Maoz Tzur — Chanukah’s greatest hit
We love The Dreidel song:
The first verse starts with a general thank you:
O mighty stronghold of my salvation,
to praise You is a delight.
Restore my House of Prayer
and there we will bring a thanksgiving offering.
But moves to the specfic from the rhetorical:
When You will have prepared the slaughter
for the blaspheming foe,
Then I shall complete with a song of hymn
the dedication of the Altar.
Next verse recounts the Exodus, and thanks God, the third tells of the destruction of the First Temple and the Babylonian Exile, the fourth verse tells the Purim story, and the fifth is about Chanukah.
Then comes the mysterious sixth verse—omitted from some versions because it seems to liken “The Red One” to the oppressors of old, and this evil Red Dude is thought to be an allusion to Holy Roman Emperor Bare Your holy arm and hasten
the End for salvation –
Avenge the vengeance of Your servants’ blood
from the wicked nation.
For the triumph is too long delayed for us,
and there is no end to days of evil,
Repel the Red One in the nethermost shadow
and establish for us the seven shepherds.
From all accounts Red Fred seemed to be pretty good to the Jews (comparatively), at least according my research, and I don’t know why the writer of the sixth verse put him on his hit list.
The bloody lyrics and Red Fred mystery make the elegant melody and counterpoint even shinier, I think, and isn’t that what Chanukah’s all about?
Happy Chanukah to all!