In the Spirit of the Maccabees: 8 Days of ChanukahGiving
During this festive season, our souls are filled with light and our hearts uplifted. As we gather with family and friends to celebrate the miracle of the oil, we cherish the traditions passed down from generation to generation.
The menorah is a symbol of bravery and heroism, and heroism illuminates the world over. The Maccabees, up to their last moment of life, fought for the nation of Israel’s freedom. They brought about a miraculous time for our people.
One of the more ancient customs is to give Maot Chanukah מאות חנוכה, the gift of money - best known from the Yiddish as Chanukah gelt.
When the Jews revolted against the Seleucid Empire in the second century B.C.E. and rededicated the Second Temple under the leadership of the Maccabees, they declared their independence. And what is the first step a nation takes after gaining its independence? It mints coins!
While many families give the chocolate covered coins now associated with Chanukah world-wide, many in Israel still give coins to the children - however symbolic in its amount - to also teach the principle of Tzedakah, charity.
Today, every Jew, wherever he/she is, is considered a Maccabee fighting for the preservation of the Jewish people, their tradition, faith and freedom.