Growing up, I longed for Charles M. Schulz to write and produce a Peanuts family Chanukah special.
I imagined that Charlie Brown would wear a kipah and chant the blessings after lighting the first candle on the first night. And the Peanuts gang would sing “Rock of Ages,” tilting their heads back in that way they do, with Schroeder accompanying on his piano.
Linus would tell the story of the miracle of Chanukah and explain the letters on the dreydl.
“You see, Charlie Brown,” Linus would begin, “it started in the days of old. A band of Israelites led a revolt against Greek occupiers of Jerusalem and recaptured the Second Temple. When they took back the Temple, there was only oil enough to light the menorah in the Temple for one day, but the oil lasted eight days so that the Israelites could rededicate the Temple to G-d and make more oil. And that, Charlie Brown, is the miracle of Chanukah. And the dreydl, a four-sided top, which we use for a game is very significant. Each side of the dreydl has a Hebrew letter:
ש ה ג נ
It is an acronym for נס גדול היה שם – “a great miracle happened there”. And that is the great miracle and it happened in Jerusalem, Charlie Brown. Like the Great Pumpkin, only it is a true freedom story.”
Then, the gang would play games of dreydl.
SIDEBAR: For those who have forgotten the rules of the dreydl game, it is a little like poker, but with chocolate coins (gelt):
נ nothing, ה half, ג all, and ש for ante up
And, of course, Lucy would beat Charlie Brown and amass a small fortune of gelt. Then Lucy would offer some of her fortune lying in a mound on the floor to Charlie as a peace offering, only to whisk them away as he slid in to grab for them.
Snoopy would be frying latkes (potato pancakes) and Woodstock would be spooning a mound of apple sauce (or dollop of sour cream) right on top of each.
And everyone would eat latkes. And because they were so greasy, even Pig Pen would fit right in.
The parents would be no where in sight. Except, of course, for the occasional:
“Whaaa whaaa whaaa.”
And at the end of half-hour special, there would be, OF COURSE, the theme song: http://free-loops.com/3520-peanuts-theme-song.html
Now let’s all scream: “Happy Chanukah, Charlie Brown!!“