Why I dread Hanukah

Part of the Hanukah ritual includes singing a Hebrew song, Maoz Tsur. It's a beautiful song, and some of the members of my family (not I) have really lovely singing voices and the ability to make up harmonies as we go. The problem is, the last verse contains the word fart. Of course, it's Hebrew, so it doesn't mean fart. But it's unmistakeable.

I'm sure you can picture it. My sister and I, staring fixedly at the floor as the verse approaches, struggling to keep our composure, pretending to be unaware of our parents' baleful glares, trying our damnedest not to set a bad example for our kids, who by now are old enough to get it. At best, we merely fall silent when the word comes; at worst, we snicker and chortle uncontrollably.

How could this still be comical after thirty-odd years? Shouldn't we have gotten past this by now?

This year I planned in advance that I would think of something really, really, really sad. In fact -- this is so sick -- I planned in advance that I would think about the story of Sadako and the Thousand Cranes while I sang, so that I wouldn't laugh at the word fart.

It didn't work.


  • LOL! I don't blame you a bit. This is something that will always make you and your sister laugh. Just think how shocked everyone would be if you didn't laugh. You can't let them down.

    posted by Blogger Adrienne on 2:52 PM  

  • Ha! My sister and I still can't sit across each other at my parents dinner table without making faces or placing some well aimed kicks and we're in our 30s. Don't stop laughing at fart. It's something you and your sister will always share :)

    posted by Blogger Stefanie on 5:34 PM  

  • i like hannukah

    posted by Blogger Pseudo-intellectual lunatic on 9:06 PM  

  • I can just see you trying not to laugh.

    posted by Blogger purple_kangaroo on 12:20 AM  

  • So funny. I'm almost 50, and still laugh when my sisters will bring up something we did 40 years ago.

    posted by Blogger Fred on 8:20 AM  

  • Oooh, I know what you mean about the uncontrollable giggles. They almost always crop up while you're in the midst of something solemn (like church, or a funeral). My husband is terrible about giggling when music gets screwed up in some way, like when a child is earnestly trying to play something on a difficult instrument like the violin, or at church when the lyrics to a song get inexplicably goofy (this happens often). He gets started, and then I get started, and we both embarrass ourselves. Alas. But what a valiant attempt on your part to keep a straight face! Now that made me laugh.

    posted by Anonymous martha on 5:50 PM  

  • I thought it was just me who laughed at that part!

    posted by Blogger MsAbcMom on 9:48 PM  

  • What is the translation for the word fart in Hebrew? Just curious.

    posted by Blogger mrsd on 7:47 AM  

  • Adrienne, good point. Wouldn't want to let anyone down. :)

    Stefanie, ha ha, as if I could stop!

    Pseudo, ah.

    Purple, it's bad. I tend to laugh when I'm nervous, too. Trying not to laugh at the wrong time is the story of my life.

    Fred, me too (except the almost-50 part)!

    Martha, just as bad is being the performer and trying not to laugh while you're playing, especially if you're playing a wind instrument. Yes, I know this from experience. :)

    MsAbcMom, ha ha! And did you ever notice the word "dookie" buried in the second verse? That word wasn't used much where I grew up so I didn't notice it until adulthood and it doesn't bother me so much.

    Mrsd, I have no idea. The actual phrase is "oo-far-tzoo" and I have no clue what it means. I just know what it sounds like. :)

    And hey, did y'all notice that MrsD left a comment right after MsABC? Can it be just a coincidence?

    posted by Blogger Julie on 9:16 AM  

  • Stopping by to wish you and your family a happy and safe New Year!

    posted by Blogger Adrienne on 1:46 PM  

  • Funny story! Happy New Year Julie!

    posted by Blogger Rhodent on 8:31 PM  

  • Guess you needed the strict Hebrew School Teacher I had- or a far worse singing voice. You're so funny!! I never thought of fart when we sang it because I was concentrating on pronouncing the "tz" sound correctly and trying not to stand out because I really CAN'T sing which makes me stand out as badly as gas filling a room.- Oh, and Happy "other" New Year! ;)
    It's rather cool that the last day of Chanukkah: a holiday for Reglious Freedom fell on New Year's Eve yesterday. (The wonders of a lunar calendar meshing w/ a solar one.)

    posted by Blogger Green-Eyed Lady(GEL) on 5:59 PM  

  • Julie, thank you for emailing me. We know Channuka is 8 days, but I'm LOL so hard, because my dear husband can't count, which is a family joke. He decided Dec 31st was the last night in error. Sorry for the misinformation on your blog! I was blinded by the flames of love. Our wedding anniversary was a few days ago.

    posted by Blogger Green-Eyed Lady(GEL) on 2:37 AM  

  • That is hilarious. Happy Hanufart. ;)

    posted by Blogger Running2Ks on 2:54 PM