Noahides may light Hanukkah candles without a blessing

Hanukkah menorahSUGGESTIONS FOR NOAHIDES ON HANUKKAH (Updated Nov. 30, 20’16)

Note! There are alternative spellings for the name of this festival: Hanukah, Chanukah, Chanukkah, and any of these may be without the final “h”

This year, Hanukkah starts Saturday night, Dec. 24, 20’16, after sundown.

On the Friday night of Hanukkah (Dec. 30, 20’16), Jews should be careful to finish lighting the Hanukkah lights, and then light their Shabbat candles before sundown, in order to avoid transgressing their Sabbath restrictions.

Hanukkah ends Monday, Dec. 31, 20’16, at sundown.

If you are a Noahide who is observant of the 7 Noahide Commandments, you may be interested in lighting Hanukkah candles.  If so, you can buy or make a menorah lamp for yourself (very easy), or you can usually obtain one from your local Chabad Center. If your intention is to publicize the greatness of G-d* as seen by the Divine miracles of Hanukkah, and to educate and remind your family and others about this (for example, if the lit menorah is on a windowsill, visible to outside passersby), the candle lighting may be done in the correct manner according to the Jewish custom – but without saying the Jewish blessings when lighting the candles.(For non-Jews, those would be false statements said in G-d’s Name, G-d forbid, because they testify that the person lighting the candles is commanded to “kindle the lights of Hanukkah”, and that G-d did those miracles for “our fathers”.) There are alternative readings and Psalms that a Noahide can say when lighting Hanukkah candles, and we have posted some suggestions below.

*Since a Noahide is encouraged to always publicize the greatness of G-d (as exemplified by the way of Abraham, who made G-d known to all people), displaying the candles of Hanukkah to public view (without making a blessing) is just one practical way of accomplishing this good deed, since they are a reminder of G-d’s miracles in the world. The practical benefit it achieves is to help in the goal of perfecting the world through revealing the sovereignty of the Al-mighty, and His active miraculous influence on world events.

Even if you don’t light a menorah, you can still mark the days of Hanukkah this year in some of the additional customary ways. This includes the option to say the chapters of Psalms listed below, reading and thinking about the history and messages of Hanukkah, and enjoying some traditional recipes.  You can also attend public lightings of outdoor Hanukkah menorahs that might be taking place near you during the festival.  Contact your local Chabad organization for more information about times and places. The following recitation paragraph, adopted from the Jewish traditional liturgy (version of the Ari Zal), can also be said during the days of Hanukkah:

“In the days of Matisyahu, the son of Yochanan the High Priest, the Hasmonean and his sons, the wicked Hellenic government rose up against the people of Israel to make them forget Your Torah and violate the decrees of Your will. But You, in your abounding mercies, stood by them in the time of their distress. You waged their battles, defended their rights and avenged the wrong done to them. You delivered the mighty into the hands of the weak, the many into the hands of the few, the impure into the hands of the pure, the wicked into the hands of the righteous, and the wanton sinners into the hands of those who occupy themselves with Your Torah. You made a great and holy name for Yourself in Your world, and effected a great deliverance and redemption for the people of Israel to this very day. Then the Israelites entered the shrine of Your Holy House, purified and rededicated Your sanctuary, kindled lights in Your holy courtyards, and instituted these eight days of Hanukkah to give thanks and praise to Your great Name.”

Did you know? “Maccabee” is the Hebrew acronym “Mem-Chof-Bais-Yud”, which stands for the verse (Exodus 15:11) “Who is like You among the Elim (the supernal beings), O L-rd!” The inner meaning of this verse is the subject of a Chassidic discourse published by Kehot, which explains G-d’s True Existence.

Below is some reading material, and a recipe for traditional Hanukkah “latkes” (potato pancakes). There are 8 days in all, so please check back for additional information that may be posted as Hanukkah continues.

Here is a main web site that many Jews go to for information, multi-media, and activities for Hanukkah:

www.chabad.org/holidays/chanukah

PLEASE NOTE: The Noahide prohibition against theft is very strict.  If you are using the Internet at work, please take care to not make personal photocopies and/or printings on expropriated company-owned paper.

SUGGESTIONS FOR NOAHIDES ON HANUKKAH:

HOW TO LIGHT A MENORAH: The Hanukkah lights should be candles, or wicks in oil.

The lights should be able to burn continuously for at least half an hour, and that half an hour should be sometime after nightfall (not earlier than about 20-30 minutes after sunset, depending on the location).

A menorah has candle holders positioned in a straight row, with an additional “shamash” (“servant”) light each night, which is placed near but apart from the row of Hanukkah lights (higher, or outside the row, etc.). It is lit first, and if it is a candle, it can also be used to kindle the row of Hanukkah lights.

On the first night, one Hanukkah light is kindled on the right side of the menorah. On the second night, add a second light to the left of the first and kindle the additional light first proceeding from left to right, and so on each night for 8 nights.

The following statement, abridged for Noahides, is appropriate to be said after kindling the lights each night (other similar versions may be said as well):

“We kindle these lights to commemorate the saving acts, miracles and wonders which You have performed in those days at this time through Your holy Kohanim priests, in order to offer thanks and praise to Your great Name for Your miracles, for Your wonders and for Your salvations.”

The recitation paragraph above can be said throughout the festival, during the night or day, especially as part of your prayer of thanks after eating a meal.

Some people have a custom to say the following chapters of Psalms on each day of Hanukkah, which are related to the message and spirit of Hanukkah: Psalms 91, 67, 30, 133, 33.

It’s a good thing to give extra charity during Hanukkah to a proper charitable institution or cause, or to needy individuals. It’s good to have a charity box or can (a “pushka“) in your home, that you can drop coins into frequently and then give them to a proper charity when it is filled up.

Parents can give small gifts of money (Hanukkah “gelt”) to their children on some or all of the days, to teach them to put part of their money (for example 10%) into a charity box at home, to be given later to a proper charity.

It’s customary during Hanukkah to eat some traditional foods fried in oil. This is to remember the miracle of the small jug of pure oil – only enough for one day – that was miraculously found and which then burned in the Temple’s menorah for 8 days after the Greek army retreated from Jerusalem. It’s also customary to have some dairy foods and drinks, to remember the military victory of the Maccabee priests (Kohanim, descended from Aaron) over the Greeks. This is because Jerusalem was retaken by the Maccabee brothers through of the heroic act of Yehudis, their righteous sister. (She came to the Greek general and fed him a feast of cheese and wine. When he fell asleep, she dealt to him the end he deserved, and the leaderless Greek army panicked and retreated.)

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Noah’s Ark Menorahs (great for children!) at JewishSource.com

Noah’s Ark Menorah #1

Noah’s Ark Menorah #2

Noah’s Ark Menorah #3
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The “Jewish Experience” radio/audio series on the history of Hanukkah:

Hanukkah, Part 1

Hanukkah, Part 2

Hanukkah, Part 3

Hanukkah, Part 4

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YUMMY!!

Click here for a traditional recipe:

Hanukkah “Latkes”

(fried potato pancakes)


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Fun Noah’s Ark toys: Click Here

(Note: we recommend not to give gifts specifically as “Hanukkah presents” since this recent development distorts the true message of Hanukkah. Rather, gifts can be given just as at any other time.)
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Hanukkah insights, presented with permission from Sichos in English:

Based on the Talks of the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson

“What Is Hanukkah?”

Video Presentation: A Miraculous Story for the Fifth Night of Hanukkah

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