aired Feb. 28, 2015 on Dave’s Gone By. Youtube clip: http://youtu.be/UAS7Oif5pBA
Shalom Dammit! This is Rabbi Sol Solomon with a Rabbinical Reflection for the week of March 1, 2015.
(sings) Shout hallelujah, come on, get happy!
It’s the Purim holiday
Though the rest of the year is crappy
We can drink all our blues away.”
Yes, my friends, this Wednesday night, the Purim holiday arrives, bringing with it the chance to celebrate our Jewishness, to dress up in funny costumes, and to recall a time in our history when, like the Crusades and the Holocaust, we were almost wiped out but saved at the last minute. Actually, no Jews died on Purim, so as happy holidays go, this one’s like hitting Lotto on the day your baby’s born.
On Purim, we read the Book of Esther — returning it to her after we’re done — and we rejoice in a holiday that is truly about fun. F – U – N. I spell it out, not because I’m worried the FCC thought I said something else, but because “fun” is not a word we often associate with my tribe, so we grab it when we can get it. And I get it on these Rabbinical Reflections by sometimes sharing jokes with a Jew-y theme and a Purim-packed punchline.
Our first joke is about my cousin Irving, who lives in Brooklyn and gets on a bus. He’s carrying this big duffelbag, and he asks the driver if he can get a senior discount. The driver looks at him funny and says, “You don’t look a day over 40. Show me some ID.”
“I left my wallet at home,” says Irving. “All I have is change for the bus. But I still I demand a senior discount.”
“You’re not old enough!” yells the driver. “What are you trying to pull?”
“How dare you!” screams Irving. “I demand my rights!”
The two start arguing and going back and forth and screaming. Finally, the bus driver gets fed up. He pulls to the curb, opens the doors, grabs the duffelbag and hurls it from the bus onto the sidewalk.
“You bastard!” says Irving. “Just because I wouldn’t pay full fare, you try to kill my son?”
Now, this joke trades upon two of the worst stereotypes you can foist upon the Jewish people: we’re cheap and conniving. We would do anything to save a penny, including lying and cheating. How this became a quote-unquote “Jewish” characteristic is beyond me. Ask a Scotsman. And it’s a hard stereotype to fight because I am stingy and proud of it! I’ll clip every coupon, I’ll visit museums only on free nights, I’ll bring a doggy bag to restaurants – not just for my leftovers, but from anyone else who wants to donate. In a world where one percent of the population keeps 90 percent of the money, who am I to play the big shot?
However, to intimate that the Jewish race is so miserly as to commit knowing and brazen fraud is an ugly over-generalization. For every Bernard Madoff, you’ll find a dozen philanthropists. For every Yid who doesn’t tip a waitress, there are two dozen who overpay just so they don’t look cheap. So please, bear that in mind when you see me in the hallway at the multiplex next week, sneaking from “American Sniper” to the Spongebob movie. I’m already in the building; I should pay twice to go in a different room?
Anyhoo, let’s move on to our next verbal amusement. Adolf Hitler and Josef Stalin are sitting in a Berlin bar in the late 1920s. They’re planning and plotting and dreaming and scheming when an American tourist takes the stool next to them. “Hiya,” says the stranger. “I’m Chris from Ohio.”
“Nice to meet you,” says Hitler. “I’m Adolf, and this is my friend, Josef from Russia. We’re in politics, and we’re strategizing a great social undertaking. We’re going to murder six million Jews and a bicycle repairman.”
“Wow,” says the stranger. “Why a bicycle repairman?”
“See?” Hitler whispers to Stalin. “I told you nobody cares about the Jews.”
This joke has a dark underpinning because had these lunatics stayed friendly and non-aggressive, they truly would have succeeded in exterminating the Jewish population. Mercifully, this did not occur because HaShem hardened Hitler’s ego and made him fight on two fronts. Why God waited until 1945 to stop Der Fuhrer is a question that even the wisest Talmudic spin doctors lose sleep over, but since this is Purim, I’m not going to. I’m just going to tell one more joke.
An Italian mafioso and his Jewish lawyer are walking down the streets of Rome when they see a curvaceous lady bend over to fix her shoe. “Mamma mia!” says the mafioso. “I would love to screw her.”
“Really?” says the lawyer. “Out of what?”
Ahh, lawyers. Where would humor be without them? Actually, on the scale of evil, Wall Street tycoons have leapfrogged over attorneys in the annals of disdain — maybe because we need lawyers to put all these stockbrokers in prison. Still, with litigation the second-most popular American pastime after football, it’s hard to stick up for lawyers, since they’ve been sticking up taxpayers for years.
And before women complain that the joke has a sexist component because just the sight of an attractive lady bending over turns grown men into wolverines, please remember that just the sight of an attractive lady bending over turns grown men into wolverines. It’s funny because it’s true. So…
Hallelujah, come on, get happy
We’re gonna laugh at offensive yoks
So if hot women get you fappy
Grab some baby oil and two old socks
Happy Purim everybody! This has been a Rabbinical Reflection from Rabbi Sol Solomon, Temple Sons of Bitches in Great Neck, New York.
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