Aired March 15, 2014 on Dave’s Gone By. Youtube clip: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kS7bF_9K-p8&feature=youtu.be
Shalom Dammit! This is Rabbi Sol Solomon with a Rabbinical Reflection for the week of March 16th, 2014.
So many of my recent sermons have been about serious matters – dead people, racism, World War II, chocolate-covered potato chips – that I thought it would be fun to lighten the load a bissel and tell a couple of jokes. Of course, I will analyze the jokes for their deeper meaning and moral content because, as you know, Jews can’t leave anything alone.
Our first joke takes place in Alabama, where a good looking young farmer drops his SUV off at the gas station for a tune-up. The mechanic offers to drive him home, but the guy says, “Nahh, it’s not far. I’ll walk.” So he does, but on the way, he passes a hardware store. He stops in and buys a bucket and a can of paint. A block later, he passes a feed store. In he goes, and he comes out with two live chickens and a goose.
Now he’s outside the store and struggling to manage the paint, the bucket, the animals while walking. That’s when Mrs. Greenbaum sees him and comes over. “Excuse me, young man,” she says, “but I’m a widow and scared to walk home by myself. I’m on Camden Street six blocks away; would you mind?” The farmer says, “I’d be happy to, but you gotta help me with these things.”
Mrs. Greenbaum says, “Why don’t you put the can of paint in the bucket? Then carry the bucket in one hand, the goose in the other, and put a chicken under each arm?” “Great idea!” says the farmer. “Let’s go.”
So they walk a block, and the farmer points between two buildings. “I know a shortcut,” he says. “We go through the alley, and you’ll be home in no time.” “Oh, no,” says the old woman. “A dark alley? How do I know you won’t pin me against the wall and have your way with me?”
“Are you kidding?” says the farmer. “I’m carrying a bucket, a gallon of paint, two chickens and a goose. How could I possibly molest you?” “Simple,” says Mrs. Greenbaum. “Put the goose down, cover the bucket, put the paint on the bucket, and I’ll hold the chickens.”
Now, what do we learn from this joke? Well, we learn how to hold two chickens, a goose and a can of paint, but we also learn that just because someone’s an old maid doesn’t mean she can’t be made. Some women age like a vintage Bordeaux. Others smell like a vintage bordello. Some ladies get better with age. Some get bitter with age. Some take such pride in their appearance, they’re very close to vain. Some have varicose veins. Anyhoo, everyone ages at different stages, and you’re only as old as you feel. I have it on good authority that when Methusaleh was 912 years old…he didn’t look a day over 840.
Anyway, Mr. Pincus is in the hospital, on his deathbed, with his family gathered around him and the nurse hovering nearby. Pincus calls his wife and four grown children over. “Myrtle,” he says, “I want you to take the house on Third Avenue.” To his oldest son he says, “Richard, you get the house on Braden Lane, and your brother takes the co-op across the street.” To his two daughters, Pincus says, “The luxury apartment building on 28th Street? That gets shared between the two of you.”
Exhausted, Pincus closes his eyes slips into his final rest. That’s when the nurse motions his wife over and whispers: “I’m sorry, I couldn’t help overhearing. Your family is so lucky. Your husband must have been some kind of mogul to leave you all that property!” “Mogul?” says the wife. “The schmuck delivered newspapers!”
Now, what do we learn from this joke? Well, although the punchline belies it, there’s something to be said for a man who takes pride in his work, even if that job doesn’t have the cachet of architect or stockbroker or, of course, Rabbi. Mr. Pincus may die on Friday, but that doesn’t mean the Hendersons should miss their Sunday funnies. It behooves all of us to ask, “How much pride do we take in our labors?” It behooves us to wonder whether a job well done is its own reward. It behooves a horse when you cut his legs off.
But seriously, our last joke is about the Weinblatts, who join a new temple, get involved, and go to the monthly luncheon. At lunch there’s a raffle, $20 a ticket. Third place goes to the Shpielmans, who win a big-screen color TV. For second place, the Weinblatts hear their number called. They run up excitedly only to be handed a box of muffins. They try to be gracious, but on the way back to their seats, Shpielman says to his wife, “Muffins? Third place, they got a TV; second place is a lousy box of muffins?”
“Shh,” the wife says. “The muffins were baked by the Rabbi’s wife.”
“Shtup the Rabbi’s wife!” says Weinblatt.
His wife says, “No, that’s first prize.”
There is some ambiguity to this joke because the punchline intimates two different funny things: first, that the Rebbetzin is a slut who will put out for the sake of the temple. The second, which pulls our focus from the first, is that the Rabbi’s wife is such a meeskeit, or such a lousy lay, that her cookies are worth more than her cootchie. But again, it comes back to age. When you’re my age, a nice, moist, chocolate-chip muffin beats two-and-a-half minutes of sweating and grunting. Of course, if it’s a bran muffin, I wind up sweating and grunting anyway, so it’s kind of a push.
Anyhoo, it’s time for me to push off, but not before I wish you all a very merry and playful Purim. Wear a costume so ridiculous, Miley Cyrus would be jealous. Drink so much you can’t tell the difference between Kim Jong-un and…everybody else in Korea. Enjoy the holiday, and remember: <em>hamantashen</em> only looks like a vagina. For the smell you have to boil a trout.
This has been a Rabbinical Reflection from Rabbi Sol Solomon, Temple Sons of Bitches in Great Neck, New York.
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