Tuesday, November 26, 2013

You Make A Point.....

A photo is making the rounds on the internet, that I have seen ascribed to a letter to the editor in the Lakewood Voice, that makes an interesting point.
The writer of the letter posits that the current children's Chanukah Song "I Have A Little Dreidel" is not only outdated, because we no  longer fashion dreidels out of clay, but also teaches our children nothing about the Chanukah story as it pertains to dreidels, when in fact, it could.
The writer offers up the following alternate wording to the same much beloved tune, which stresses the Chanukah story in a more meaningful way.

When we were learning Torah,
And Yevanim came our way,
We put away our sefarim,
And dreidel we would play.

Oh, Dreidel Dreidel Dreidel
Oh Dreidel we would play
Until we could learn Torah
After the Yevanim went away

(HT: GW)

Addendum: This post has generated HUGE uproar off blog. People are very passionate about their opinions on this topic. Please note that merely because I posted the lyrics does not mean that I am in favor of what the writer says. (and I'd prefer if you all ranted in the comments section as opposed to in person and via email ;)


Duby said...

great new lyrics !!! i hope it catches on!

daughtersintheparsha said...

this is so disturbing on so many levels. leave it to Lakewood to decide that what the whole entire world has always sung is just not FRUM ENOUGH!!

I'm just speechless

daughtersintheparsha said...

I just emailed for "permission" but I can rant again in public: It Is Insane! It's Just A Song!

check out my blog for expanded version :) :)

Avram said...

daughtersintheparsha –

At the risk of not getting any latkes tonight I have to say that I agree with you. There is absolutely nothing wrong with this sweet, innocent song which children have been singing on Chanukah for decades. If someone feels that there is a need for a more educational dreidel song then, by all means, write a new one. But why change the old one? This is just a reflection of a certain group of today’s generation who feel that they have to show how things weren’t done properly in the past and they will now show how it should have been done. If I hear one more time how the previous generations weren’t as knowledgeable (read frum) as we are today I think I’ll scream. These were people who were as careful with keeping Torah and mitzvos as anyone today but were a lot more respectful of those who came before them than the supposedly more learned generation of today. Another example is the well known Chanukah song “Mi Yimalel Gevuros Yisrael”. This song was made popular by Seymour Silbermintz on his popular (to the 40-50 year olds) Chanukah record. It was sung in all the yeshivos. All of a sudden, after all these years, there is a big protest about how the song should not be sung as it denies Hashem’s role in the Chanukah story. I do admit that if you look very carefully one might possibly be able to infer that. But it certainly is not obvious and in no way is it the clear meaning of the song. All these years frum teachers and parents had no problem with their children signing this song and now, over 50 years later, there is a big hulabaloo about banning it. Don’t these people have anything more important to do with their time?

G. W. said...

I agree with Avram. I wanted to preserve the lyrics because of their absurdity -- historians should know how absurd early 21st-century American Orthodox Jews were. And who invented the idea that the dreydel was used by Jews at the times of the Hasmonaeans? The minhag of playing games on the nights of Hanukkah is because yeshiva students didn't lern night seder during those nights, specifically *because* these were nights when they were supposed to have fun, rather than sit and lern.

G. W. said...

In eighteenth-century Germany, as reported by Rav Yaakov Emden, the games of choice for Hanukkah nights were cards, dominoes, and chess. I can't imagine that the dreydel is much older than 200 years old.

G. W. said...

Having said that, I still think that the Dreydel Song is a *really* silly song, and not particularly appropriate for anyone above the age of five. Not because it's religiously problematic, but because it's a dumb song, and it's kind of sad that this is the face that we present to the non-Jewish world, who seem to think that it's our National Anthem.

Anyway, see related:

G. W. said...

Daughtersintheparsha, I don't see anything on your blog about this.

Zohar said...


YW said...

"The views expressed in this column reflect the opinion of the the individual writers and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Voice of Lakewood. These individual opinions are also in no way meant as a psak in either halacha or hashkafah. As with all matters, be sure to consult a rav for guidance. The Coffee Room will not publish letters which refer to an individual, business, or entity in a negative or disparaging way. Letters of a personal or promotional nature will also not be printed."

Let's keep it in prospective. It is one anonymous individual writing a letter to a magazine, not someone who represents an entire city.

Yehudah said...

I'm happy somebody noted that the new lyrics teach children a lie.

But "frum" people never really concern themselves with such trivialities as historical truth.

And yes, the former generation was much more modest then the present one, which believes it has to reinvent the wheel every day (under the cloak of piety, of course) -- no matter what prior generations of righteous Jews did.

itsagift said...

I don't understand what the big uproar is about. So someone decided to change the words of the song. Big deal.

Don't you know how many versions of this song there are? Uncle Moishy has a few:

I have a little dreidel
I made it out of wood
And when it lands on gimmel
It's very good!

Or I have a little dreidel
I made it out of gold
I put it in the freezer
And it got very cold!

Then I just heard this one:
I have a little dreidel
I made it out of plastic
And when I spin it
It is fantastic

And another cute one:
I have a little dreidel
Round and round it spins
On which letter will it fall
Nun gimmel heiy or shin?
I have a little dreidel
Round and round it spins
On which letter will it fall
I wonder who will win!

There are so many variations to this song. And now there's a new one that actually teaches the kids something instead of just having them sing a silly, fun song (which is fine too...).
Why are people getting so upset about it? The lyrics are great! I like them! :)