Tuesday, December 16, 2014
I'm Spending Hanukkah in SM, with Tom Lehrer!
On the fifth day of Christmas my true love gave to me... a deidel (or a draydl or a trendel)
Happy Hanukkah, or Hannukah, or if you really want to get into that throaty, Hebrew (or Scottish) -kh sound -- Chanukah, or Channukkah......but we goyim have trouble with that back-of-the-throat -kh business so we just usually stick to the simpler -h as-in-happy sound.....but anyhoo, Happy!! (or Hapy, or Hapyy, or even Chappy or Chapy!!)
As everyone knows, Hanukkah (This seems to be the preferred spelling. Don't ask me.) is an eight day commemoration of the victory in 167 b.c.e. of the Jews led by Judah the Maccabee over the Syrian despots. The Great Temple had been desecrated by the worshipers of pagan gods, and after the Jewish triumph it was cleansed and rededicated by Judah who re-lit the lamps of the menorah. Hanukkah celebrates religious freedom, but is really more of a secular than a strictly religious holiday.
I will now turn it over to Leo Rosten, the author of The Joys of Yiddish. (Simon and Shuster. 1968.)
"To this day, each Chanukah, Jews light candles for eight days-- one the first evening, adding one light each night on the nine-branched menorah. A special ninth candle, called the shammes (servant), stands taller than the rest in the menorah and is used to light the others. This is interpreted to show that one can give love and light to others without losing any part of one's own radiance." (pg. 71) And...
"Chanukah is observed with parties, games, and gifts to the children....A delightful Chanukah game is a put-and-take game played with a four-sided top (a draydl or trendel), using nuts for the betting. The draydl is marked with four Hebrew letters: nun, gimel, hay, and shin -- the initial letters of the Hebrew words meaning 'a great miracle took place there (nes gadol haya sham)." (pg. 72)
Very, very, very cool, but enough already. Here is Tom Lehrer explaining a warm way to celebrate.
Thanks to PerplexedGuide for sharing this on YouTube.
And since we here at KissMyReview try to be as ecumenical as possible and bring all people together, here is a little extra sugar plum from Mr. Lehrer. He was filmed in concert in Copenhagen in 1967, and this one was shared by The Tom Lehrer Wisdom Channel.
Dominus vobiscum, y'all!
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