Want To Get Rid Of The Elf On The Shelf? Try A Mensch On A Bench!

Hanukkah is underway for another year and --oy to the world! -- there is a new addition to the story of Hanukkah. It is the first real change since Saturday Night Live created Hanukkah Harry and gave Jews their own version of Santa 25 years ago. This time The Elf on the Shelf is getting its own Jewish counterpart with The Mensch on a Bench. The Mensch comes with his own story of how he impacted Hanukkah in a book for children.

The Mensch on a Bench (Image via Facebook)The Mensch on a Bench (Image via Facebook)

First of all, it is important to note that "mensch" means a good and decent person in Yiddish. The mensch in question here was with the Maccabees back in the day when King Antiochus of Syria outlawed Judaism, took over the temple in Jerusalem, built an altar to Zeus in it, and required people to sacrifice pigs to the ancient Greek gods there. Mathias Maccabee and his sons took up arms and led an army that routed the invaders. When the Jews retook the temple they went to rededicate the temple. It was necessary to relight the light in the temple, but it was discovered that there was only enough of the special oil to last a single night and it would take eight days to make more. Miraculously, that one day's worth of oil burned for eight days.

The Mensch on a Bench (Image via Facebook)The Mensch on a Bench (Image via Facebook)

This new story tells that the Mensch on the Bench volunteered to watch over the lamp day and night for all eight of those days to free the Maccabees for other duties -- like creating a new batch of lamp oil. Naturally he accomplished this feat resting on a bench. He must have had a really sore tuchas (rear) after that gig!

The Mensch on a Bench and his backstory was created by entrepreneur Neal Hoffman after he and his son were shopping one holiday season. His son wanted to get an Elf on the Shelf and Hoffman jokingly replied that they were Jewish and that they needed a mensch on a bench instead. After that he couldn't get that thought out of his mind.

The Mensch on a Bench with The Elf on the Shelf (Image via Facebook)The Mensch on a Bench with The Elf on the Shelf (Image via Facebook)

Hoffman's wife encouraged him to pursue the idea and he quickly trademarked the name. His timing was fortuitous since someone else made a move to do the same three days later. The next move was a Kickstarter campaign to raise the funds for a first round of the toy. That first thousand sold out in just ten days. With this proof that there was a viable market for The Mensch on the Bench, it was time to take the bull by the horns and go into full production.

While the Elf on the Shelf keeps an eye on who is naughty and who is nice for Santa, Moshe, the Mensch on the Bench, keeps an eye on the menorah as the candles are lit over the eight nights. There were 50,000 made for this year and they are expected to sell well.

Part of the idea behind the toy is to give Jewish kids something more to help connect them with the traditions of Hanukkah at a time when they are continually assaulted with all things Christmas. Hopefully we will one day see Moshe in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade wishing everyone a Happy Hanukkah and Oy to the World!

To order The Mensch on a Bench for your family, click here.

Sources: Entrepreneur, The Jerusalem Post, Wikipedia, Facebook

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