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    Jewish and dating

    It’s very possible that the modern practice of giving gifts is a misconstruction of the original custom, which in fact was borrowed from the non-Jewish practice.In 355 BCE, Esther, after having won a kingdom-wide beauty pageant, was taken to King Achashverosh (Esther ).Where does the custom of "Chanukah gelt" (of giving money to children) come from?My understanding is that the practice of giving presents is adapted from the non-Jewish holidays which occur in the same season.The basis for it, however, is actually not that clear.I’ll offer a few suggestions: (1) Chanukah is a time when we celebrate Torah study – the wisdom of the Jewish people the Greeks sought to suppress when they forbade Torah study.

    The Jewish calendar is based on three astronomical phenomena: the rotation of the Earth about its axis (a day); the revolution of the moon about the Earth (a month); and the revolution of the Earth about the sun (a year).Esther's presence in the king's palace enabled her to advocate on behalf of the Jews, and gain a reversal of Haman's decree to annihilate the Jewish people.This series of miraculous events is recorded in the biblical Scroll of Esther, and commemorated each year on the holiday of Purim.We thus distribute coins on Chanukah to celebrate the higher appreciation of money the holiday afforded us (Rabbi Yochanan Zweig).(4) For completeness, I’ll quote a final reason – although I’ve never found it very compelling. In illustration of this, the Talmud (Shabbat 22a) states that we may not count money in front of the candles.

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