This time of year many Jews are left wondering, “Should I be sending my rabbi some sort of holiday greeting? And if so, is it appropriate to flash off a quick, time-saving Chanukah e-message, or is a traditional paper card still the way to go?”
The International Coalition of Jewish Councils agree that it is definitely a good idea to send your rabbi holiday greetings.
Further studies have shown those same rabbinical recipients were more likely to be lenient with their congregants and less likely to hit them up for donations simply because they each received a friendly Chanukah card.
Leaving a little something in your rabbi’s mailbox is a good idea if not for the simple reason that it is a powerful, yet very subtle way of networking a guest seat at your rabbi’s table for Shabbos. Oh yes, he will remember you!
However, when it comes to e-mailing your rabbi, experts suggest holding back for a variety of reasons. Many senior rabbis have an “old school” mentality. An e-mail may be interpreted by these Juden as being too cavalier, …like this website.
In addition, e-cards lack the personal touch of a handwritten note. Think of a doctor’s prescription. And while we’re on it, Tweeting your rabbi or Liking him on Facebook is also a no-no.
Remember, as with all great intentions, this gesture can backfire on you unless you follow the proper protocols. Cards remain a great alternative in lieu of real, actual gifts that will end up costing you a lot more money. Here are a few more guidelines to consider:
- Do not buy a Christmas card and scratch out the word Christmas and write the word Chanukah over it.
- Pictures of Christmas trees can never be substituted for a Chanukah bush.
- Never go with cheaply made cards that can bleed all over a holy rabbi’s hands. Remember, those hands will be blessing your congregation!
- Not everyone celebrates the festival of Chanukah the same way. The wrong applesauce or type of sour cream on your guest’s latkes may, heaven forbid, send them into an emotional tailspin lasting more than 8 days. Customs and mileage may vary; consult with your local orthodox rabbinic authority.
- Always check your spelling if writing an inscription or just practicing your calligraphy. Any good points that you might score with your rabbi will be lost if he opens a card wishing him a “Happy Chaka Khan”.