Posts Tagged "Chanukah"

The Unknown Origin of the Game of Dreidel DearKidLoveMom Style

Dear Kid,

Many people (and by “many people” I mean absolutely no one) have been asking about the origins of the game of dreidel. DearKidLoveMom.comMany people (and by “many people” I mean absolutely no one) have been asking about the origins of the game of dreidel.

Interestingly, the explanations provided by My Friend the Internet are astoundingly boring.

Therefore, I have done my own unique and independent scientific research (by which I mean I made it up out of thin air and a desire to have something to publish) as to the origins of the game.

It turns out that dreidel was invented by a very nice lady by the name of Leah Zimmerman. (You thought I was going to say Mrs. Joe Neanderthal? Don’t be silly.)

Leah was a very nice lady who regularly cooked latkes for her family during Hanukkah. But Leah had a problem. Leah lived in Once Upon a Time time. And everyone knows that Way Back Then there weren’t freezers. Which meant that you couldn’t cook latkes ahead of time and freeze them. You had to cook them right before you wanted to eat them.

The thing about cooking latkes is that they take A Long Time To Cook. No matter how you fry them, it takes a while to convince potatoes not to be raw. Potatoes are stubborn; that’s just the way it is.

And the thing about the people waiting to eat the latkes is that they are hungry. Not just your average, ordinary hungry, but starving-to-death-and-I-can-smell-latkes-cooking hungry. Which of course means hungry and whiny.

You think “Are we there yet?” can get annoying? It’s nothing compared to “Are they ready yet? How about now? Now? Ok, How about now?”

Leah Zimmerman was a very good cook, and she was a woman who knew perfectly well that latkes simply can’t be rushed. They will be ready when they are ready and not a moment sooner.

She was also a smart lady who prepared for the long wait by have a list of Things for her children To Do while they waited for dinner.

But Leah Zimmerman made a mistake.

She did not account for her children becoming more efficient at task completion as they got older. And unfortunately, while they got faster at completing chores, they did not become correspondingly more patient about waiting to be fed.

So Leah’s children ran out of Things To Do While Waiting. They decided to bother their mother. She decided she had no interest in being bothered. “Go play,” said Leah to her children.

For a brief moment there was silence as the children considered and then rejected this invitation. “What are we supposed to play?” they asked.

For a brief moment there was silence as Leah considered this question and her children stared expectantly at her. “Go play Dreidel,” said Leah.

“What is Dreidel?” the children asked since dreidel hadn’t been invented yet.

“Come, I will show you,” said Leah, giving the latkes a meaningful look (the meaning was “you’d best keep cooking nicely without burning while I attend to these children”).

The first game of dreidel involved lots of complicated rules that Leah made up as she went along. But a tradition was born.

And the latkes were smart enough not to burn.

Now you know.

Love, Mom

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Puppy Conversations | Happy Hanukkah

Dear Kid,

Even the Puppy is getting into the Hanukkah spirit.

Puppy: Candles! It’s time for candles!
Me: I’ll be right there
Puppy: It’s time now! The candles are ready!
Me: Yes, but we’re not quite ready. You have to wait a minute
Puppy: How can you wait a minute when there are candles?

Puppy: The candles are pretty
Me: Yes they are
Puppy: Everyone gets to light one
Me: Yes, we take turns
Puppy: When is my turn?
Me: You don’t get a turn
Puppy: Why not? I would like a turn
Pi: You don’t have thumbs
Me: You have the Very Important Job of Watching
Puppy: I have an important job!


Puppy: Now it’s time for presents!
Pi: Sit down, Mister
Puppy: But I get a treat because I was a good boy during the candle lighting
Me: You were a very good boy
Puppy: And I get a treat
Pi: You get a treat in a minute
Puppy: I’m sure I get a treat. I will look for my treat.
Me: You get your treat in a minute
Puppy: Looking in the bag. No treat in the bag. Looking in the box. No treat in the box. Somebody stole my treat!
Me: No one stole your treat
Puppy: Did someone forget my treat?
Pi: You silly boy. Here is your treat.
Puppy: I like Hanukkah very much.
Me: Say “Thank You” nicely
Puppy: I thought I just did


Puppy: Can we do this again tomorrow night?
Me: Hanukkah is 8 days. So yes, we can light candles again tomorrow night.
Puppy: And then after candles I get a treat
Pi: Yes you do because you are a good boy
Puppy: Awwwww, shucks. And then we have latkes?
Me: Puppies do not get latkes
Puppy: WHAT? That doesn’t seem right
Me: Whether it seems right or not, puppies do not get latkes
Puppy: Donuts?
Me: Nope
Puppy: I think I object
Me: You might want to rethink that. I’m pretty sure puppies who object don’t get a treat after candles
Puppy: WHAT? What about my rights?
Me: You have the right to be adorable. And the right to behave.
Puppy: Oh. Well, when you put it that way, I’ll be a good boy.
Me: Excellent choice
Pi: Come here, sweetie. I’ll scratch you
Puppy: Oh boy! That’s almost as good as latkes!

Love, Mom

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The Story of Hanukkah (DearKid Style)

Dear Kid,

Happy Hanukkah! DearKidLoveMom.comJust in case you weren’t sure about the story of Hanukkah (or Chanukah), I have decided to summarize it for you. I’m just that kind of mom.

Once upon a time it was a really long time ago. We know it was a long time ago because the years were still counting down to zero.

In Syria there was a king. This is not surprising since pretty much everywhere had a king. But this particular king was lacking in both some of his marbles and all of his manners. King Antiochus IV (for that was his name), demonstrated both lacks by trying to convince everyone that his religion was the Only Religion. This didn’t work out really well for the Jews who were quite happy remaining Jewish thank you very much.

Antiochus IV responded by employing the time honor diplomatic tactic of killing thousands of Jews. The Jews responded by objecting and inventing latkes. No, that came later.

Intrigue, murder, murder, intrigue.

Eventually, a gaggle of Antiochus’ bad guys betook themselves to the village of Modin where they built an altar and demanded that everyone offer sacrifices to the Greek gods. Enter Mattathias the Hasmonean, his sons (including Judah Maccabee), and a bunch of other folks. Mattathias and his sons killed the bad guys, destroyed the altar, and invented latkes. Nope, still later.

Mattathias and his sons et al. fled to the hills where they bought condos and established a revolutionary outpost. Without latkes because we haven’t gotten to that part of the story yet.

War, battles, ridiculous odds, and after Judah and Company won despite being outrageously outnumbered, they liberated Jerusalem.

The temple in Jerusalem was a disaster. The Maccabees et al. cleaned and rededicated it. But they found only a tiny bit of oil that hadn’t been defiled. Catastrophe! And it would take 8 days to press and prepare more oil. (Math note: 8 days needed is greater than 1 day available supply.)

Then—wonder of wonders, miracle of miracles—the oil lasted for all 8 days. And latkes were invented.Happy Hanukkah!

You may note that nowhere in the story are presents mentioned. That’s just a modern day bonus.

Love, Mom

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