LearnEmunah.com Holiday Guide

Chanukah and the Noahidim

By Rabbi Shlomo Nachman © November 10,2020

The Jewish Holidays raise perplexing questions for those who follow the Torah's Path of Seven Laws. The Festival of Lights or Chanukah is certainly no exception. In this brief presentation we discuss this.

First, understand that Chanukah is a specifically and uniquely Jewish holiday. It is applicable only for the Jews because no one else shared the historic experiences underlying it. Only Jews are obligated to light the Chanukiah (i.e. the special candle holder used only for this holiday) in memory of what HaShem did for our people. This holiday has no relevance to anyone but us... or does it?

Certainly it does not for Christians nor for others who sometimes usurp our traditions, but what about the Noahidim? What about those Gentiles who have chosen to 'grasp the hem of the Jew' and who declare before all the world their full intention to 'go with the Jews' because they understand that G-d is with our people(Zechariah 8:23) and that He did this miracle for us?

Understand that when a person usurps someone else's holiday it is misappropriation and it's offensive. The Jewish people place deep meaning behind these holidays. They mark the struggles and triumphs of our people and our unending gratitude to and dependance on the G-d of Israel. Jews should not observe Christmas and Christians should not observe Chanukah. To do so, in either case, is to dishonor the significance of the observance.

The Noahidim are unique among the Gentiles! They serve HaShem just as we do. They base their lives and beliefs on His Torah, just as we. The miracle of Chanukah fills them with the Light of Torah even as it does us, because they are journeying with us.

It is clear that the Noahidim are not required to observe Chanukah. As such they have no blessings to utter when kindling the lights. This is certain. If you kindle the Chanukiah do not recite the Jewish blessings nor make up your own as though you were obeying a commandment.

As for observing the holiday otherwise, consider this: According to many of our authorities the atrocities done by Antiochus that led to the miracle were not done due to classic Jew hatred, but in response to the ongoing struggle of the day between Pharisaical Judaism and Hellenism. It is a fact of history that many Jews in the last century BCE and the first century CE rejected Torah in favor of Greek culture. Clearly Antiochus was a massive egotist who viewed himself as a deity, but his goal was not the destruction of Judaism per se but the ascendancy of Hellenism. Like Nimrod and the modern New World Order he sought to establish a new global order by usurping all other systems into his own, under his own control. Sound familiar? This choice, in its myriad forms, has always tested the Jewish people. Assimilationism has always been the primary threat to Jewish survival and it is so today as well.

Today Jewish assimilation into the dominant culture is a very real threat and yet there are hundreds of thousands of Gentiles who have abandoned the ways of their ancestors and come to Torah, seeking to assimilate into its Way! Baruch HaShem for this! Surely such Noahidim are to be congratulated, thanked, and assisted in any way we can! For such enlightened Noahidim to kindle the lights of Chanukah is a public declaration of their standing with the Jewish people and declaration that Antiochus and others who sought our demise have failed. Again, Baruch HaShem! What could possibly be wrong with that?

So in conclusion. Yes Noahidim are permitted to kindle the Lights of Chanukah provided they understand that they do so optionally and not by commandment.

Zechariah 4: 6,7: He answered and spoke to me, saying, "This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel, saying: 'Not by military force and not by physical strength, but by My spirit,' says the Lord of Hosts. Who are you, O great mountain? Before Zerubbabel you sink to a plain! He will bring out the stone of the main architect, with shouts of grace, grace to it."

As foretold, the Noahidim are now approaching the Holy Mount of HaShem saying, "We will go with you because G-d is with you!" We must not turn them away! Who are we to say these people. 'you may not exalt in the Light of G-d with us now that you have beheld it? All the more so considering that an even greater miracle lies ahead! A miracle that will shatter all forms of Hellenism and assimilation! A Miracle that will shed the Divine Light of Torah on ALL the nations, not just on us. That is the Miracle of Light we now await and Chanukah renews our emunah that the day of that revelation is almost in sight! The Light of HaMashiach! So kindle the holiday flames my Noahide friends, only honor our struggles by not reciting the brachot (blessings).

Chag Urim Sameach!

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