In the article Jews and Christmas, by Rabbi Joshua E. Plaut that’s published on the website, My Jewish Learning, he muses how the Christmas season has influenced the Hanukkah festival among the Jewish communities throughout Europe and Western society in the last one hundred years. Specifically, Rabbi Plaut scrutinizes the custom of Christmas gift-giving and how it has infiltrated the Jewish world, discovering that the Jewish family desires to include their Jewish children in the joys of gift-giving, pressured by the secular world during the holiday season.
Hanukkah, known as the “Festival of Lights” and the “Feast of Dedication,” is a joyous holiday as the Jewish world celebrates the historic victory over their enemies and acknowledges the miracle that took place when the oil for the holy lamp lasted eight days. The community eats latkes, spins dreidels, and sends cards to friends and families. For believers in Yeshua, the parallel beliefs are that Yeshua is the light of the world as we dedicate our lives to Him. Candles are lit each night and gifts are exchanged with friends and loved ones. But why do we give gifts? What is the origin of exchanging gifts at Hanukkah? Are we just imitating our Christian friends?
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