‘Tis the season for Hanukkah parodies, and we’ve got a treat for you. Jewish a capella group The Maccabeats — arguably the originators of the Hanukkah parody genre — are back right in time for Hanukkah with “Illuminating.” Set to the tune of Dua Lipa’s song of the summer, “Levitating,” we’re here to argue that it’s one of their best Hanukkah jams yet.
While the original song is undeniably catchy, The Maccabeats bring their flair and add Jewish lessons about Hanukkah prayers, how to light the menorah and more.
As always, the music video features each member of the Maccabeats dressed in their Hanukkah best (dress shirts and black ties, with a few Hanukkah sweaters thrown in). Before the main lyrics, the singers repeat “Nes gadol haya sham,” a Hebrew phrase meaning “a great miracle happened there.” This phrase, central to the story of Hanukkah, is represented by the four sides of the dreidel (nun, gimel, hay and shin). Leave it to the Maccabeats to get Jewish learning into the first few seconds of the song!
The verses are chock full of witty quips about Hanukkah and getting excited for the lights. And in the first verse, the Maccabeats also remind us of basic menorah etiquette
“Light ‘em from the left, add ‘em from the right.”
Honestly, it’s a great reminder for those of us who forget every year which direction to light the menorah.
The bridge invites the listener: “If you’re feeling like you need a little bit of levity you found us at the perfect time.” If you know the song, I’m sure you can hear this part in your head. And then, of course, the chorus brings in “illuminating” right where one would hear “levitating” in the original song, with the catchy lyrics:
“What we do, eight nights, windows, shine bright/ With that view, in sight, iridescently illuminating.”
In the following verses, The Maccabeats share the story of Hanukkah, and also add the lyrics of Al Hanisim, a typical Hanukkah prayer.
All in all, we highly recommend that you send this new parody to all of your Jewish friends and family. But we can’t be responsible for your kids asking you to play it for the next three weeks straight.