T’was the Night Before Chanukah

T’was the night before Chanukah, boychiks and maidels, Not a sound could be heard, not even the dreidels.

The menorah was set on the chimney, just right, In the kitchen my Bubbe hut gechapt a bite.

Salami, pastrami, a glessala tay and zowerah pickles with bagels, oy vay!

Gezunt and geschmacht, the kinderlech felt, while dreaming of tegelach and Chanukah gelt.


The clock on the mantle it sure was a tickin’, and Bubbe was serving a schtickala chicken.

A tumult arose like a thousand broches, Santa had fallen and broken his toches.

I put on my slippers, eins, tsvay, drei, while Bubba was now on the herring and rye.

I grabbed my robe and buttoned my gotkes, While Bubbe was so busy, devouring those latkes.


To the window I ran and to my surprise, A little red yarmulke greeted my eyes.

When he got to the door and saw our menorah, “Yiddishe kinder,” he said, “Keneinahora.

I thought I was in a goyisha house, but as long as I am here, I’ll leave a few toys.”


With much geshray, I asked, “Du bist a yid?” “Avada, mein numen is Schloimey Claus, kid.”

“Come into the kitchen, I’ll get you a dish, and a guppell, and a schtickla fish.”

With smacks of delight, he started his fressen, Chopped liver, knaidlech and kreplach gegessen.

Along with his meal, he had a bissle schnapps, For when it came to eating, this boy was the tops!


He asked for some knishes with pepper and salt, but they were so hot, he yelled, “Oy gevalt!”

Unbuttoning his hoizen, he rose from the tisch, and said, “Your kosher essen is simply delish.”

As he went to the door, he said “See you later. I’ll be back next Pesach, in time for the seder.”


More rapid than eagles his prancers they came, as he whistled and shouted and called them by name:

“Now Izzy, now Morris, now Yitzchak, now Sammy, now Irving and Maxie and Moishe and Manny.”

He gave a geshray as he drove out of sight, “A gutten yomtov to all, and to all a good night!”


boychiks and maidels – boys & girls

broches – blessings

Bubbe – grandmother

Chanukah gelt – money, usually given to children as gifts.

dreidels – gambling toy, with letters of Hebrew alphabet on 4 sides.

fressen – eat, devour

gechapt – took

gegessen – was (were) eaten

geschmacht- secure, comfortable

geshray – cried out

gevalt – holy sh*t (you may substitute something more appropriate, but this is what it means. See the movie “The Frisco Kid” when Gene Wilder and Harrison Ford jump off the cliff into the water)

Gezunt – well (a good feeling)

glessala tay – glass of tea

gotkes – underwear

goyisha house – non-Jewish house

Keneinahora-actually 3 words: ken, ayin & harah. This phrase means there hould be no negative insinuation (literally-no evil eye)

kinderlech -children

knaidlech – matza balls

kreplach – dough stuffed with meat. wantons. but we were around before the Chinese. They got it from us. We boil them. They fry them.

“mein numen is Schloimey Claus” – “my name is … ”

menorah – candelabra used to light candles. Sometimes called a Chanukiah for the candelabra exclusive to Chanukah.

schtickala – a little

tegelach – a tasty confection made from flour, honey, sugar-you get the idea

tumult – confusion

yarmulke – little skull cap worn by religious, especially Orthodox Jews. Pope wears the thing.

yomtov – holiday

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