Adam Sandler’s Channukah Song Part 3

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Jewish Humor

I have today added a number of jokes to the Jewish humor section, including  Woody Allen’s classic “Sacrifice of Isaac” and “The Pope and the Jews” (a wonderful story that I use in multifaith gatherings to illustrate the importance of understanding how two different people can size up a situation completely differently).  Take a look:  http://mysticscholar.org/category/5jewish-quarter/humor-jewish-quarter/

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The Sacrifice of Isaac (Jewish humor from Woody Allen)

This is classic, all over the web.  Take a look at William Novak and Moshe Waldoks (ed. and annotated by), The Big Book of Jewish Humor (New York:  Harper & Row, 1981), p. 220

WOODY ALLEN ON ABRAHAM AND ISAAC

The Sacrifice of Isaac

And Abraham awoke in the middle of the night and said to his only son, Isaac, “I have had a dream where the voice of the Lord sayeth that I must sacrifice my only son, so put your pants on.”

And Isaac trembled and said, “So what did you say? I mean when He brought this whole thing up?”

“What am I going to say?” Abraham said. “I’m standing there at two A.M. I’m in my underwear with the Creator of the Universe. Should I argue?”

“Well, did he say why he wants me sacrificed?” Isaac asked his father.

But Abraham said, “The faithful do not question. Now let’s go because I have a heavy day tomorrow.”

And Sarah who heard Abraham’s plan grew vexed and said, “How doth thou know it was the Lord and not, say, thy friend who loveth practical jokes, for the Lord hateth practical jokes and whosoever shall pull one shall be delivered into the hands of his enemies whether they pay the delivery charge or not.”

And Abraham answered, “Because I know it was the Lord. It was a deep, resonant voice, well modulated, and nobody in the desert can get a rumble in it like that.”

And Sarah said, “And thou art willing to carry out this senseless act?” But Abraham told her, “Frankly yes, for to question the Lord’s word is one of the worst things a person can do, particularly with the economy in the state it’s in.”

And so he took Isaac to a certain place and prepared to sacrifice him but at the last minute the Lord stayed Abraham’s hand and said, “How could thou doest such a thing?”

And Abraham said, “But thou said —”

“Never mind what I said,” the Lord spake. “Doth thou listen to every crazy idea that comes thy way?” And Abraham grew ashamed. “Er – not really … no.”

“I jokingly suggest thou sacrifice Isaac and thou immediately runs out to do it.”

And Abraham fell to his knees, “See, I never know when you’re kidding.”

And the Lord thundered, “No sense of humor. I can’t believe it.”

“But doth this not prove I love thee, that I was willing to donate mine only son on thy whim?”

And the Lord said, “It proves that some men will follow any order no matter how asinine as long as it comes from a resonant, well-modulated voice.”

And with that, the Lord bid Abraham get some rest and check with him tomorrow.

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For more on the this story in the Bible:  see AqedahPart1a and AqedahPart2a.

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The Pope and the Jews (Jewish humor)

This is a well-known Jewish Joke and can be found on many sites on the web.  It;s a wonderful story that I use in multifaith gatherings to illustrate the importance of understanding how two different people can size up a situation completely differently.  In other words, we may be looking at the same objects, but we don’t necessarily see them in the same way.

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THE POPE AND THE JEWS

Several centuries ago, the Pope decided that all the Jews had to leave Rome. Naturally there was a big uproar from the Jewish community. So the Pope made a deal. He would have a religious debate with a member of the Jewish community. If the Jew won, the Jews could stay. If the Pope won, the Jews would leave. The Jews realized that they had no choice. They looked around for a champion who could defend their faith, but no one wanted to volunteer. It was too risky.

So they finally picked an old man named Moishe, who had spent his life sweeping up after people, to represent them. Being old and poor, he had the least to lose, so he agreed. He asked only for one condition to the debate. Not being used to speaking very much as he cleaned up around the settlement, he asked that neither side be allowed to talk. The pope agreed.

The day of the great debate came. Moishe and the Pope sat opposite each other for a full minute before the Pope raised his hand and showed three fingers. Moishe looked back at him and raised one finger. The Pope waved his fingers in a circle around his head. Moishe pointed to the ground where he sat. The Pope pulled out a wafer and a glass of wine. Moishe pulled out an apple.  The Pope stood up and said, “I give up. This man is too good. The Jews can stay.”

An hour later, the cardinals were all around the Pope asking him what happened. The Pope said: “First I held up three fingers to represent the Trinity.”  “He responded by holding up one finger to remind me that there was still one God common to both our religions. Then I waved my finger around me to show him, that God was all around us. He responded by pointing to the ground, showing that God was also right here with us.”  “I pulled out the wine and the wafer to show that Jesus absolves us from our sins. He pulled out an apple to remind me of original sin. He had an answer for everything. What could I do?”

Meanwhile, the Jewish community had crowded around Moishe, amazed that this old, almost feeble-minded man had done what all their scholars had insisted was impossible!  “What happened?” they asked. “Well,” said Moishe, “First he said to me that the Jews had three days to get out of here. I told him that not one of us was leaving. Then he told me that this whole city would be cleared of Jews. I let him know that we were staying right here.”  “And then?” asked a woman.
“I don’t know,” said Moishe. “He took out his lunch and I took out mine.”

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Marooned (Jewish humor)

Marooned
A ship goes down in the ocean and Benny is the only survivor. He manages to swim to an uninhabited island.
Many year’s later, when a search party finally comes to rescue him, they see that he has constructed two synagogues on his tiny island.
“Why the two synagogues?” the leader asks Benny.
Benny points to the nearest one and replies, “That’s the one I go to every Saturday. The other one, I wouldn’t go inside if you paid me!”

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Via Lowell Nigoff.

This actually reminds me of a real story of the last two Jews in Kabul (Afghanistan) who did not get along at all with each other.  See http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/afghanistan/1364310/The-last-two-Jews-in-Kabul-fight-like-cat-and-dog.html.

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Four Men in the Desert (Jewish humor)

Four Men in the Desert

Four men are wandering in the desert.  The German man says:  “I am tired and thirsty.  I must have a beer.”  The Frenchman says: “I am tired and thirsty.  I must have a glass of wine.”  The Mexican says: “I am tired and thirsty.  I must have a shot of tequila.”  The Jewish man says: “I am tired and thirsty.  I must have diabetes.”

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(From Hanna S. who found it on the web site of the Jewish Diabetes Association, via Lowell Nigoff)

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The New Pope (Jewish humor)

The New Pope

Every time a new Pope is elected, there are many rituals in accordance with tradition but there is one tradition very few people know about.

Shortly after the new Pope is enthroned, the Chief Rabbi of Rome seeks an audience. He is shown into the Pope’s presence, whereupon he presents the Pope with a silver tray bearing a velvet cushion. On top of the cushion is an ancient, shriveled envelope. The Pope symbolically stretches out his arm in a gesture of rejection.

The Chief Rabbi then retires, taking the envelope with him and does not return until the next Pope is elected.

The new Pope was intrigued by this ritual, and that its origins were unknown to him. He instructed the best scholars of the Vatican to research it, but they came up with nothing. When the time came and the Chief Rabbi was shown into his presence, they faithfully enacted the ritual rejection but, as the Chief Rabbi turned to leave, His Holiness called him back.

“My brother,” the Pope whispers, “I must confess that we Catholics are ignorant of the meaning of this ritual enacted for many centuries between us and you, the representative of the Jewish people. I have to ask you, what is it all about?”

The Chief Rabbi shrugs and replies: “But we have no more idea than you do. The origin of the ceremony is lost in the traditions of ancient history.” The Pope said: “Let’s retire to my chambers and then open the envelope and discover the secret at last.” The Chief Rabbi agrees.

Fortified in their resolve they gingerly pried open the curling parchment envelope and with trembling fingers, the Chief Rabbi reached inside and extracted a folded sheet of similarly ancient paper.

As the Pope peered over his shoulder, he slowly opened the envelope. They both gasped with shock –

It is a bill for the Last Supper from “Moishe Cohen’s Catering and Deli”.

This joke comes from Tzvi M. from Israel and via Lowell Nigoff of Lexington, Kentucky

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Jews and Rowing

The Rowing Team
Yeshiva University decided to put together a scull rowing team. Unfortunately, they lost race after race. They practiced for hours every day, but never managed to come in any better than dead last. The head of the Yeshiva finally decided he couldn’t stand any more embarrassment so he sent Yankel to spy on Harvard’s team.

So Yankel shlepped off to Harvard and hid on the bank of the river from where he carefully watched the Harvard team as they practiced.
When Yankel returned to the Yeshiva he proudly announced to the head.
“I have figured out their secret,”

“They have eight guys rowing and one guy shouting and we have eight guys shouting and one guy rowing.”

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Humor

To be really funny, you have to have suffered.

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Vanessa’s Wedding

From Dianne Bazell:  A Jewish family celebration.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KgZ4ZTTfKO8

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The Talmudist Takes a Train Trip

This comes via John Harrison. I can really relate to this one: very representative of the importance that Jews place on analysis and thinking.

“After months of negotiation with the Soviet authorities, a Talmudist from Odessa was finally granted permission to visit Moscow.  He boarded the train and found an empty seat.  At the next stop, a young man got on and sat next to him. The scholar looked at the young man and thought, ‘This fellow doesn’t look like a peasant, so if he is no peasant he probably comes from this district. If he comes from this district, then he must be Jewish because this is, after all, a Jewish district.’  ‘But, on the other hand, since he is a Jew, where could he be going? I’m the only Jew in this district who has permission to travel to Moscow.  Aahh, wait!  Just outside Moscow there is a little village called Samvet, and Jews don’t need special permission to go to Samvet.  But why would he travel to Samvet? He is surely going to visit one of the Jewish families there.  But how many Jewish  families are there in Samvet?  Aha, only two – the Bernsteins and the Steinbergs.  But since the Bernsteins are a low, terrible, family, such a nice looking fellow as this young man must be visiting the Steinbergs.’  ‘But why is he going to the Steinbergs in Samvet? The Steinbergs have only daughters, two of them, so maybe he’s their son-in-law. But if he is, then which daughter did he marry? They say that Sarah Steinberg married a nice lawyer from Budapest, and Esther married a businessman from Zhitomer, so this must be Sarah’s husband.  Which means that his name is Alexander Cohen, if I’m not mistaken.’  ‘But if he came from Budapest, with all the anti-Semitism they have there, he must have changed his name.  What’s the Hungarian equivalent of Cohen?  It is Kovacs.  But since they allowed him to change his name, he must have special status to change it.  What could it be ?  He must have a doctorate from the University.  Nothing  less would do.’  At this point, therefore, the scholar of Talmud turns to the young man and says, ‘Excuse me.  Do you mind if I open the window, Dr. Kovacs?’  ‘Not at all,’ answers the startled fellow passenger. ‘But how is it that you know my name?’  “Ahhh,” replies the Talmudist, ‘It was obvious.'”

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Jews Don’t Camp

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The Yiddish-Speaking Parrot

Meyer, a lonely widower, was walking home along Delancy Street in New York City one day, wishing something wonderful would happen in his life, when he passed a pet store and heard a squawky voice shouting
out: “Squawwwwk…vus macht du?… Yeah, du … outside, standing like
a putzel…eh?”

Meyer rubbed his eyes and ears. He couldn’t believe it. The proprietor sprang out of the door and grabbed Meyer by the sleeve. “Come in here, fella, and check out this parrot.” Meyer stood in front of an African
Grey parrot that cocked his little head and said: “Vus? Kenst reddin Yiddish?” Meyer turned excitedly to the store owner. “He speaks Yiddish?” “Vuh den? Chinese maybe?”

In a matter of moments, Meyer had placed five hundred dollars down on the counter and carried the parrot in his cage away with him. All night he talked with the parrot. In Yiddish. He told the parrot about his
father’s adventures coming to America. About how beautiful his mother was when she was a young bride. About his family. About his years of working in the garment center. About Florida. The parrot listened and commented. They shared some walnuts. The parrot told him of living in the pet store, how he hated the
weekends. They both went to sleep.

Next morning, Meyer began to put on his tfillin, all the while saying his prayers. The parrot demanded to know
what he was doing, and when Meyer explained, the parrot wanted some too. Meyer went out and had a miniature set of tfillin hand-made for the parrot. The parrot wanted to learn to daven and learned every prayer. He wanted to learn to read Hebrew, so Meyer spent weeks and months, sitting and teaching the
parrot, teaching him Torah. In time, Meyer came to love and count on the parrot as a friend and a Jew. He had been saved.

One morning, on Rosh Hashanah, Meyer rose and got dressed and was about to leave for the Shul when
the parrot demanded to go with him. Meyer explained that Shul was not a place for a bird but the parrot made a terrific argument and was carried to Shul on Meyer’s shoulder. Needless to say, they made quite a spectacle, and Meyer was questioned by everyone, including the Rabbi and Cantor. They refused to
allow a bird into the building on the High Holy Days but Meyer convinced them to let him in this one time, swearing that the parrot could daven. Wagers were made with Meyer. Thousands of dollars were bet (odds were even given) that the parrot could NOT daven, could NOT speak Yiddish or Hebrew, etc. All eyes
were on the African Grey during services.

The parrot perched on Meyer’s shoulder as one prayer and song were chanted. Meyer heard not a peep from
the bird. He began to become annoyed, slapping at his shoulder and mumbling under his breath, “Daven!” …… Nothing. “Daven … parrot, you can daven, so daven … come on, everybody’s looking at you!” …… Nothing.

After Rosh Hashanah services were concluded, Meyer found that he owed his Shul buddies and the Rabbi over four thousand dollars. He marched home, pissed off, saying nothing. Finally, several blocks from the Temple,
the bird began to sing an old Yiddish song and was happy as a lark. Meyer stopped and looked at him. “You miserable bird, you cost me over four thousand dollars. Why? After I made your tfillin and taught you the morning prayers, and taught you to read Hebrew and the Torah. And after you begged me to bring
you to Shul on Rosh Hashanah. Why? Why did you do this to me?” “Don’t be a schmuck,” the parrot replied. “Think of the odds on Yom Kippur.”

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Jewish Contract with God

From an e-mail I received

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To: The Lord G-d Almighty a.k.a. Ha’shem, Shadai, Elohim, etc.

From: The Jews: a.k.a. The Chosen People

Subject: Termination of Contract/Special Status (Chosen People)

As you are aware, the contract made between You and Abraham is up for
renewal, and this memorandum is to advise You that after, yea, those many
millennia of consideration, we, the Jews (The Chosen People) have decided
that we really do not wish to renew.

We should point out immediately that there is nothing in writing, and, contrary to popular beliefs, we (The Jews) have not really benefited too much from this arrangement. If You go back to the early years of our  arrangement, it definitely started off on the wrong footing. Not only was  Israel and Judea invaded almost every year, but we also went to enormous expense to erect not one but two Temples, and they
were both destroyed. All we have left is a pile of old stones called the Western Wall (of course You know all this, but we feel it’s a good thing to account for all the reasons we wish to terminate the contract).

After the Hittites, Assyrians, Goliaths, etc, not only were we beaten up almost daily, but then we were sold off as slaves to Egypt, of all countries, and really lost a few hundred years of development. Now, we realize that You went to a great deal of trouble to send Moses to lead us out of Egypt, and those poor Egyptian buggers were smitten (smote?)with all those plagues. But, reflecting on those years, we are  at a loss to understand why it took almost forty years to make a trip that El Al now does in 75 minutes.

Also, while not appearing to be  ungrateful, for years a lot of people have asked why Moses led us left  instead of right at Sinai? If we had gone right, we would have had the oil!

OK, so the oil was not part of the deal, but then the Romans came and we really were up to our necks in dreck. While it’s true that the Romans did give us water fit to drink, aqueducts, and baths, it was very disconcerting to walk down one of the vias, look up, and see oneof your friends or family nailed to a three-by-four looking for all the world like a sign post. Even one of our princes, Judah Ben Hur got caught up with Roman stuff and drove like a crazy man around the Coliseum. It’s a funny thing but many people swore that Ben Hur had an uncanny resemblance to Moses…go figure.

Then, of all things, one of our rabbis (teachers) declared himself “Son of You” (there was nothing said about this with Abe) and before we knew what was what, a whole new religion sprang up. To add insult to injury,
we were dispersed all over the world two or three times while this new religion really caught on! We were truly sorry to hear that the Romans executed him like so many others, but, …alas, (and this will make you
laugh,) once again WE were blamed.

Now here’s something we really don’t understand. That our rabbi really came into his own. Millions of people revered and worshipped his name and scriptures. ….. and still killed us by the millions. They claimed we drank the blood of new born infants, and controlled the world banks (Oy! if only that were so.) We could have bought them all off, and operated the world’s media and so on and so on. Are we beginning to make our point here?

OK so let’s fast-forward a few hundred years to the Crusades. Hoo boy! Again we were caught in the middle! They, the lords and knights, came from all over Europe to smack the Arabs and open up the holy places, but before we knew what hit us, they were killing us right, left, and center along with everyone else. Every time a king or a pope was down in the opinion polls, they called a crusade or holy war, and went on a killing rampage in our land.

Today it’s called Jihad. OK, so You tested us a little there, but then some bright cleric in Spain came up with the Inquisition. We all thought it was a new game show, but once again we and, we must admit, quite a few others were used as firewood for a whole new street lighting arrangement in major Spanish cities.

All right, so that ended after about a hundred years or so… in the scheme of things not a long time. But every time we settled down in one country or another, they kicked us out! So we wandered around a few hundred years or so, but it never changed. Finally we settled in a few countries but they insisted we all live in ghettoes…no Westchesters or Moscow for us. There we are in the ghettoes, when what do you know? The Russians come up with the Pogroms. We all thought they made a spelling mistake and misspelled programs, but we were dead wrong (no pun intended). Apparently, when there was nothing else for them to do, killing
the Jews (a.k.a. The Chosen People, are You getting our drift?) was the in thing.

Now comes some really tough noogies. We were doing quite well, thank You, in a small European country called Germany, when some house painter wrote a book, said a few things that caught on and became
their leader….whoo boy what a bad day that was for us…You know…Your Chosen People. We don’t really know where You were in the earth years 1940 to 1945. We know everyone needs a break now and then…..even Lord G-d Almighty needs some time off. But really…when we needed You most, You were never around. You are probably aware of this, but if You have forgotten, over six million of Your Chosen People, along with quite a few unchosen others, were murdered. They even made lampshades out of our skins. Look, we don’t want to dwell on the past, but it gets worse!

Here we are, it’s 1948, and millions of us are displaced yet again, when You really pull a fast one. We finally get our own land back! Yes!!! After all these years, You arrange for us to go back… then all the
Arab countries immediately declare war on us. We have to tell You that sometimes Your sense of humor really eludes us. Ok, so we win all the wars, but it’s now 2006 and nothing’s changed. We keep getting blown up, hijacked, and kidnapped. We have no peace whatsoever.

Enough is enough. So, we hope that You understand that nothing’s forever (except You of course) and we respectfully would like to pull out of our verbal agreement vis-a -vis being Your chosen people. Look, sometimes things work out, sometimes they don’t.  Let’s be friends over the next few eons and see what happens. How about this? We’re sure You recall that Abraham had a whole other family from Ishmael (the ones who got the oil). How about making them Your chosen people for a few thousand years?

Respectfully,

The Commitee To Be UN-Chosen

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The Difference Between Christmas and Channukah

I received the following in an email:

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“If anyone asks you what the difference is between Christmas and Chanukah, you will know what and how to answer!

1. Christmas is one day, same day every year, December 25. Jews also love December 25th. It’s another paid day off work. We go to movies and out for Chinese food and Israeli dancing. Chanukah is 8 days. It starts the evening of the 24th of Kislev, whenever that falls. No one is ever sure. Jews never know until a non-Jewish friend asks when Chanukah starts, forcing us to consult a calendar so we don’t look like idiots. We all have the same calendar, provided free with a donation from the World Jewish Congress, the kosher butcher, or the local Sinai Memorial Chapel (especially in Florida ) or other Jewish funeral home.

2. Chanukah is a minor holiday with the same theme as most Jewish holidays. They tried to kill us, we survived, let’s eat.

3. Christians get wonderful presents such as jewelry, perfume, stereos….

Jews get practical presents such as underwear, socks, or the collected works of the Rambam, which looks impressive on the bookshelf.

4. There is only one way to spell Christmas. No one can decide how to spell Chanukah, Chanukkah, Chanukka, Channukah, Hanukah, Hannukah, etc.

5. Christmas is a time of great pressure for husbands and boy friends . Their partners expect special gifts. Jewish men are relieved of that burden. No one expects a diamond ring on Chanukah.

6. Wax candles are used for Chanukah. Not only are we spared enormous electric bills, but we get to feel good about not contributing to the energy crisis.

7. Christmas carols are beautiful…Silent Night,  Come All Ye Faithful…. Chanukah songs are about dreidels made from clay or having a party and dancing the hora. Of course, we are secretly pleased that many of the beautiful carols were composed and written by our tribal brethren. And don’t Barbara Streisand and Neil Diamond sing them beautifully?

8. A home preparing for Christmas smells wonderful.  The sweet smell of cookies and cakes baking. Happy people are gathered around in festive moods. A home preparing for Chanukah smells of oil, potatoes, and onions. The home, as always, is full of loud people all talking at once.

9. Women have fun baking Christmas cookies. Women burn their eyes and cut their hands grating potatoes and onions for latkas on Chanukah. Another reminder of our suffering through the ages.

10. Parents deliver to their children during Christmas mornings. Jewish parents have no qualms about withholding a gift on any of the eight nights.

11. The players in the Christmas story have easy to pronounce names such as Mary, Joseph, and Jesus. The players in the Chanukah story are Antiochus, Judah Maccabee, and Matta whatever. No one can spell it or pronounce it. On the plus side, we can tell our friends anything and they believe we are wonderfully versed in our history.

12. Many Christians believe in the virgin birth. Jews think, ‘Joseph, you shmuck, snap out of it. Your woman is pregnant, you didn’t sleep with her, and now you want to blame G-d. Here’s the number of my shrink’.

13. In recent years, Christmas has become more and more commercialized. The same holds true for Chanukah, even though it is a minor holiday. It makes sense. How could we market a major holiday such as Yom Kippur? Forget about celebrating. Think observing. Come to synagogue, starve yourself for 27 hours, become one with your dehydrated soul, beat your chest, confess your sins, a guaranteed good time for you and your family. Tickets a mere $200 per person.

Happy Chanukah!”

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