September 23, 2019

The Grinch Who Stole The Latkes


Oh the Jews of old Jewville just loved holidays,
And kept them religiously, in all of their ways.
But of all of the holidays that we Jews remember
The most special in Jewville was the one in December.

With tales of brave Judah, with latkes and dreidels
Chanukah thrilled Jewville’s boychiks and maidels.
Chanukah brought all their families together,
To sing and to celebrate, no matter the weather!

But there was one among them
Who got no joy and no nachas
From candles and latkes
and dreidels and brachas.

Chanukah made him so angry and blue-ish
You’d hardly have guessed that he was born Jewish.
Since his bar mitzvah, he grew not an inch.
He was surly and hairy, and they called him the Grinch.

“They’re polishing menorahs,” he snarled with a sneer,
“Tomorrow is Chanukah, it’s practically here.”
Then he growled with his Grinch fingers nervously drumming,
“I must find a way to stop Chanukah from coming.”

So the night before Chanukah, while the latkes were cooking,
He sprinkled his poison when no one was looking.
No one got sick and no one got flu-ish,
But Grinch’s bad latkes changed everyone Jewish.

The Grinch, he was clever, with a great sense of humor,
‘Cuz his evil poison, turned kids to consumers.
And when families told tales of wise Mattathias,
All children could say was: What did you buy us?
We want PlayStation, XBox, or we’ll make a fuss,
We want Barbies and Legos, because Toys R Us!

Soon all of Jewville was crazy with shopping,
To a 108 stores they went without stopping.
No one sat home to sing Mi Yemallel,
‘Cuz the best things in life were at Bloomingdales.
They forgot Judah’s fight against gods who were foreign,
What mattered to them was J. Crew and Ralph Lauren.
They stopped making latkes with their special aroma,
Unless they could find ’em at Williams Sonoma.
A people who once died but their God would not switch,
Bowed down to an idol called Abercrombie and Fitch.

As the dark fell on a Chanukah, bereft of its light,
The Grinch cackled loudly into the night.
“I knew it! Their miracles are empty and false,
Just give them some credit cards and bring them to malls.
They’ll forget what it means to be a Jew,
When Saks has a sale on Fifth Avenue.”

But there was still one in Jewville who was immune to his potion,
For her, Chanukah meant dedication — devotion.
Susie L’Jew was a Jew oh so loyal,
But no latkes for her, she’s allergic to oil.
So while all Jewville went after materialism,
Susie stayed rooted in true Judaism.

She knew it was her task, like old Mattathias,
To break down the idols that bind us and tie us
To gods that are false and ideals so untrue,
And tell us the point of being a Jew.
“But how, I’m just one, in all of this madness,
How? I’m a kid,” she cried in her sadness.

She gathered her candles and chanukiah,
And in case she got hungry, a sufganiah.
Then she marched to the mall, with courage, no fears,
She went to do battle between Macy’s and Sears.

She stood in the food court, and climbed up on a table,
She held up her menorah as high as she was able
And called out her message in a voice loud and free:
“Who is on God’s side, come forth! Come to me!”

Everyone froze and looked on in distress,
They looked out from Nordstrom and out from Express,
At the little girl zealot with her great Jewish rap,
They heard her at Nike and even the Gap!
A moment of silence, then a sigh of emotion,
As everyone woke up from the Grinch’s bad potion.

“What are we doing here, with all of this stuff?
We don’t need all this merchandise, we have enough!”
So they dropped all their shopping bags, all they purchased with plastic,
They all ran right home, it was fantastic!

They all went right home and lit up the bright shamash,
They sat with their families and recited God’s promise:
Not by might or by power, but by spirit and soul,
Not by power or might, shall the world be made whole.

While they all sat at home, and they sang “Sivivon,”
Only Susie remained at the mall all alone.
But she wasn’t alone, she could smell his bad stench,
He stepped out of the darkness, uh oh — it’s the Grinch.

“How did you do that, my plan you just foiled,
Do you know what it took to poison their oil?
I thought it was brilliant, this potion can’t fail
To lure them from Costco to buying retail.”

Susie set down her lit-up menorah,
And answered the Grinch from her knowledge of Torah.
“Don’t you know, didn’t you learn, at school or at home?
In Pirke Avot, chapter four, taught Ben Zoma —
To get all that you want will just make you sick,
To want what you’ve got is life’s greatest trick.

“Tonight, Mr. Grinch, the world’s dark, the world’s cold,
So tonight, Mr. Grinch, the story is told,
How Judah the warrior set down his sword,
And proceeded to light up the House of the Lord.
He needed pure oil to light the menorah,
He needed eight day’s worth according to Torah,
But they found just one jar in the Temple’s vast towers,
They found just enough for 24 hours.”

“Judah, he lit it, because with all of his might,
He believed in each person is a spark of God’s light.
And if all of that light we combine and we share,
In the night’s cold cold darkness, we’ll know God is there.
It’s not stuff, Mr. Grinch, that we crave so hysterical,
Sharing our light is the Chanukah miracle.”

The Grinch stood transfixed, he lost all his fight,
The Grinch stood there mystified, he knew Susie was right.
The Grinch was transformed that Chanukah night,
For in Susie’s menorah he saw God’s true light.

Since then he’s done a miraculous teshuvah,
He comes to the minyan, he’s a shaker and mov’a
He sings with the choir, he knows every song,
And it’s said he does Chanukah all the year long.

That is our story, dear boychiks and maidels,
So when you sit down to play with your dreidels.
Remember brave Susie, who made friend of a foe,
That’s why it’s said: Nes Gadol Haya Po!