celebrating Jewish holidays

would you say that it is sinful for a Catholic person/family to celebrate Jewish holidays privately (as in at home, not with the Jews/at the synogogue)? Not all of them, obviously, but maybe Ta’anit Ester, Yom Kippur, Hanukkah… If you believe it’s sinful, why? By the way, this isn’t an ecumenical thing…like I said, private practice. Thanks.

I would have thought that following the line of thought of St.Paul and his many warning against Jewish practices (see Galatians) that this would be unwarranted and hence possibly sinful. Jewish practices were abrogated by Christ’s passover, hence we are meant to celebrating the feasts of the New Covenant not of the Old.

I don’t know too much about the Jewish religion, but if you are Catholic, why would you want to celebrate Jewish holidays when none of their holidays celebrate Jesus?:confused:

I don’t see it as sinful any more than celebrating the 4th of July is sinful in the US.

For example

Hanukkah is a celebration of the victory of the faithful ancestors of Mary and Jesus over the pagan Greeks and the rededication of the temple to God. You can read the stories of the conflict and victory out of your Catholic Bible (see Machabees)

Especially if there are Hebrew ancestors in your family tree.

I wondered about celebrating the days in which God delivered His people…Hanukkah, Ta’anit Ester, (I’m not familiar with many others yet), the Day of Atonement… Some are replaced in the New Covenant, such as Passover, but the other holidays, before the time of Christ (and therefore, not technically rejecting Him). Since we, the Church, are God’s Chosen People, it just makes sense to celebrate (even if not in the same manner as the Jews) some of them.:confused: That’s my reasoning behind it anyway.

No Hebrews in the tree…a few Lutherans though, and quite a few Freemasons.:eek:

If friends invited you to share their celebration or observance of a Jewish holiday, I would understand and say it’s not “sinful” and not a problem. (If they did so, they would certainly be other than Orthodox Jews, but that’s not the point.)

But to celebrate or observe a Jewish holiday alone on your own seems to me to be a little odd. Whether it’s “sinful” or not I won’t venture to say, but why would you want to do it? :confused:There is no efficacy in doing so: the Old Covenant is superceded and the Old Testament is fulfilled in the person of Jesus.

see quote #5:)

Two thoughts:
a) It depends on what you mean by “celebrate”. For instance, Hanukkah celebrates the re-dedication of the Temple, that Judaism was not wiped out and that God showed favor on the re-dedication by providing the miracle necessary for it to take place. This was a good deal before the Incarnation (it is recorded in Maccabees, which Catholics still have in the Scriptural canon) so…so far, so good.
But if you recite or sing the traditional Hebrew prayers of Hanukkah–and what would Hanukkah be without these?–you’ll find that they say this, in translation:

*Blessed are You, Lord our God, King of the Universe, Who has sanctified us with His commandments, and has commanded us to light the Chanukah lamps.

Blessed are You, Lord our God, King of the Universe, Who has done miracles for our fathers in bygone days, at this time.

Blessed are You, Lord our God, King of the Universe, Who has given us life, and has sustained us, and has brought us to this time.*

Now, I think the third prayer, the Shehecheyanu, is a really nice one, and one a Catholic could easily use on a regular basis. The second one is nice, too: this is a miracle we have in our Scriptures, still, and so to remember it with gratitude is a good thing.

But with regards to the first prayer: we Catholics do not believe we are sanctified by the Law, but by the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Furthermore, not even the Jews believe that we Catholics (or any other gentiles) are commanded to light Hanukah lamps. We’re not. As a rule, Jews don’t go around saying prayers that don’t fit. You say the ones that a situation calls for, once and once only, then you stop.

So if you were to “celebrate” Hanukah, you’d have to do it in an altered form, or it wouldn’t fit you.

Which brings up
b) Jews are not necessarily going to find it respectful to know that Gentiles outside Judaism are making up new personal rituals based on Jewish ones. (As in our own side of things, the Orthodox are not even particularly thrilled when Reform Jews do this!) This is particularly true for the Seder, by the way. If you put yourself in their shoes, and imagine someone making up a personal version of the Mass, you can see their point of view. Even if somebody made up a set of prayers that used our Rosary, it wouldn’t be right for them to have a Crucifix on their “rosary” when they didn’t put their faith in the death and resurrection of Jesus. So one has to tread very carefully, in order to be respectful of others. “What they don’t know won’t hurt them” does not fly here. Do not do in private what you would not want shouted from the rooftops.

I think it a nice gesture to fast for the sake of the Jews on Yom Kippur. I think they’d consider that a mitzvah, and you a mensch for wanting to do it. Nobody is going to care if you break your fast in the manner they would, either. But do be mindful that your religious rituals must always worship God in keeping with the truth God has revealed to you, and always do so in a way that is not in any way insensitive to those who do not enjoy the fullness of revelation.

I think Jews and Muslims would both be pleased if we were to educate our children about their holy days and why they keep them, just as we would be pleased if they were to take the trouble to learn and teach what we do and believe, and why. They would be pleased if we were to commend them particularly to Heaven on their holy days, as we would if they did so for us. It has to be done in a very careful way, though, particularly if anything in the way of actual co-observance is planned. This isn’t something one just jumps into because we like latkes, doughnuts, and the pretty candles. We have to consider God’s will for us and gifts to us and his will for others, and proceed accordingly, with that big picture in mind.

The efficacy is the entrance into a celebratory mood. There is no efficacy in Christmas. All masses are about the passion. Christmas is a remembrance of the Word becoming flesh. I can remember that any day of the year, the efficacy is the same. No special graces.

I celebrate passover with my family (I have Hebrew ancestors) as a rememberance of our deliverance from Pharoah. A rememberance of our entry into the first covenant. I celebrate Easter as a rememberance of our entry into the new covenant.

A holiday is a time to remember who you are and how you came to be who you are.

We are the new israel, not a break from the old, but a growth out of the same stock. The OT history is our history, the OT Law may be abrogated but the memory remains.

Is there a difficulty with setting aside a time to remember we are sinners (the day of atonement) and need salvation and there was a time when we were waiting for the messiah to redeem us?

These memories makes God’s hand in the world more present, more meaningful and more personal.

God blessed us through both one who saved our bodies (Moses) and one who saved our souls (Jesus). One was of God and one was God.

— Hear, O Israel, the LORD is our God, the LORD alone!!! ----

I would have to say that I have problems with the practice. In the first place the Ebionites attempted to mold Judaism and Christianity or rather to retain Jewish elements within the practice of Christianity. It didn’t woirk and was condemned. I think that by adhering to Jewish Rites and ceremonies,even if only on a personal level, one runs the risk of falling into same trap as the Ebionites.

I think that this practice treads upon dangerous ground indeed.

On the other hand, too much ignorance in us about the Jews led to the pogroms, in some times and places. Too much distance, particularly when “us” and “them” becomes over-emphasized, can pose its own problems, too. There needs to be a place where we are all “us”, the children for whom God thirsts.

I think it better to stick to our own liturgical calendar, but I think that to understand the other ones, and to be mindful of others when they celebrate holy days that have a laudatory basis is not a bad habit. Any time that a person opens himself or herself to the One God, that is an auspicious time. It is good to be amiable, and to ask for heaven’s blessings on them at such times.

I certainly agree to be mindful and respectful of other religions, but if someone is Christian, why would he/she want to celebrate a Jewish holiday in their house? Our religion is based on Jesus and the Jewish religion is not…Celebrating a Jewish holiday in your own house would be like denying Jesus…

I don’t believe that celebrating a Jewish holiday is equal to denying Christ, especially when it is one that Jesus Himself probably celebrated with Mary and St. Joseph. I’m referring to the more ancient holidays - not any that were added to their calendar after Christ - since Catholics are technically the “true Jews.” I just have a hard time believing that it would be a sin celebrate these days (as I believe it wouldn’t be a sin to pray a novena to Abraham, Isaac, Jacom, David, Jeremiah…) so long as they don’t contradict the Faith or foster a spirit of religious indifference.:shrug:

Tough question.

All of the first Christians were Jewish, and attended Jewish religious services in their local synagogue. Jesus was a Jew, as were Mary and Joseph. They certainly would have attended Jewish services during their lifetimes.

Nevertheless, I think that if you take an orthodox position - Jewish or Christian - you would need to choose one religious practice over the other. Mixing and matching doesn’t make much sense.

I personally don’t see any harm in reading Jewish religious texts, though I am sure this goes against Church orthodoxy. In fact, I think you can learn a lot about the history of the Bible by reading authentic Jewish texts.

If you are interested in their religious services, then why not simply read the Machzorim, the prayer book utilized by Jews for their high holy days, without practicing the holiday ritual service?

Having read the Jewish Siddur, I find very little objectionable to the prayers, aside from the clearly obvious omission of Christ as Savior. In fact, the Jewish Siddur has some of the most beautiful prayers I have ever read, and many are incorporated into our traditional Catholic prayers. I can cite several examples, but you get the idea.

I’m not really interested in celebrating the rituals, just the event behind the day, like Evan said in one of his posts; making alterations as needed (like in the first prayer Easter Joy quoted). The celebration/rituals I have no interest in, as in that’s not what prompted this question. I’m just very much into tradition and the old ways, and love incorporating what I can where I can.
Maybe I’m just a little bonkers?:blush:

I can’t agree. All of the early sources and up until very recently were steadfastly against such things. I have to beleive that the Church knew what it was doing. We can have knowledge and respect for something without practicing it.



The early sources taught that it was wrong to fast on behalf of the Jews on Yom Kippur, to pray for the Muslims during Ramadan, or to thank God for his faithfulness to the Jews when they celebrate Hanunkah?

I don’t believe it.

And if you think there is something wrong with a Catholic reciting the Shehecheyanu, I’ve got to wonder about you…:shrug:

I think there is something wrong with a Catholic that is so out of touch with the Church that he needs to go to another faith to feel that he is connecting.

And if you think that you need to go outside of the faith to find something, then I have to wonder about you.

And before you decide to say anything, check out the early sources and see exactly how the Church felt aboty cross religious observances.

Said nothing about *going to *another faith, or going to another faith to *feel *anything. My desire to do this has nothing to do with not “connecting” to the One True Faith.

And if you think that you need to go outside of the faith to find something, then I have to wonder about you.

“Need” isn’t the issue. I just -]didn’t/-] don’t see anything wrong with celebrating the mercy of God in delivering the “original Catholics” from physical destruction.
I noticed that many Catholics don’t have a problem with celebrating the New Year, Halloween, Fourth of July, Memorial Day, Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, etc…Wouldn’t the observance of the Lord saving His People through Esther and her cousin be more cause for celebration? Or the Day of Atonement?

I’m not saying this to nag or argue, I truly do not see a problem with this, but if the Church has addressed this issue specifically, I’d really like to read what She said. If you could provide a link please, it would be very helpful?:slight_smile:

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