The tale we learn at Chanukah
Is always so exciting
We’re told about the Maccabees —
Their courage in the fighting.
We’re shown how they resisted
That permeated countrysides
And spread far like disease.
It was Syrian King Antiochus
Who decided that the Jews
Would worship all their idols
Which was most distressing news.
Judah and his brothers four
Announced that they would stand
On the side of G-d and Jewish prayer,
Till they had the upper hand.
The Maccabees whose name meant “hammer”
Fought for three long years.
In victory they reentered Jerusalem
‘Midst the throngs of Jewish cheers.
Tentatively, they went to their Temple
After beating all the odds
They entered the Temple only to find
It filled with Grecian gods.
Aghast, and full of horror
They scrubbed and cleansed the site
Away went the marks of the Syrians
The good Lord helped them smite.
The holy oil that burned in the lamp
Atop the Aron Hakodesh
Required eight days cleansing
Before more could be made fresh.
Just one jar of oil – enough to burn
For just one day
Was all that was found there.
So, the Jews began to pray.
The oil was lit on the first day
And it burned so brightly bold.
Then it burned into a second day –
The miracle was to unfold
The oil burned through a third day
Through days four, five, six and seven
When it lasted through the eighth day
Awestruck praise rose up to heaven.
So the miracle of Chanukah
That we celebrate through the years
Is about the oil, but even more,
It’s how we conquered fears.
The fears of being persecuted,
Of being on the side of right,
Enabled Jewish zealots
To defeat armies of might.
The miracle of burning lights
The singing of Ma’oz Tsur
Are Chanukah traditions
That we cherish, to be sure.
Remember, though, that none of this
Would be possible without
The bravery of the Maccabees
Over foes G-d helped them rout.
The powerful lesson that we learn
Is to our faith be steadfast and true
And the help and backing of the Lord
Will follow when it’s due.
So have a Happy Chanukah
Enjoy these holidays
And think about all of it
When on the candles you should gaze.
©2002 Alan Smason