Blessings for Chanukah

- 1883-1938

Blessed art thou, O God our Lord,
Who made us holy with his word,
And told us on this feast of light
To light one candle more each night.

(Because when foes about us pressed
     To crush us all with death or shame,
The Lord his priests with courage blest
To strike and give his people rest
And in the House that he loved best
     Relight our everlasting flame.)

Blest art Thou, the whole world’s King,
Who did so wonderful a thing
For our own fathers true and bold
At this same time in days of old!

Judah Maccabee

Judah Maccabee,
Give a sword to me
     Now, in youth!
By the candle’s light
Kindled here to-night,
Do I vow to fight
     For the truth.

Still the Greeks are here,
Still we yield in fear,
Cringe and cower.
Judah Maccabee,
Make my people free
That their eyes may see
      Israel’s power!

The Jewish Year

Our year begins with burnished leaves,
     That flame in frost and rime,
With purple grapes and golden sheaves
     In harvest time.

Our year begins with biting cold,
     With winds and storms and rain;
The new year of the Jew grows old
     In strife and pain.

When others say the year has died,
     We say the year is new,
And we arise with power and pride
     To prove it true.

For we begin where others end,
     And fight where others yield;
And all the year we work and tend
     Our harvest field.

And after days of stormy rain
     And days of drought and heat,
When those that toiled have reaped their grain,
     And all’s complete.

Oh then, when God has kept his word,
     In peace we end our year.
Our fruit is certain from the Lord.
     We shall not fear.

The Book

We are the People of the Book,
     The written page is our salvation;
This only from the wreck we took
     When conquerors crushed our nation.

The Holy Book has been our land,
     Our seed, our sowing and our reaping.
How can the stranger understand
     What treasure we are keeping!

In shame and poverty we read
     The precious page of revelation,
And water with our tears the seed
     That recreates our nation.