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Honoring the Festivals and Hanukkah
1) Restrictions as this applies to a gift for a Jew:

In general (except as noted below), a gift should NOT be given to a Jew on the seventh-day Sabbath nor on the major Jewish holy days. This is because gift-giving involves a business transaction (transfer of ownership), and a Jew is prohibited from engaging in business transactions on these days. These restrictions start shortly before sundown at the start of the Jewish holy day. They end approximately 45 minutes after sundown at the end of the day (a few minutes less in the winter and up to a few minutes longer in the summer).

Except for Yom Kippur which is always one day and Rosh HaShanah which is always two days, the major Jewish holy days ("festivals") last 1 day for Jew who normally lives in Israel, and 2 days for a Jew who normally lives outside of Israel. (In case of doubt, and reliable Orthodox Rabbi should be consulted.) These are: the first day (or first and second days) of Passover, the seventh day (or seventh and eighth days) of Passover, Shavuot (one or two days), Rosh HaShanah, Yom Kippur, the first day (or first and second days) of Tabernacles (Sukkot), and the first day (or first and second days) of Shemini Atzeret/Simkhat Torah.

Note: the exception (for Jews or Gentiles) is that if a person is going to eat a Sabbath or festival meal in the home of Jew, he (or she) may bring a gift of ready-to-eat FOOD or BEVERAGE that he himself will partake of during the meal, since it is as if he is bringing it for himself and sharing it with the others at the meal. However, it should be an item that is in accordance with the kosher standards of the Jew(s) who he wishes to share it with.

2) Otherwise, *personal* gifts (not intended in honor of any holiday) may be given at any time. It is OK to give a person a gift in honor of his/her birthday. To learn how to make the best use of a birthday, in accordance with its inner meaning, see our web page

3) For some non-Jewish idolatrous holidays, the traditional service of the day involves gift-giving. This should not be observed in honor of the day. A person may give or receive a personal gift on such days, if he/she makes it clear (or if it's already well understood) that it's being done for personal affection and/or respect or as a secularized matter, and not in honor of the traditional idolatrous concept. (For this reason, it has been a widespread custom not to give gifts on Hanukkah, because it comes during the winter season, which is the reason why some people in recent history innovated the nontraditional idea of gift-giving on Hanukkah).

4) The only Jewish holiday that involves gift giving as one of the traditional observances is Purim, when Jews are obligated by Torah Law to give at least one gift of at least two different types of kosher and ready-to-eat food, or food and beverage, to at least one Jewish friend. It is traditional for males to give this to males, and females to give to females. A Gentile may participate in this Purim activity, but not as a matter of a religious observance.

Messages In This Thread
RE: Holidays - by Director Michael - 07-15-2007, 07:42 PM
RE: Observing the Festivals? - by Director Michael - 07-25-2011, 10:16 PM
Holidays - by James7 - 07-15-2007, 03:07 AM
Hanukkah / Chanukah - by Ben_Noach_AZ - 12-09-2007, 12:58 AM
RE: Hanukkah - by rabbiyitz - 12-09-2007, 03:33 AM
RE: PURIM FOR NOAHIDES - by Director Michael - 03-03-2009, 12:33 AM

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