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How the Grinch Stole the Stories

04/06/2015 07:07:00 AM

Apr6

How the Grinch Stole the Stories
Hanukkah, 2010/5771
by Rabbi Ed Feinstein

 

Oh, the Jews of old Jewville just love to tell stories,
Of old Jewish heroes and all of their glories.
Of old father Abraham and Isaac his son
Who would have been sacrificed, if no angel had come.
They told of smooth Jacob, he sure was a play’a
Till he discovered he’d married not Rachel, but Leah.
He wrestled the angel, and at dawn he prevailed
And that’s how we came to be called Yisrael.

They loved tales of great Moses who taught us the Torah,
And of his sister Miriam, who taught us to Hora.
Of mighty King David, and Solomon the Wise,
Of Samson and Delilah, who was hot, but not nice.

But of all of the stories that we Jews remember,
The ones they loved best we tell in December.
At this time of the year, a long time ago,
There was a great miracle, nes gadol haya po!

But there was one among them who got no joy and no nachas
From candles and latkes, and dreidels and brachas.
Hannuka made him so angry and blue-ish
You’d hardly have guessed that he was born Jewish.
Since Kitah Aleph, he grew not an inch.
He was surly and hairy, and they called him the Grinch.

He lived on a mountaintop, far above town,
When Hannuka came, he declared with a frown,
“I hate all your holidays, it’s all hocus pocus
When I tell the story, I’m for Antiochos!
Because all these miracles – they are all made up and fake!
If you believe them, you make mistake!
Maybe Macabees found some oil in the Temple
But soon it burned out, that’s the truth, just that simple.
And so my dear children, just listen to me,
If you’re looking for oil, go talk to BP.”

As Hannuka came, he got bluer and bluer,
When up from the town he heard “Maoz Tzur.”
And when he heard Jews singing “Mi Yemalel,”
He made up a plan, guaranteed not to fail.
“I’ll steal their Hannuka, I know just how to do it,
I will succeed where Antiochus just blew it!”
I’ll get them to turn their backs on the Torah,
They’ll throw away dreidels, and toss their Menorah!”

So down from the mountaintop, came the Grinch without stop
And across from the school he set up a big shop.
The shop was so glorious, the shop was so fine,
And in front of the shop was a bright shiny sign:
“Special Today, Kids, Just What You Need,
You Don’t Need to Waste Time To Learn How To Read!
No! Your generation no longer needs phonics,
Not when you’ve got all these electronics!
Just for today, it’s all here and it’s free
Take an I-Phone, an X-Box, an HDTV!”

Out of their school, they came like a horde,
So proud of the gadgets and tchatchkas they scored.
They snatch up the I-Pads, and played with the Wii’s
They pick up Blackberries and Play Station 3’s.
They tossed away all their books and sneered at their teachers,
We don’t need you, we have laptops with all of these features!

It’s said the Dark Ages began on the day
When people found books had nothing to say.
So they closed the libraries and sealed up their stacks
And tried to live life without thought, without facts.
They would have returned, those Dark Ages of old
Had it not been for someone quite small and quiet bold.
The school it was dark, no one was learning,
But down in the library, there was still one light burning.
So the Grinch rushed right down there to see who would try
To resist his free offer of 4-G WiFi.

There sat Suzie L’Jew, filled with devotion
She ignored all the hoopla and all the commotion.
Librarian hero, she sat in a nook
And read to her class from a big open book.

Long long ago, lived a king, Antiochus,
Who ruled over our land with laws that would choke us.
He outlawed the Torah, he outlawed Shabbat,
He made it illegal to worship our God.

Long before Simon Cowell heard songs in recital
Antiochus just loved to watch “Syrian Idol.”
So he fashioned a statue of the great Greek god Zeus
To be installed in the Temple of the God of the Jews.
He thought that the Jews would accept this new faith,
And stop eating kosher, and start eating tref.

Ah, but poor Antiochus, he didn’t know Jews,
How ferocious they get, when they are abused.
From the town of Modin came a force to unite us,
Judah and Simon, and brave Mattathias.
They defeated the Greeks in a glorious fight,
And came to the Temple to rekindle the light.
But the oil they found was only enough for one day,
So the Macabees turned to God and they prayed.

Give us Your light, God, to live by Your Torah,
Give us Your light from this great Menorah,
Our world is so dark and there's so much to fear,
So give us Your light God, and we'll know You're here.

When great men of war, put down their swords,
And turn in devotion to pray to the Lord,
And declare that it’s time for the fighting to cease,
It’s time that the world knows the blessing of peace.
God hears these great prayers, these blessings and psalms,
And decrees that it’s time for tikkum olam.

The light from the Temple lasted all eight nights long
The Macabees lifted their voices in song,
The light it kept burning, within every Jew,
And burns even today, in me and in you.

In Grinch’s cold heart, he heard a big thump
As down in his throat he felt a big lump.
And out of his eyes came flowing the tears
From all of the stories he’d missed all these years.

Do you have more stories? he asked like a kid,
And tell him more stories, that’s just what she did.
The Grinch he was changed by the power of stories
He fell in love with great books, in all of their glories.

‘Cause a book, like the Macabees’ miracle lights
Can light up the world on these cold cold dark nights.

When you visit the library, walk way into the shelves
Past books about presidents and books about elves,
And way way in the back, where it’s lonely and scary,
You’ll see there a fellow whose green and he’s hairy.
He’ll invite you to sit and enjoy a good book,
Just turn off your I-pad and have a good look.
He’ll shares all the treasures of Talmud and Torah
That will light up the world light a great big Menorah.


* This document, or any portion thereof, may not be reproduced without the written permission of the author.

 

Sat, August 15 2020 25 Av 5780