By Candlelight

Posted by mwallach on December 6, 2010 in Happy Holidays, Tribe Members |

Dear That’s Life,

By the time this article hits the street, Chanukah will be just about be over and the neighborhood will stop smelling as if it has been submerged in a Big Daddy Deep Fryer.  Having one’s house smell for eight days as though you have been frying absolutely anything and everything, the smell permeating your clothes, staying with you the rest of the day, is bad enough.  As I walked through a local parking lot, however, the entire area seemed to have been bathed in bubbling canola oil.  Even my pocketbook smelled and I was not imagining it.  But the smell did not get me down nor is it not how I will remember this chag – the one that started and ended with a smile on my face

My husband and I, along with some of our children and their friends, kicked off what was going to be a special Chanukah by being among the 618 people to break the Guinness World Record for the number of dreidels spun at the same time.  Simply put, YU’s Dreidel-Palooza was not only fun, but the greatest example of persum ha-ness (making the miracle public) of which I have been a part.  The energy in the room was infectious.  We could not stop smiling, giggling and laughing and neither could the press who had been there to cover the event, including the gentleman with the camera who bent down to spin a dreidel and be a part of the excitement. Hours after the spinning was over and the soufganiyot had been devoured, we smiled all the way home. For a person who often defines herself as not the most spiritual person on the planet, I was completely overwhelmed by the moment.

Who knew that thrill could continue the entire chag thanks to a group of guys I have never met but whose song has completely energized Jewish kids, and adults, around the globe.  With over two million hits on YouTube and a top 100 downloaded song on Itunes that even I bought, the Maccabeats and their hit single ‘Candlelight’ have become an instant sensation, and for good reason.  Having taken an already popular song with a great beat that makes you want to move, they replaced the original lyrics with words that bring to life the story of Chanukah – and still make you put your hands up in the air.  My kids have been singing it endlessly, and despite my committed relationship to all things classic rock, so have I. 

Writing this column while watching them on CBS’s The Early Show, it occurred to me that part of their Kiddush Hashem is not just in their song, but in how they conduct themselves as menschim as well.  A group of sincere, put together, respectful and warm Jewish men are singing a song about the miracle of Chanukah on national television.  That is pretty remarkable and in today’s day and age when fashion seems to dictate shaggy hair and a disheveled appearance, this group with their clean cut image is a breath of fresh air.  My daughter screams in excitement as she sees one of the guys who happened to be her waiter in camp singing on the screen in front of us.  Little do people know, but these guys also made sure to daven in a conference room at CBS before going on the air when they were profiled on Sunday morning.  The Maccabeats, too, are a prime example of persum hannes – how many people have clicked on their link just to get a glimpse of what everyone is talking about and, at the same time, getting a quick primer on the sites and sounds of Chanukah?  Not bad – not bad at all.

Move over Adam Sandler – I am pretty confident your Chanukah song has been replaced.


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