to increase the simcha of Chanuka the giving was borrowed from purim and not from the goyish customsNovember 25, 2019 3:08 pm at 3:08 pm #1804312lowerourtuition11210Participant
shmoolik: Purim gifts are Mishloach Manos Ish Lreieihu which is described as two food items, not general gifts like toys.November 25, 2019 6:19 pm at 6:19 pm #1804368jdf007Participant
I went to the bank after last years “holiday” because I was looking for dollar coins and other fun things. I was told they were cleaned out, people take up all the dollar coins and half dollars to give on december 25th. This is in a very (non-Jewish) religious area.
So…..just like how we don’t prostrate ourselves anymore except on Yom Kippur, does that mean this whole discussion of gelt should be completely forbidden now?November 25, 2019 7:04 pm at 7:04 pm #1804416hujuParticipant
To eek: Many schools can hook you up with a good speech therapist. Give them a call.
Most of the gifts I give to children originated in China, but Indonesia and Thailand are coming on strong.November 9, 2021 11:41 pm at 11:41 pm #2026547ujmParticipant
Reminder for ubiq: Tis the season to be shopping, for your Chanukamas presents. Chap your discounts on Black Friday, lalalala lalalala.November 10, 2021 8:10 am at 8:10 am #2026683Reb EliezerParticipant
Chanukah gelt, money is a custom but gifts is an appeasement like a Bas Mitzva.November 10, 2021 10:29 am at 10:29 am #2026738
This year will be closer to Thanksgivingka presents this year than Chanukamas.
I’m not as well versed in fake halacha as you are; are Thanksgivingka presents also a a problem?
AFAFNovember 10, 2021 10:52 am at 10:52 am #2026760ujmParticipant
Reb Eliezer, Rav Moshe paskens (in multiple teshuvos) in the Igros Moshe that making a Bas Mitzvah party is kefira derived from the Reform/Conservative movements.November 10, 2021 10:55 am at 10:55 am #2026764AviraDeArahParticipant
Ubiq… You don’t see an issue combining the name of the avodah zara holiday of kratzmich with chanuka?November 10, 2021 11:01 am at 11:01 am #2026789MenoParticipant
Rav Moshe paskens (in multiple teshuvos) in the Igros Moshe that making a Bas Mitzvah party is kefira derived from the Reform/Conservative movements
Sources pleaseNovember 10, 2021 11:08 am at 11:08 am #2026792AviraDeArahParticipant
Ujm… He does not use the word kefirah. He says that we ought not do it, and says that it’s an import from reform/conservative without any halachik basis in chazal for a celebration or ceremony. He further writes that one cannot do anything in a shul for a bas mitzvah because of kedushas bais hakneses (since it amounts to nothing more than a birthday party).
He does not call it kefirah; chachamim hizharu bedivreichem.
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