The Night Before Hannukah
("A Visit from Judah Maccabee")
by Melinda Bell
Based on a classic poem by Clement C. Moore
Excerpt from "The Night Before Hannukah: Holiday Crafts & Activity Center on CD-ROM"
Twas the first night of Hannukah and all through the house
Pleasure was spreading, as quick as a mouse.
The children played dreidle and ate with such glee,
Oh latkes, and donuts, a pleasure to see!
The menorah was placed by the window with care
So all who came by could see it from there.
We sang lots of songs, and told lots of stories,
About the Maccabees and all of their glories.
When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter
I sprang from my chair to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash,
Tore open the shutter and threw up the sash.
When what to my wondering eye should appear,
But a vision of Judah the Maccabee there!
As he walked from the hill, he was so proud to say
That the war had been won, we were all free to stay!
The Greeks were defeated and so it was sure
The Israelites could stay in their homeland so pure.
He wanted to go to the temple to pray,
But I needed to warn of a hitch on the way.
The temple was ruined by some in the war,
It was dark, and I worried we'd be lost for sure.
As we travelled to Jerusalem on some mighty trail,
Judah assured me that we would not fail.
The night was dark,as I feared it would be,
Hey we were travelling through the 2nd Century B.C.E.
But far, far above us, we saw a bright light
Coming from the window of the temple that night.
Those that had gathered there were quick to say
There was just enough oil to last only one day.
They worried as news of the victory spread,
Others would be lost, or left asleep in their bed.
Those that came after would not get to see
The lamp which told of our victory.
The faithful were sure that all would be right
And that one cruse of oil would last us eight nights.
As the eight nights befell us, it soon became clear
The lamp would stay lit -- darkness was nothing to fear.
So now to this day, each year we celebrate
The Festival of Lights for eight nights on this date.
And so as you enjoy the great gift of light,
Happy Hannukah to all, and to all a good night.