Nittel Nacht: A Jewish Christmas Tradition

The 6th Lubavitcher Rebbe, left, playing chess with his younger son-in-law, the future 7th Rebbe, right, allegedly on Nittel Nacht.

The 6th Lubavitcher Rebbe, left, playing chess with his younger son-in-law, the future 7th Rebbe, right, allegedly on Nittel Nacht.

Why would Jews have Christmas traditions?  As Aaron Eby explains in this article published by First Fruits of Zion, the tradition of Nittel Nacht originated in Eastern Europe in response to the anti-Semitic acts of Christians frequently committed on Christmas Eve.  It would seem that the version of the story of Jesus which they had heard in Christmas Eve services emphasized the role of Jews in rejecting Jesus and causing his execution.  Perhaps that would be sufficient motivation for a Bohemian peasant with nothing better to do to find a Jewish shop and throw a brick through the window, or maybe even throw that brick through the head of an unsuspecting Jewish pedestrian.  With such a testimony by the self-identified followers of Jesus Christ, is it any wonder that Jews have had little motivation to learn about the very real, and very Jewish, Jesus?


Nittel Nacht

Believe it or not, there really are customs among Chasidim for Christmas Eve.
Aaron Eby
(originally published on First Fruits of Zion, December 24, 2015)

Given that Christmas Eve was a favorite time for raids, pogroms, and marauding, certain practices developed in Jewish communities as a result.  Some of them were pragmatic, a matter of survival; others were symbolic, to show disdain for the enemies of the Jewish people.  May we never see those dark times again.

Please click here to continue reading the source article at Nittel Nacht | Discover | First Fruits of Zion


© Albert J. McCarn and The Barking Fox Blog, 2013-2016.  Permission to use and/or duplicate original material on The Barking Fox Blog is granted, provided that full and clear credit is given to Albert J. McCarn and The Barking Fox Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.
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About Albert J. McCarn

I am a lifelong disciple of Jesus (Yeshua) of Nazareth, an avid student of the Bible, a devoted husband and father, a 29-year veteran of the United States Army, and a historian who connects people with their own stories.

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