One of the beautiful customs of Hannukah is that of giving children Gelt (Money in Yiddish). Gift giving per se is not a Hannukah tradition. Nothing wrong with gift giving in general, of course. However, when it comes to Hannukah, the custom of giving Gelt is diametrically opposed to that of gift giving for the sake of gift giving.
We give Gelt because the tzedakah (“charity”) that is to be taken from money is connected to the lessons of Hannukah. In fact the gematria of Nes Hannukah (the miracle of chanukah) and the gematria of tzedakah are the same: 199, which hints at the connection.
During the time the Land of Israel was under the dominion of the Syrian Greek empire, Jews fought to preserve our commitment to G-d’s Torah, one which teaches us that G-dliness is inseparable from the physical world. Money, is a clear example of this. Money can be absolutely self-serving, yet by giving tzedakah from our money, we elevate the money and reveal it’s G-dly potential.
Jews are entrusted by G-d to elevate material things and reveal their G-dly essence, by using them in the way that G-d wants. Thus, we don’t just give the children Gelt. We give them money and help them take a minimum of 10% from it to give to charity. We do this and explain to them year after year how our money can be elevated through the mitzvah of tzedakah.
And so, to inspire and encourage all of us to keep this beautiful tradition I’ve rounded up creative Gelt packaging from around the blogsphere. After all, we can always beautify the mitzvah to show how special and important it is to us #jewishmarketing. :-)
This Gelt bag from Chana’s Art Room is just up my alley. Simple, yet cute.
If you want to get a bit more elaborate and up cycle something that we all have around, I love this idea from Chai & Home. My girls would love doing this, in fact, I might have to pull out the paint as those girls love color like their mama. You could paint these toilet paper roll pouches and/or add colorful ribbon, stickers, whatever you want!
Rita from Design Megillah made these out of match boxes (the large ones). They look so pretty. I say decorate them, stuff them with Gelt, both the money and chocolate kind, and enjoy the recipients’ smiles. And, I like that they are big enough that you could also stick a dreidle inside, and that way you’re set for your game! :-)
And finally, Martha also has what to show us when it comes to packaging our Gelt– glittery dreidel shaped envelopes!
How about you? Will you be giving out any Hannukah Gelt this year to your kids/nieces/nephews/grandkids? Would you package it in a fun way to beautify the mitzvah of educating the children about tzedakah?