Similar to Yom Kippur, Christmas falls out on shabbos this year making for some complications, but many halachic authorities have come together to help us get through this very difficult yuntiff. Hilchos Crotzmas is already available in select seforim stores and we had a chance to talk with one of the leading halachic authorities when it comes to shailas concerning Xmas.
Does one need to make an eruv tavshilin this year?
Since Xmas is a one day yuntiff, you will not need an eruv tavshilin, if it were to fall out on motzoi shabbos there could be issues with preparing the food for the seuda on shabbos itself, but since it falls out on shabbos it just makes it into an extra mitzvah to prepare on erev shabbos which also happens to be erev yuntiff. Some verhy pious and stringent yidden actually fast on Xmas and this year they cannot take a voluntary fast upon themselves because it is shabbos. Many people are worried what may befall the Jews on this terrible day.
How do we greet our neighbors?
You don’t want people to think we yidden are celebrating this so called holiday which commemorates the birth (the rabbonom like always disagree on the birth date of jesus) of someone who is responsible for all those evil decrees of golus coming true. So it would be best to not greet your friends at all, New Yorkers don;t have this problem, but people who do wish their neighbors or fellow Jews “good shabbos” may want to refrain from this practice because of moris ayin. What if those people who have a chanukah bush were to see this and assume that orthodox Jews were celebrating Christmas chas v’shalom? However some aithorities say that we should purposefully say good shabbos to allow others to see that we are not dressed up in celebration of their holiday.
Can one bring a gift to someone’s house if the shabbos coincides with Xmas?
This is a very complicated issue, on the one hand, neighbors will assume you are celebrating the holiday – this in turn may make them question your practice of inviting them over with code words to turn off the fridge light and make it quite hard to find a shabbos goy. Once again, frei yidden may think it’s ok to bring gifts to their neighbors even if they are not celebrating the holiday – for they may not know that you are merely bringing your cousin moishie a bottle of wine for lunch.
Can we sing on shabbos-Xmas?
As long as you don’t sing at kiddush levana it is perfectly alright, singing at kiddush levana may cause some to think you are singing Christmas Carols which are strictly forbidden by the Torah. It is common for bresslovers to refrain from their public practice of singing and dancing during rush hour stalled traffic because there have been instances of people mistaking them for caroling. We have warned kiruv professionals to refrain from random carlebachian circles during this time.
Can we benefit from Xmas Sales?
No one has actually come to a conclusion on this all important item. On the one hand, Hashem created us in his image with an innate desire to save money and tell our friends about it, but on the other hand we are benefiting from our own destruction and shopping at Xmas sales almost always means we will be hearing the avodah zara music of the season.
Do we skip any parts of davening because of Xmas?
There is a rumor that Xmas is the one day of the year that Lubavitchers say tachnun.
Is it possible that not one of the Lubavitcher Rebbes was arrested, went to prison, gave a chassidus class in prison, was summoned to meet with a priest of officer, was released from prison or had some other miracle happen to them on Christmas day as to warrant the saying of tachnun?
It’s quite hard to believe but when we were researching hilchos Christmas we discovered this rumor.
What is the minhag yisrael regarding Chinese food on Christmas?
Since Xmas falls out on shabbos this year we don’t have to have the debate, but since it is what the fei yidden do, we try not to copy those who are against our torah values. It is also thought that if we start eating Chinese food on Christmas it may lead to the actual acknowledgment of the day itself.
Would it be considered avodah zara to use Xmas Lights?
No, since lights are not part of the Christian Mesorah, they used to have candles so it would be fine, although it’s always best to ask your rav. It is debatable if using christmas lights on succos is allowed, since many sukkahs have schach made from evergreens we don’t want the non-Jews thinking we are copying their holidays.
Are marital relations permitted on Xmas?
Usually not, but since this year it falls out on shabbos, you are allowed. Normally on Froday night it is a double mitzvah, but on Friday night of Xmas it will not be counted as double.
Are we barred from eating certian foods on Xmas?
Gingerbread cookies are strictly forbidden, as are candy canes and anything that has an Xmas theme. It has become a minhag in recent years to purchase left over Xmas items from heimishe stores like Amazing Savings and quite frankly the rabdonom writing teshuvos on hilchos Xmas are appalled.
I’ve noticed that many frum Jews never use their fireplaces, does this have anything to do with Santa?
Frum Jews don’t use fireplaces because the only time they around as a family in nice clothing is on shabbos and yuntiff when fires are not permitted, many frum Jews are also scared of the mythical Santa Claus so they never open their flu to prevent unwanted gifts.
What do the gedolim have to say about Jews mamish celebrating Xmas?
We are always trying to find loopholes when it comes to yidden going off the derech, we want to be able to call them up to the torah, serve non-mevushal wine without thinking they are idol worshipers and allow them to daven in our shuls – so it is assumed that many of them are ignorant and just celebrate it because everyone else they know is celebrating it. We try to give every Jew the benefit of the doubt and since most non-religious Jews don’t know any better we don;t berate them for their lack of knowledge and stupidity. Certain Gedolim have called for a cherem against Jews who celebrate Xmas, but many poskim disagree with this and compare celebrating Xmas to the sins of married women not covering their hair and Jews eating in non-kosher vegan restaurants.
Is it forbidden to call Xmas Christmas?
Yes it most definitely is. Many talmudic sages called it Crotzmas, then it was changed to Croksmith and then it was Americanized to Xmas.