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When is the best time to give Chanukah Gelt?

by Rabbi Shlomo Chein

  

Library » Holidays » Chanukah » The Customs | Subscribe | What is RSS?


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You can give Chanukah Gelt ("Chanukah money"1) on any day/night of Chanukah (except on Friday night and Shabbat, when it is forbidden to handle money). Most people give Chanukah Gelt right after lighting the Menorah, or during a Chanukah party.

Some people have the custom to give Chanukah Gelt on the fifth night of Chanukah, because the fifth night can never fall out on Shabbat, which makes it a consistent night from year to year. It is also the night when the balance tips in favor of light: there are more lit candles than unlit ones on the Menorah.

The Lubavitcher Rebbe - who explained that Chanukah Gelt is a means to educate children, when utilized as an incentive to study Torah and an opportunity for children to give charity from their own money - encouraged parents to give their children Chanukah Gelt each night of Chanukah.2

See also Why do people give money gifts on Chanukah?

Footnotes

  • 1. The traditional, and preferred, Jewish custom is to give money gifts. Unbeknownst to many, the prevailing practice of giving non-monetary gifts actually stems from the secular practice of giving gifts for the seasonal holidays this time of year.
  • 2. Hisvaduyos 5748 vol. 2 pp. 64-66

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Shabbat
(pl: Shabbatot). Hebrew word meaning "rest." It is a Biblical commandment to sanctify and rest on Saturday, the seventh day of the week. This commemorates the fact that after creating the world in six days, G-d rested on the seventh.
Torah
Torah is G–d’s teaching to man. In general terms, we refer to the Five Books of Moses as “The Torah.” But in truth, all Jewish beliefs and laws are part of the Torah.
Chanukah
An eight day mid-winter holiday marking: 1) The miraculous defeat of the mighty Syrian-Greek armies by the undermanned Maccabis in the year 140 BCE. 2) Upon their victory, the oil in the Menorah, sufficient fuel for one night only, burned for eight days and nights.
Rebbe
A Chassidic master. A saintly person who inspires followers to increase their spiritual awareness.
Lubavitcher
One who follows the teachings of the Chassidic group which was formerly based in the Belarus village of Lubavitch. Today, the movement is based in Brooklyn, New York with branches worldwide. The Lubavitch movement is also widely known as "Chabad."
Menorah
Candelabra. Usually a reference to the nine-branched candelabra kindled on the holiday of Chanukah.