Collected from various sources,
such as Talmud, Midrash, Siddur, and Apochrypha

Although the practice of giving Chanukah Gelt (money) to children is thought to stem from the 17th century in Eastern Europe, today it is popular to associate it with Maccabean coinage which displayed the Menorah image. This coin has been identified with the Maccabean king John Hyrcanus, 135-104 B.C.E. The achievement of coinage is a sign of the independence of the sponsoring ruler. After the establishment of the State of Israel, the Bank of Israel issued a commemorative coin, depicting this image, to be used for Chanukah Gelt. The Hebrew root of the word chanukah is also used for the word chinukh, which means “education.” The first practice of Chanukah Gelt was to enable children to distribute the coins as honoraria to their teachers.



Copyright © 2020 Eric H. Hoffman