Monday, December 11, 2023

Mr. Menorah-head 5784/2023

As their favorite season drew closer this year

The Jews down in Jew-ville lacked Chanukah cheer

They all loved this holiday, boychiks and maidels

They longed to light candles, eat latkes, spin dreidels

To gather their families, from lands far and wide

To sing “Rock of Ages” and eat stuff that’s fried

But this year the season brought trouble and grief

The Jew-ville Jews struggled to find some relief

Alone and uncertain, forlorn and unsure

Wandering lost through the thick fog of war

Hostages suffering who knows what fate?

Rising intolerance, anger and hate

Alliances collapsed and old friendships frayed

Again and again, the Jews felt betrayed

Anxious, abandoned and bleeding at heart

Facing such tzures, where should we start?

Alas, where extremists on both sides agreed

Was in blaming our people, in word and in deed

Yes, folks with the most divergent of views

Had one thing in common: contempt for the Jews

On campuses, hubris and ethical error

Led so-called progressives to champion terror

With prominent activist scholars and writers

Saluting Hamas as brave freedom fighters

They scorned Jews as colonists—heaven forbid

We should dwell in the land where our ancestors lived

On the right Tucker Carlson and Elon Musk

Talked smack about Jews from dawn until dusk

They and their cronies defame and debase us

Supporting the folks who say Jews won’t replace us.

Some cheered on Bibi but that was a ruse—

For to love right-wing Israel is not to love Jews

With so many villains putting us down,

The Jew-ville Jews feared for the fate of their town

Yes, all of the shtetl was filled with dismay

Would a hero arise who could still save the day?

Every Jew down in Jew-ville, each boychick and maidel

Held hope Lucy Latke and Dana the Dreidel

And brave Gershon Geltbag might relieve the tension

But as it turned out, they had all gone on pension.

All hope seemed to fade as the day it grew dimmer

But off in the distance, the Jews saw a glimmer

It moved toward the people, quite quickly it sped

Yet the light did not shine on Menorah-head’s head

(Menorahhead and boxing rabbi)

Yes, although their old hero had clearly returned

His bald head was dark where the candles once burned

And boxing Reb Moishe, his side kick of years

Looked ragged and weary, his face lined with tears

The people cried, “Save us!”—their hero said, “No—

We must all work together if we want to grow

There’s no Caped Crusader and no super power

To come to the rescue in this urgent hour

Help won’t descend like a gift from the skies—

If you seek peace and justice, then friends, now arise!

I’ll be cheering you on every step of the way

Your time—it is now, the work starts today! 

It’s true the world’s broken, and feeling quite dark

But if you want light, you must gather up sparks

And kindle new flames, for in this trying time

You’re the ones who must make hope and history rhyme

Know that to love your own tribe is no sin;

In fact this is where human love must begin

Hillel was right—he spoke truthfully

If I’m not for myself, who will be for me?

Does life have you down with the Chanukah blues?

Then embrace who you are and stand tall with the Jews

With your feet on the ground and your head in the sky

Give thanks for our people, Am Yisrael Chai!

But the quote’s other half you must also apply:

If I’m only for myself, then what am I?

If we don’t also grieve Palestinian dead

Then we’ve hardened our hearts and our souls and our heads.

The grim path of Bibi, Smotrich and Ben Gvir

Leaves no hope for peace—only cruelty and fear

Such a harsh moral vision, so stingy and narrow

Is unworthy of Jews—it’s the failed path of Pharaoh

Though at times we must fight, pray for bloodshed to cease

When living with war, don’t stop working for peace

And though the Jew-hatred has left a big scar,

Times like these show us who are true friends really are

Even though we’re all hurting, in life’s stormy weather

There’s solace in knowing we face it together

The darkness will pass, the light will return

The bright flames of freedom will once again burn

Then gathering strength, without hesitation

Menorah-head implored his whole congregation: 

For the past thirty years we’ve fought tyrants galore

For each we’ve defeated, arose several more

The prophet spoke truth though it’s hard now to hear it:

Not by might, not by power, but only by spirit

In the end superheroes will not save this nation—

Together you must make your own celebration

In tough times like these, in the dark of the night

If we’re to prevail, you must all kindle light

Friends, you each have your own righteous light you must sow—

So let your light shine and the darkness will go!  

Then each Jewville Jew looked into their soul

And the flame of community glowed like a coal

With courage and faith, they banished despair

And it’s said that a great miracle happened there—

Hope was rekindled, hatred was gone

As Jewville burst into a Chanukah song—

And the neighboring nations—they all sang along! 

They sang about peace, of Salaam and Shalom

Of hope and of healing upon their shared home. 

And Mr. Menorahead, now shining bright

Said “Gut Yuntiff to all and to all a good night.”