‘Eight Days,’ the Reactions

On Tablet and elsewhere, readers respond to ‘Eight Days of Hanukkah’

By Hadara Graubart|December 10, 2009 7:00 AM

Tablet Magazine’s “Eight Days of Hanukkah,” with lyrics by Sen. Orrin Hatch and music by Madeline Stone, has opened the floodgates of holiday-season crankiness in some readers. Commenters on our site and others that reported on the song are debating the relative religious significance of Hanukkah, the acceptability of enjoying music by a politician with whom you don’t otherwise agree, and even whether Mormons—Hatch is a devout member of the Church Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints—posthumously converted Jews who were killed in the Holocaust. Reaction among media outlets ranged from polite complimentary (the song’s “contagious refrain” is “set against a bouncy synthesizer beat,” said the New York Times [1]) to amused pleasure (“If we had our druthers, the newest addition to the Hanukkah-song compendium would be the one written by Mormon senator Orrin Hatch of Utah,” wrote the New York magazine’s Daily Intel [2] blog) to horrified disdain (Gawker [3] asked what the Yiddish is for what we’ll call “Jesus shtupping Christ”). But the best responses came from the commenters. A collection of our favorites:

Celebrating togetherness

“Our country is slowly moving in the right direction as far as connecting with one another and appreciated each others differences in background.”

—Letsberealistic commenting on “Happy Hanukkah from a Mormon,” [5] USA Today

“Hanukkah is a wonderful holiday, full of joy and significance, and perfectly appropriate for Christians, including Mormons, to celebrate. Jesus himself made a point of going up to the Temple at Jerusalem for Hanukkah (John 10:22). Last year my wife and I celebrated Hanukkah for the first time with Jewish friends of ours, and we hope to make it a part of our holiday season every year. Happy Hanukkah, Sen. Hatch!”

That Other Jerry commenting on “Orrin Hatch Does Hanukkah,” [6] CNN


“One crazy-belief holder praising another crazy belief? Makes sense. Like attracts like. Maybe they all compare crazy underwear at parties.”

edwcorey [7] commenting on “Orrin Hatch’s Hanukkah Song: ‘Eight Days Of Hanukkah,’” Huffington Post

“Well with friends like Orrin Hatch, who needs enemies?! Let’s just put this out there: Orrin, we are not your f-ing placeholders of the Holy Land until Jesus rises again, ok? And we don’t want your help…. This makes me want to vomit.”

Ellenjudith commenting on ”Mormon Utah Senator Orrin Hatch Wrote a Hanukkah Song,” [8] New York


“I thought I was reading The Onion here for a moment.”

MajorKong [9] commenting on “Orrin Hatch’s Hanukkah Song: ‘Eight Days Of Hanukkah,’” Huffington Post

“Did we go through a Worm Hole into an alternate Universe when I wasn’t watching?”

Steven Bissell commenting on “A Mormon Senator Writes a Hanukkah Song” [10] on Slate

Intriguingly rendered political commentary

“That’s not what I want from you, Orrin. I’d rather you stop legislating like someone who hates humans and freedom. Here’s my list of things I want from you. For the first day, stop obstructing health reform; for the second day, stop obstructing financial reform; for the third day, get your government out of my bedroom. Here’s a though… regulate businesses that do bad things to people…. For the fourth day, read the Fourth amendment and try to imagine respecting it even when the crime is something like copying a song instead of something “minor” like embezzlement or murder. For the fifth day, end the stupid prohibition on marijuana that has us locking up more of our population than any other nation and provides a goldmine for criminals. For the sixth day, I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but professionals in the U.S. cannot afford homes anymore because there are more engineers than jobs. Time to throttle back H-1Bs. For the seventh day, stop trying to criminalize programming because someone might use the results for something illegal. What’s next, criminalizing selling of hammers because someone might hit someone with one? For the eighth day, if you’ve done the first seven, write a song. If not, please go away.”

originalhack [11] commenting on “Orrin Hatch’s Hanukkah Song: ‘Eight Days Of Hanukkah,’” Huffington Post

“To the tune of ‘Oklahoma!’

“Reproductive freedom

comes sweepin’ down the plain

Abortion’s not a crime like extortion

When the desperation comes right behind the pain.

Reproductive freedom,

every night my lover and I

Use every form of birth control it’s possible to try.

“We know our bodies belong to us

And we’re not tryin’ to cause a fuss

When we say:

our lives, our choices

We’re only sayin’

You’re doin’ fine,

reproductive freedom

(we hope.)”

Lysergic Asset [12] commenting on “Sen. Orrin Hatch Expresses Love of Jews Through Terrible Song,” Gawker

And theological nitpicking (from, of course, Tablet readers)

“Catchy pop tune, but the sentiment is not Jewish. That is, it talks about freedom of belief. The Hanukkah story isn’t about belief, but about practice. The Jews were not free to keep kosher, worship in the Temple according to God’s laws, etc. Putting ‘free to believe’ into the song renders it un-Jewish. The sad thing is that so few Jews today know the difference.”

Bette [13] commenting on “Watch the Video,” Tablet Magazine

“I am glad that he wears a mezuzah; I suppose that means he is a doorpost. But seriously folks, does it not border on blasphemy to claim that Judah Maccabee saved the Jews? The Hasmonean dynasty which arose from the Maccabean revolt became corrupt and gave rise to sectarian squabbles (the Qumrun sect, Jesus, etc), which paved the way for Roman hegemony.”

Eric Weis [14] commenting on “‘Eight Days of Hanukkah,’” Tablet Magazine

“Our very minor holiday has been blown way out of proportion in a feeble attempt to keep a light flickering amidst the overwhelming blaze of Christmas decorations. If I am going to condemn the manifold fakery of Christmas, consistency demands that I not play that game by exalting Hanukkah. A pox on both holidays.”

Scott Abraham [15] commenting on “‘Eight Days of Hanukkah,’” Tablet Magazine

Find this story online: https://www.tabletmag.com/jewish-news-and-politics/22016/%e2%80%98eight-days%e2%80%99-continued-reactions