Sunday, November 28th 2021   |

Chanukah Poem

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

Hellenistic tendencies

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

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