This Hanukkah Poem has been around the Internet and email circuit for a few years, but for my non-Yiddish readers and as a public service, I offer translations and links to the highlighted words.
Simply mouse over any term and the translation should appear. If you want more information or detail click on any link. Clicking on Hallah (for example) will bring you to a recipe for making that braided style of bread while clicking on Gelt will give you more information on the holiday tradition of giving Hanukkah Gelt.
At the bottom of the post I have also collected a number of other variations on 'Twas the Night Before Christmas..." If you have any that you find interesting that I have not listed, kindly include them in the comments sections.
Enjoy. And to all my readers, Happy Hanukkah and Merry Christmas..
'Twas the night before Hanukkah
and all over the place
There was noise, there was kvetching
Such ah disgrace!
"On Moishe, on Yankel, on Itzik, on Sam,
sol the lesser known reindeer
Photo Credit: A Day in the Life of Zach
On Mendel, on Shmendrik, on Feivush, on Ham;
My kidneys are kvelling;
do you give a damn?"
He had a white beard
and payyes to boot,
And to keep out the cold,
he had such a nice suit!
A second from Peerless,
I could tell at a glance,
But the cut was okay,
and so were the pants.
He jumped down and said
as he shook hands with me,
"Max Klaus is the name.
You have maybe some tea?"
He said, "Business is not bad,
a living I make,
But I'm getting too old
for this Hanukkah fake;
And the cell phones, you see
how my pacemaker dings?
For two cents I'd quit,
and move to Palm Springs?"
Twas the night before Christmas
It was the night before Christmas, when all thru the abode
Only one creature was stirring, and she was cleaning the commode.
The children were finally sleeping, all snug in their beds,
While visions of Nintendo 64 and Barbie, flipped through their heads...
Whereas, on or about the night prior to Christmas, there did occur at a certain improved piece of real property (hereinafter "the House") a general lack of stirring by all creatures therein, including, but not limited to a mouse...
'Twas the night before Christmas, in Texas, you know.
Way out on the prairie, without any snow.
Asleep in their cabin, were Buddy and Sue,
A dreamin' of Christmas, like me and you.
'Twas the night before Christmas when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even my spouse...
'Twas the nocturnal segment of the diurnal period preceding the
annual Yuletide celebration, and throughout our place of residence,
kinetic activity was not in evidence among the possessors of this
potential, including that species of domestic rodent known as Mus
Twas the Race before Christmas and all through the track
Each driver was ready to make his attack.
The tires had been stacked by the pit crew with care...
Twas the night before Christmas, and all through the trailer
Not a creature was stirrin' 'cept a redneck named Taylor...
And if you have the time there are 849 more versions ranging from innocent and cute to vulgar and obscene, so read with caution. Includes the Seinfeld version:
'Twas the night before Festivus and all through Queens,
Not a Costanza was yelling...as strange as it seems.
The family was sleeping, just waiting for light.
Saving their strength for the upcoming fight.
Santa Cohen Is Comin' to Town
From what my mother tells me, it really wasn't until the 1940s or 1950s that Christmas commercialism caught up with Chanukah, and turned it into what most people mistake as the "Jewish Christmas." My mom remembers that when she was growing up in the 1920s and 1930s, you got only one Chanukah present—in her case, sadly and invariably, a "useful" item such as underwear. Gifts were not a big part of the holiday, which remained a true "holy day" of rejoicing and remembering how brave Judah Macabee and his band of insurgents known as the Macabees revolted against harsh Greek rule, which forbade Jews to practice their religion, and took back the small mountain of the Holy Temple, which had been defiled by the Greeks...
Yiddish Translations Source: Harkavy's Yiddish-English (6th edition), English-Yiddish (11th edition) Dictionary (1910) Click Here