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God Squad: Sticky Wing Heather, a Hanukkah midrash

On the sixth day of creation God said to the angels, "I think I'll make a cow." And the angels said, "What do we care? Go make one now."

Then God made some rats, and the angels said, "Fine, fine, fine, they'll be food for cats."

But then God said, "Rats and cows are not the total plan. Tomorrow I'm gonna make a man."

And the angels screamed at God, "He will kill your creatures. You can't allow it. He'll cut down a forest just to plow it. He'll get drunk drinking wine from big carafes. How about making just a few more giraffes?"

Then a poker-playing angel named Sticky Wing Heather, who got her name by hiding cards in her feathers, said to God, "How about we play a little game before you do something really lame. If you win you can make the man, but if you don't, and I prevail, you just go and make another critter with a bushy tail."

God said to Heather, "I'm sorry you are so filled with blame, but I agree to play little your game."

Heather came back with a small top with Hebrew letters around the rim. "Hey, God," she said, "all you do is let it spin and, of course, I'll tell you if you win. The top was made by an angel named Maidel and she called her invention the spinning dreidel."

Suddenly, the dreidel spun and spun and landed on the Hebrew letter nun. Heather screamed, "Nun is the first letter of the Hebrew word nachash and that means snake, just like the people you intend to make. People will be awfully sneaky, and some of them will be extremely creepy." God quickly said, "Nun also begins the Hebrew word nehama, which you know means kindness, unless you are suffering angelic blindness. My people can be kind and good, acting the way I know they should."

The dreidel landed on the Hebrew letter gimel on the second spin, and Heather immediately shouted, "Now we definitely win! Gimel begins the word geneivah, which means stealing something from your neighbor." "However," God answered, "Gimel also begins the good word gibor, which means hero. Why do you think that the man will be an absolute zero? The man I make can be more than a thief. He could be a doctor, a lawyer or a police chief. Let's just spin again, and I hope the sides of this dreidel number less than 10."

The third dreidel spin lasted half a day, but it finally landed on the letter hey. God said, "Heather, I know that whatever the cost, you will think up a reason why I lost."

"Well," said Heather, "Hey begins the word harag, which means to kill, and that is what the people will do. They will kill the bugs and kill the sky and, if you ask them, they won't even know why. Killing is just what people do, cause people are just not like me or you."

God thought hard about what Heather had to say. Then God said the word halacha in a voice so raw, "It means living by the law. Halacha is a law of life, for the man and for his wife, and for his kids who will come later, and do good things like inventing the elevator." "The elevator?" said Heather, who was quite confused, but God just smiled and acted bemused.

Shin was the final letter, and Heather said, "This could not be better! Look your Holy Oneness, while we were betting, we delayed your Creation till the sun was setting. Whatever shin means is absolutely fine, because, my God, you are outta time."

The angels cheered and said tee-hee and watched as the sun sunk into the sea. It sunk and sunk and sunk and sunk, but for some strange reason it was never dunked. It just sat there about to set, but never seemed quite ready yet. "My God, the angels said, "Oh, my God, the sun will not set! Oh my God, we lost our bet!"

Then they saw that walking at 'em was the first man who said, "Hi, guys. My name is Adam."

So down here on Earth we think of Hanukkah as the holiday of lights, celebrating the Maccabees' heroic fights,

But up in the far reaches of the World To Come, Hanukkah is much more glum.

Up there it is called "The Holiday of Sticky Wing Heather's Terrible Loss to the Very Wise and Crafty Boss."

So Happy Hanukkah, if you're down here loading latkes onto your table, or …

Happy Sticky Wing Heather, if you are figuring out how to fix the next game of dreidels.

Happy Hanukkah!

SEND QUESTIONS AND COMMENTS to The God Squad at godsquadquestion@aol.com or Rabbi Marc Gellman, Temple Beth Torah, 35 Bagatelle Rd., Melville, NY 11747.

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