Though there are dozens of songs about dreaming of a white Christmas, rocking around the Christmas tree and having a merry little Christmas, there’s really only one Hanukkah song.
Specifically, Adam Sandler’s “Chanukah Song.”
Sandler first performed “Chanukah Song” on “Saturday Night Live” in 1994 before it appeared on his 1996 “What The Hell Happened To Me?” album (and it’s that song’s lyrics that we’re analyzing here). Versions with updated pop culture references followed in live performances.
With the Festival of Lights starting sundown on Sunday, a good three weeks ahead of Christmas, we’re taking a close look at the song that pokes fun of the lack of national Hanukkah cheer.
Below are the lyrics, annotated, to answer these questions: Are all of the famous people mentioned actually members of the tribe? And what do those Jewish references mean? Everybody now….
A “yarmulke,” also called a “kippah” for short, is a head covering worn by men in synagogue, and out of it (when it comes to Orthodox Jews). Some Orthodox women also wear kippot (that’s plural) as a sign of reverence for God, reminding the wearer that there’s always someone above them.
Chanukah is the festival of lights
Instead of one day of presents we get eight crazy nights
As the story goes, Hanukkah recalls a time when a small band of Jews, led by Judah “The Hammer” Maccabee, defeated a much bigger force and reclaimed the Temple in Jerusalem. The celebration is for eight nights because the Jews went to light a candelabra with oil, and found only enough oil to last one night. Miraculously, the supply held up for eight days.