Twas the night before Hanukkah




With paternal Jewish ancestry and maternal Methodist ancestry, I grew up around both Christmas and Hanukkah celebrations. Thankfully, my parents taught me respect and tolerance for all beliefs.

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!

The Kinderlakh, sleeping,
uneasily felt
The chocolate rush
from the Hanukkah gelt.

And me in the easyboy,
so stuffed with latkes,
I stretched the elastic
which held up my gatkes.

When up on the roof
(and it has a steep pitch)
A fat alte kakker was making a kvitsch.

I jumped up real quick
and I ran to the door,
Was it a bandeet,
or only a schnorrer?

He wasn't alone;
he had eight ferdelakh,
And called them by name
as he gave a gebrakh:


sol the lesser known reindeer
sol the lesser known reindeer
Photo Credit: A Day in the Life of Zach
"On Moishe, on Yankel, on Itzik, on Sam,
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 was triple XL,
a real groisser goof,
So I yelled out,
"Meshuggener! Get off from mein roof!"

He jumped down and said
as he shook hands with me,
"Max Klaus is the name.
You have maybe some tea?"

So I gave him a gleisel,
while he shook his white mop,
Mutt'ring, "Always the same thing,
They're dreying my kopp!"

From Vancouver to Glacier Bay,
Outremont to Reginek,
Every shmo in the world
hakks meir a cheinik!

They're screaming for presents,
and hallah with schmaltz,
And from Brooklyn alone,
the back pain, gevaltz!"

So we sat and yentehed,
and we spun the old dreydels,
(He took all of my money,
and one of my knaidels)

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?"

And he gave a geshrei
as he fled mit a lakht,
"Gut Yontiff to All,
Vey iz Mir, Such a Nakht!"


twas the night before christmas
Twas the night before Christmas
Flickr-User: emilystrange74.
This is but one parody of the famous 'Twas the Night Before Christmas which real title is A Visit from St. Nicholas. Here are some others:

A Mom's 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...

A Lawyer's Christmas

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...

A Texas Christmas

'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.

A Genealogist's Christmas

'Twas the night before Christmas when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even my spouse...

An Intellectual Christmas

'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
musculus...

A NASCAR Christmas

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...

A Redneck Christmas

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.

Jewish SantaRelated:
For all the poor Jews who never got a Santa:

SOMA Review,
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



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