First Night Hanukkah 2012, Beit Jewlicious, Jerusalem

The modestly named Hanukkah Hip Hop video is probably the most authentically Jewish music video of the season, if not ever. What it lacks in video pizzazz is more than made up for in Ari Lisser’s bombastic and unrelenting lyrics that emphasize the ostensible meaning of this Holiday and how that lesson is forgotten in the rampant Christmas influenced consumerism that is Hanukkah in the diaspora:

Hanukkah just ain’t what it used to be, cuz some Jews got jealous of the Christmas Tree.
Spent all of their money on a shopping spree, tryin’ to be like the people they see on TV.
Don’t let yourself forget history, knowledge is the key to set your mind free.
Just open a book, look back and see, what it really meant to be a Maccabee.

They risked their lives to fight assimilation, but now Hanukkah’s just some cheap imitation
Of some foreign nation’s celebration that falls on a similar calendar location
The hocus pocus made you lose focus, you broke all the rules acting like Antiochus
Drinking eggnog like a hog till you get sick, making your potato pancakes from Bisquick
You light the Menorah but you don’t study Torah, cuz you’re running like low after Sodom and Gomorah
No divine presence, all from Walmart, so you still feel empty when you fill up your cart
If your great grand dad saw your Hanukkah bush, you would get no gift just a potch on the tush
Cuz the holiday’s not about buyin’ stuff, it’s to teach that a little bit is more than enough
It doesn’t really matter if you’re losin’ or winnin’ all you really need is the dreidel to keep on spinin’
So fry up a feast, bring your family near, and steer clear of the cashier this year.

Ouch. But yeah, dude’s got a point. Of course this video will never go viral. It wasn’t recorded in some fancy studio. It doesn’t have gangbangers or scantily clad women in it. It’s just one (Chabad?) guy and a Hanukkiah – which isn’t even lit or shiny! But it’s the straight up truth.

H/T JewTube

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About the author


Founder and Publisher of Jewlicious, David Abitbol lives in Jerusalem with his wife, newborn daughter and toddler son. Blogging as "ck" he's been blocked on twitter by the right and the left, so he's doing something right.


  • I just want to be sure we agree on definition of terms…when you say “authentic,” do you mean because it reports as history the fairy tale narratives and bubba maysehs that even the apparently Hasmonean-approved hagiography of Maccabees I & II don’t claim? Or is it authentic because he’s rapping? Rapping against imitating western and popular culture?

    • It’s “authentic” because whatever it is Hanukkah is about, it’s definitely not about poorly imitating Christmas. As far as the “rapping” goes, it’s pared down and raw and doesn’t involve bitches, hos and gangbangers. You’re just hyper-critical because the dude is a Chabadnik. If it was some goofy secular Jewish guy rapping about how alienated he feels from Judaism and how he’s going to eat a Ham stuffed latke at some trendy non-kosher Jewy deli on the Lower East Side or Bensonhurst, you’d be all “Aw man that is so cool!.” But it’s ok DK. If you and I lived “bayamim ha hem” Judah Maccabee would have both our heads on a pike. So stop being so sanctimonious. You’re like the Grinch that stole Hanukkah.