A Chabad Christmas
A Poem By Yochnan Lavie
Twas the night before Nitel, when all through the shul
Not a bochur was learning, not even Reb Shmuel.
The mezuzot were hung on the doorways with care,
In hopes that Moshiach soon would be there.
The bochurim were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of lukshen kugel danced in their heads.
And mamma in her ‘kerchief, and I in my kipah,
Had just settled our brains for a long Shabbat sleepa.
When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash,
Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.
The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow
Gave the lustre of minchah to objects below.
When, what to my wondering eyes should be seen,
But a Mitzvah Tank, and eight tinny Shlichim.
With a little old driver, so lively and gentle,
I knew in a moment it was Menachem Mendel.
More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,
And he whistled, and schreid, and called them by name!
"Nu Donneil! nu, Shmuel! nu, Yisroel and Moishe!
On, Yitzie! On, Itchie! on, Dovid and Kosher!
To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall!
Now gei avek! Gei avek! Gei avek all!"
As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky.
So up to the house-top of the town's Jews,
With the sleigh full of tefillin, and Reb Menachem too.
And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof
The schuckling and davening of each little hoof.
As I drew in my head, and was turning around,
Down the chimney Reb Menachem came with a bound.
He was dressed all hassidic, from his head to his foot,
And his clothes were all "Euro" and black like soot.
A bundle of tefillin he had flung on his back,
And he looked like a peddler, just opening his pack.
His eyes-how they twinkled! his dimples how freilich.
His cheeks were like charoset, his nose like kneidelach!
The slogans he spouted sounded like a gimmick ,
And the beard of his chin went down to his pipick.
The can of Dew he held tight in his lips,
And the aura of sanctity was quite a trip!
He had a broad face and a little round kishka,
That shook when he laughed, like an intoxicated Shiksa.
He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old Yid,
And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of my Id!
A wink of his eye and a l'Chaim on Dew,
Soon gave me to know I was an unworthy Jew.
He spoke not a word, but went straight to his mitzvot,
And lay on tefillin, then davened in a whisper.
And laying his finger with leather straps,
And giving a nod, he was such a frum chap!
Then off to the Mitzvah Tank, his team gave a whistle,
And away they all flew like a chulent of brisket.
But I heard him exclaim, ‘ere he drove out of sight,
"Good Shabbos to all, and to all a good-night!"