My Old Kentucky Homesite

Happy Chanukah, Orrin

Posted by Larry Wallberg on 12/09/2009

Most of my readers will already know that many of our most popular secular Christmas songs were written by Jews. (See the link on my sidebar.)  But this year, the big news is that Senator Mormon Hatch (R-Deseret), as you’ve probably heard ad nauseam by now, has written a Chanukah song, which was recorded in Indiana by a woman of Syrian extraction who doesn’t know how to pronounce the name of the holiday. (You can listen to the performance, if you must, by clicking here.) How ecumenical, eh?

Still, as someone with an ethnically Jewish background, I can tell you: All the songs in the world, even if they’re written by duly elected representatives from heavy-duty goyish states, are not going to make Chanukah into anything but a third-rate Yuletide. The Jews’ seasonal holiday just can’t hold a candle to Christmas.

As far as I know, no one has ever written a song specifically about that fact. Until now.

[A pretentious note on the metrics: Although I have composed a tune for this song, you don’t know what it is. I assure you, however: trying to make the words fit “Frosty the Snowman” or “Adeste Fideles” or even “Yankee Doodle” will not work. So just read the following as if it’s a really bad poem. However, if you’d like to recite the thing with any kind of musicality, you must keep in mind that the lyric is written basically in secundus paeon tetrasyllables: short LONG short short. (All right, I wasn’t aware of that when I wrote it; I looked it up and include the information here to make you think I knew what I was doing.) But to complicate things even further, some lines end in a trimeter with only one short syllable at the end; usually, but not always, the “fourth” short syllable is carried over to begin the next line. The last couplet of each verse,  … ah, screw it. I’m just gonna put all the accented syllables in boldface, OK? If that drives you nuts, just think of what a pain in the ass it was to type. Then ask yourself: Would Orrin Hatch go to this kind of trouble for his readers? I doubt it; he won’t even vote to give them health care, f’Chrissake.]

I love to light the candles on the Chanukah menorah,
And to spin the little dreidl hardly ever is a bore. A
Bit of gelt is always welcome to a kid; it’s just sensational!
“Buy anything you want (athough it should be educational).”
But here’s a question, Mom, for you, since Christmas season’s here:
Will Santa Claus be visiting the Jewish kids this year?

It’s fun to be a Hebrew ‘cause you get a big bar mitzvah,
Even if you scorn religion, can’t see what the devil it’s f’.
But you have to wait till you’re thirteen until you get your kicks,
And that’s very little comfort to a kid like me, who’s six.
So I must admit I’m worried and I ask you, Mommy dear,
“Will Santa Claus be visiting the Jewish kids this year?”

I’m proud that we are Jewish. Please believe me; I’m not fakin’.
I can live without their crosses. I can live without their bacon.
I love Purim with its groggers and delicious hamantashen.
Yom Kippur would be fine, too, if they would let you do some noshin.’
And at Pesach, if you’re smart, you find the matzah and get money
(While the Christian kid at Easter gets a lousy choc’late bunny).
So I’m not condemning Chanukah; I think it’s really great!
But, Mommy, can’t we have a little Christmas till I’m eight?

For when the other kids sing “Deck the halls with boughs of holly,”
Please excuse me if I can’t help wishing I could be as jolly.
I would love to watch for Rudolph; it would thrill my heart to pieces,
Even though I couldn’t care less about that other fellow, Jesus.
So I’m asking you again (please try to hear me loud and clear):
“Will Santa Claus be visiting the Jewish kids this year?

Next, maybe I’ll run for the U.S. Senate.

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4 Responses to “Happy Chanukah, Orrin”

  1. Evie said

    I can’t believe I listened to the whole song. Ugh.

    As for your song, “House of the Rising Sun,” “Marching to Georgia,” “Ode to Joy” and “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star” don’t work either.

  2. Evie:
    That sounds like a marching band program. Have you been practicing for a holiday parade? If so, don’t forget to include a Chanukah song, preferably one written by a Democrat.

  3. Evie said

    Joe Lieberman is Jewish and ostensibly a Democrat. Do you want to email him, or should I?

  4. Evie:
    Feel free to drop Lieberman a line, but I think he’s probably too busy writing hymns in praise of the health insurance industry. Barney Frank is Jewish, but he’s only a Representative. Anyway, if we really want the new Chanukah song to be ecumenical, you should contact Keith Ellison. But hurry. There are only six nights left.

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