This week's Holiday-themed Tale is by my childhood friend, Dlove. It appeared on his site last year and is reprinted with new illustrations by me.

This Tale is in honor of the Jewish holiday, Channukah. While I am not a practicing Jew, I was raised Jewish and it is, afterall, a culture as well as a religion. The origins of Channukah are pretty sketchy, but I believe that this holiday came about in celebration of a war victory sometime before Christ was born. In the Jewish tradition, it is important to keep the "eternal flame" in the temple lit at all times, thus the name: eternal flame. After this war, there was only enough oil to keep the lamp going for a day, but it lasted for eight. This is why Jewish boys and girls get 8 gifts during Channukah; one gift for each day the flame stayed lit.

What follows is a short one act play that I've entitled "The Fifth Day of Channukah: The Day of Uncertainty"


(Curtain opens. The scene is a partially destroyed temple. There has been a recent battle, but much of the carnage has been removed already. A group of elders are discussing something. Some children scamper in and out)

Shlomo: "Oy! I've got an ache in my tuckus that I can't get rid of!"

Herschel: "Damn it, Shlomo! No one wants to hear about the boil on your ass! We're all here to discuss what to do about this temple lamp."

Ezekiel: "Maybe you should try some ointment for that, Shlomo."

(The elders start to argue among themselves about what Shlomo should do about his boil. Rabbi Moishe steps into the temple)

Rabbi Moishe: "What the hell is going on here?"

(all the elders are silent. The tittering of the children can be heard quietly in the background.)

Shlomo: "Oh, Rabbi Moishe, we were just trying to figure out what to do about the eternal flame. There was really only one day's worth of oil to burn and, you can see, it's lasted us five days."

Rabbi Moishe: "Holy shit! Wow! Well, hey, how much oil do we have left?"

Ezekiel: "Well, we've used it all, but the damn thing keeps burning."

Rabbi Moishe: "Hmmm. There's no possible way that fuckin' thing can keep burning. It looks like this is the last day. What a miracle! We'll have to make some sort of holiday out of this where everyone gets five gifts to commemorate the five days that this lamp stayed lit."

Herschel: "Yeah, you're probably right, Rabbi. Look at that damn thing go, though! It's incredible. If I didn't know better, I'd swear that someone had added some oil, but Shlomo has been here the whole time tending to the flame. He said he hasn't seen anyone around."

Shlomo: "That's right."

(The elders and the rabbi start conversing excitedly about the miracle they have witnessed. Rabbi Moishe's arch rival, Rabbi Vader, saunters into the temple. All talk stops immediately)

Shlomo: "Oy vey! It's Rabbi Vader!"

Rabbi Vader: "So, Rabbi Moishe, news of your five day miracle has spread throughout the land. I have decided to come and witness this miracle myself."

Rabbi Moishe: (said disgustedly) "Hello, Rabbi Vader. Yes, please, look at this flame that has lasted five days but should've only lasted one."

(Rabbi Vader steps towards the "eternal flame" and tries to blow it out. He is knocked backwards by Ezekiel)

Ezekiel: "Look out! He's going to try and blow!"

Rabbi Vader: "Damn you, Rabbi Moishe! You and your followers have thwarted me for the last time! I challenge you to a fight so that all of the people in the land will truly be able to see whose kung fu is the best!"

Rabbi Moishe: "Alright, Vader, very soon you will see why I am the best rabbi."

Herschel: "Rabbi Moishe! No! You must let me fight in your place."

Rabbi Moishe: "No, Herschel, I have to do this myself." (to Rabbi Vader) "Come on. Let's go."

(Rabbi Moishe and Rabbi Vader square off. Vader moves first with a beautifully executed flying roundhouse kick. Moishe deflects it and performs his own special brand of kung fu chopping and kicking. A tremendous display of kung fu from both rabbis proceeds on the bima (that's the stage in a Jewish temple). Just when it looks as if Rabbi Moishe is about to win, Rabbi Vader shows that he has small, razor sharp knives attached to the long curls of hair hanging from his temples like all good hasidic Jews have. He starts whipping these knives around skillfully and dangerously.)

Rabbi Moishe: "Hm. I can now see what your kung fu is all about. It doesn't matter. You want to fight? Fight me!"

Rabbi Vader: "Yahhhhhhhhhhhh!"

(More fighting ensues. Fists and feet begin to blur. A cloud of dust envelopes them both. The scuffle stops and, after the dust settles, Rabbi Moishe is left standing holding Rabbi Vader's locks with the knives attached in his right hand)

Herschel: "Rabbi Moishe is victorious!"

Shlomo: "Rabbi Moishe's kung fu is the best!"

Rabbi Moishe: "Thank you. Thank you all."

Child #1: "Rabbi Moishe, will you teach me kung fu?"

Rabbi Moishe: "Yes, my child. In fact, every year from now on, we will celebrate the miracle of this light. We will call this holiday Channukah. We will celebrate for five nights because, really, that lamp couldn't possibly go for another day. On the fifth night of our celebrations, we will have kung fu fights between all the rabbis of the land to show which rabbi teaches their congregation the best kung fu."


And so, although Rabbi Moishe was wrong about the lamp, the rabbis get together on the fifth day of Channukah and challenge each other for the bragging rights of teaching their congregation the best kung fu in the land.

That's what Channukah is all about.





Prehensile Tales wants a present every day

what's new + best of + links, etc + contact + what IS this?

Copyright © 1996-2001 Prehensile Tales.

d e s i g n by h a l c y o n