This Hanukkah has been one like none other — and yet, despite the pandemic, our values as Jews dictate that we try to find the light in the darkness.
While many excellent Hanukkah songs and parodies have come out this season to distract us from reality, let us introduce you to a new tune that really meets the moment: “Light One More,” a catchy original pop song that reminds us that Hanukkah is a symbol of Jewish resilience.
This new song is by Rav Mo — who is also known as Rabbi Moshe Friedman, an UK-based Orthodox rabbi and a rapper/spoken word artist who is also the rabbi for Aish on Campus at Bristol University. Joining him is singer Yoni Shine, who was once the runner-up in England’s “Jews Got Talent” competition in 2018. (At the time, he was only 11 years old — and just look at him now!)
While Shine and Friedman sing, rap, and appear in front of menorahs, dreidels, and blazing fireplaces, the music video takes us through the story of a family whose daughter is celebrating Hanukkah alone at college this year. Making use of modern technology — er, texting — the girl’s family tells her they will miss her for Hanukkah this year, and she prepares to celebrate alone.
It’s a moment that will feel so familiar, both to former college students as well as current parents of college students. Of course, it’s also reminiscent of the pandemic isolation that so many of us are feeling right now, with our Hanukkah celebrations curtailed and/or replaced by Zoom events.
But then, just when we need it most, the song’s bridge asserts an age-old narrative of Jewish resilience:
We’ve faced violence and hostile climates,
But pain becomes power and pressure makes diamonds.
More than anything, “Light One More” is a reminder that the Jews have overcome numerous hardships. But that’s not all: This adversity has built our resilience, and that with each challenge we overcome, we continue to create beauty even in the darkness. What an apt metaphor for Hanukkah, a holiday that celebrates the endurance of the oil and the perseverance of the Maccabees!
The lyrics continue this powerful metaphor in the song’s chorus:
We always light one more than the night before
When darkness comes we light our torch and light one more
for eight nights we know what we’re fighting for.
Honestly, we all deserve this much-needed moment of light after such a challenging year!
Like so many of 2020’s Hanukkah songs, “Light One More” uses an upbeat tone (as well as some impressive rapping skills) to convey a deeper message. Ultimately, the song is a rallying cry to honor the strength of the Jewish community and celebrate how far we’ve come this Hanukkah. If your final nights of Hanukkah could use a bit of brightening, be sure to check out this upbeat pandemic Hanukkah anthem.
Header image via YouTube/Rav Mo