Sharing in the Joy of Hanukkah

SUGGESTIONS FOR NOAHIDES ON HANUKKAH (Updated Nov. 22, 20’18, with new links below)

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 started on Sunday evening, December 2, 2018 (after sundown), and continued through Wednesday, December 10, 20’18 (until sundown). (On the Friday night of Hanukkah, 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.)

As a Gentile, you can mark the happy days of Hanukkah in some of these 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.”

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.

⇒ 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.

⇒ 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.)

Click here for a delicious traditional recipe: Hanukkah “Latkes”  (fried potato pancakes)

The “Jewish Experience” radio/audio series on the history of Hanukkah:

Hanukkah, Part 1

Hanukkah, Part 2

Hanukkah, Part 3

Hanukkah, Part 4

Fun Noah’s Ark toys and charity boxes: 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.)

Hanukkah insights:

What Is Hanukkah?

Lesson from Hanukkah to Publicize the 7 Laws

Video of the Rebbe’s talk on Thanksgiving and Hanukkah

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

The Heroine of Hanukkah – Yehudit (or Yehudis)


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