Why Do We Give Teachers Chanukah Gelt?

Rabbi Avrohom Bluming of Igud Hamelamdim shares 3 reasons you should give Chanukah Gelt to your children’s teachers this Chanukah.

By Rabbi Avrohom Bluming

It’s Chanukah, and it’s time to gift your children’s teachers with Chanukah Gelt, in accordance with the generations-old minhag.

Need further convincing? Here are 3 things to consider:

(1) Chanukah is about Chinuch

The Hebrew word Chanukah shares the same root as the word chinuch, “education.”

The occupying Greek forces were determined to force Hellenism upon the Jewish population, at the expense of the ideals and commandments of the holy Torah. Unfortunately, they were quite successful in their endeavor. After the Greeks were defeated, it was necessary to re-educate the Jews—to reintroduce a large part of the population to Torah values. Appropriately, during Chanukah it is customary to give gelt to rebbis and teachers for their untiring role in furthering our children’s chinuch.

(2) Hakaras Hatov

Gratitude is a fundamental theme of Chanukah – giving thanks to Hashem for the miracle, “L’hodos U’lehalel.” Let’s expand that gratitude to our children’s teachers, who spend the majority of every day with your child, training them for life and to be the next link in your family’s chain of Yiddishkeit.

(3) Optimize your child’s chinuch and chance for growth

When you show appreciation to the teacher, you do more than send a check and a nice letter in an envelope. You are clearly conveying to your child that you respect and revere his or her teacher. Your child will in turn find a newfound respect for their teacher! This will ultimately benefit his classroom performance and personal growth B’ezras Hashem.

For these reasons and more, won’t you go ahead and prepare envelopes for your children’s teachers? And when you do, remember that it’s not only about the money you put inside; try to put your heart, and the hearts of your children, into it as well.

A Frielichen Chanuka and much nachas from your children!

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