This week we read in our Torah how Isaac was born to Sarah and Abraham when both were already very old. Therefore they called their son “laughter” because Sarah thought that it ridiculous to believe she would be pregnant when old and that furthermore people would laugh at her for having a child in her old age.
Parsha or segment of the Torah which contains the birth of Isaac is called
view of the invitation to laugh despite all the zores (troubles) the world
endures every day, let us take a look at some Jewish jokes and laugh this time.
We can always look at any newspaper or newscast and get depressed. To offset all
that, let us do what my father did during the worst of the Nazi horrors. He made
everyone else laugh, despite all zores. May he rest in peace.
Now read this and enjoy:
A man was lying in bed on a Saturday morning. His wife said to him, “Get out of bed and go to “shul”. “I don’t want to go to shul”, said he, “and there are three reasons for that. First, I am tired. Second, I don’t like the service and I really dislike the sermons. Third, the congregation doesn’t like me.” So his wife said, “Those excuses are no good. Get out of bed and go to shul for three reasons. First, a decent Jewish family goes to shul together. Second, God will never forgive you, if you don’t come to shul. And third, you are the rabbi.”
A cathedral was located opposite a synagogue in a well-to-do neighborhood. Both the Jewish and the Catholic congregations were driving nice cars and living well. Only the clergy was in poor condition. In fact, the priest was driving a car so old that the floor had rusted through and he could see the street under him as he drove. The rabbi had so old a car that he had to hold the doors together with ropes.
Now one day the Catholic congregation decided to do something for their priest and they collected $42,000 to buy the priest a new Lincoln Town Car. So on the next Sunday, after mass, when the priest came to the door of the church to greet his parishioners, the chairman of the collecting committee showed the priest the new car and handed him the keys.
Just then, Sunday school was ended across the street and the Jewish friends joined their Christian friends to see the new car. Well the priest just stood there dumbfounded. "Aren't you going to say something or do something to accept the new car?" called one his parishioners. "Well, of course," said the priest. "Just wait one minute." So he walked into the church while the crowd waited. Shortly he reappeared with some holy water and sprinkled it on the new car and even said something in Latin. He thanked one and all and accepted the new car.
Well, the Jewish folks were ashamed that the rabbi was still driving such an old jalopy and so they too collected over $40,000 and bought the rabbi a new Cadillac which they parked outside the synagogue the next Saturday. So when the rabbi came to the door of the synagogue after services he was presented with the keys to the new car. Just then, their Christian friends came to join their Jewish friends across the street and look over the new car. The rabbi was so dumbfounded he didn't say a word. So someone called out, "Rabbi, aren't you going to get some holy water and accept the new car?" "We don't have any holy water," said the Rabbi, "but I will do something else." With that he walked across the sidewalk into the basement of the synagogue while the crowed waited and wondered what he was doing in the basement. Well, shortly the Rabbi reappeared with a pair of metal shears and clipped a piece off the tailpipe.
A Jewish kid is sent to a Jewish school by his parents. After two weeks he is kicked out for fighting and laziness. So his parents raise the money and send him to a private school. However, after two weeks he is kicked out for fighting and laziness. Having no choice, the parents send the kid to a public school. However, after just one week he is suspended for fighting, lateness and laziness. His parents feel terrible. What to do, what to do! Finally they decide there is only one thing more they can do. So they enroll him in a Catholic school. Weeks go by and the boy is still in school. In fact, he has good grades and the nuns speak well of him. His parents are amazed. They ask the kid, “How is it you got kicked out of Jewish school, out of private school and out of public school but you don’t get kicked out of Catholic school?” “You should see,” says the kid, “what they have hanging on the wall.”
congregation was arguing over whether one should stand or sit during the Shema
Yisroel. Half of the congregation said one should sit, the other half insisted
one should stand. Every time the Shema was recited they shouted at each other,
“Sit down!” and “Stand up!” The fighting became so bad that the
congregation was split in two, each half contending that they knew the tradition
in that synagogue.
Finally, the rabbi decided to visit a one hundred year old member of the synagogue who was living in a nursing home. He took a delegation from each of the arguing sides with him to see the oldest member of the “shul”. “Now, tell us,” said the rabbi, “what is our tradition?” “Should we stand during the Shema?” “No,” said the old man. “That is not our tradition.” “Well, then,” said the rabbi, “ should we sit during the Shema?” “No,” the old man, “that is not our tradition.” “But we need to know what to do,” said the rabbi, “because our congregation members are fighting among each other.” “That,” said the oldest member of the congregation, “that is our tradition.”
A businessman rushed into the office of his rabbi and complained loudly about his troubles. “I am stone broke,” he cried. “My creditors call day and night demanding money. My wife says she’ll divorce me if I don’t straighten out my financial problems and my daughter say she wants me to give her a $15,000 wedding. What can I do? What can I do?” The rabbi said, “Calm yourself. I have good advice for you. What I want you to do is go home, place the Torah a table. Sit down in front of the Good Book, close your eyes and open the Torah at random at any page. Then take your finger and point to any place on that page, keeping your eyes closed. When you open your eyes you will find the answer to your problems under your finger.” The fellow thought the rabbi was totally confused and ridiculous. Yet, on his way home he decided to give that advice a try anyway since he had nothing to lose.
Now the clergyman hadn’t sees this fellow for three months when suddenly he rushed into the rabbi’s office and shouted. “Rabbi, good news. I am inviting you to officiate at my daughter’s $15,000 wedding.” The rabbi was astonished. “So you did what I told you.” “Yes I did,” said the businessman. “I put the Torah on the table, closed my eyes, opened at a random page and put my finger on the page. When I opened my eyes, there in front of me was the answer to my financial problems.” “Speak up!” shouted the rabbi, “Tell me, what were the words under your finger?” “Chapter eleven,” said the businessman.
A rabbi, a cantor and a congregation president are all held up by a robber who points a gun at them. “Let me at least give one more sermon before you shoot me,” pleads the rabbi. “Let me at least sing Kol Nidre once more before you shoot me,” cries the cantor. “Shoot me first,” begs the president.
A foreign-born Jewish woman tells a travel agent that she wants to go to India. “I vant to go to India.” “But Mrs. Cohen,” says the travel agent, “India is so hot, the food is so different, things are so primitive, with your high blood pressure you shouldn’t go. It is overcrowded, it smells, there is the plague, cholera, hepatitis, snakes, beasts of all kinds. You’ll get sick.” “I vant to go to India.” “All right,” says the travel agent, “if you insist.” So he books her for India. She arrives in Bangalore and asks to see the Guru. She enters the ashram and there she is greeted by a huge crowd all come to see the Guru. The Guru has numerous assistants who tell everyone that they’ll have to wait six hours in the heat and that then one must bow from the waist and then say only say three words to the Guru. So she waits, and waits in the heat and the crowd and no kosher food and no Jewish doctors. Finally, it is her turn. She goes into the inner sanctum of the Guru. She doesn’t bow down at all. She stands up straight, looks the Guru in the eye and says these three words: “Come home, Oiving.”
A man asked a priest whether sex was work or pleasure and whether it was allowed on the Sabbath day. The priest said it is work and cannot be done on Sunday. The man thought it over and decided that the priest couldn’t know anything about sex anyway because he is single. So he asked a minister. The protestant minister said it is work and cannot be done on a Sunday. The man thought it over and concluded that the Christian clergy really didn’t qualify to answer the question since only the Jews had a prohibition against all work on the Sabbath. So he visited a rabbi. “Is sex work or pleasure?” he asked, “and can sex be done on Shabbat?” “ It cannot be work,” said the rabbi. “If it were, my wife would have hired someone else to do it for her.”
A couple are nearing their 50th wedding anniversary. The husband calls his son in a distant city and tells him that they are getting a divorce. “Don’t do that!” shouts the son. “Do nothing until I get there.” The son then calls his sister in yet another city. She calls her father. “Don’t get a divorce!” she cries. “Do nothing until I get there.” The old father hangs up and says to mother, “Well, they didn’t come for Pesach and they didn’t come for Rosh Hashana, but I got them to come for our 50th anniversary.”
A small Jewish community in the rural south had no rabbi. However, a couple wanted a Jewish wedding. So they called a rabbi from New York City. Not knowing one denomination from another, they happened to call a Lubavitch who arrived wearing a black coat, black hat, beard and earlocks. When he walked through the town he became the object of constant comment and had little children run after him. The children made all kinds of remarks and seemed to tease him. So finally his temper go the better of him. Turning to the ever teasing children he shouted, “What’s wrong with you! Haven’t you ever seen a Yankee before?”
A woman convert to Judaism told the Rabbi she would do everything except put her head under water in a Mikvah. “Then you will be Jewish but keep your ‘goyishe kop’”, said the rabbi.
A Jew visited a rabbi and offered to give him $10,000 if he’ll make him a Kohen. The rabbi said he could not do that. The fellow offered $50,000 but to no avail. “I’ll pay off your mortgage,” said the fellow, “if you’ll make me a Kohen.” “I can’t do that,” said the Rabbi, “but tell me, why do you want to be a Kohen so badly?” “My father was a Kohen and my grandfather before him.”
Three petitioners approached Shem Yisborach and complained. The first was the Oleynoo prayer. “I am always at the end,” said the prayer, “so whenever it is my turn everybody is already halfway out the door. I get no respect.” “Not to worry,” said the Almighty. “I shall include you in the middle of the Yom Kippur Service and you’ll get a great deal of attention.” “Thank you,” said Oleynoo. Next came the blessing Asher Yotze which we say when we have been successful in the bathroom. That blessing complained that it was used in the most debased situation. “Not to worry,” said Shem Yisborach, “I shall put you into the wedding ceremony.” So finally came a Mamser. “God,” complained the Mamser, “I feel terrible. Nobody deals with me. Nobody talks to me. Everyone ignores me. I am everywhere rejected. Please help me.” “Of course,” said the Almighty, “Don’t fret about being a Mamser. I will make you president of the shul.”
A bigot came to a travel agent and asked him to arrange a winter vacation for him in a place that would be warm. The travel agent suggested he spend a month in Israel. “Nothing doing,” said the bigot. There are too many Jews there. The travel agent then suggested Southern California. “There are too many Jews there, too,” said the bigot. “Then why not go to Florida?” asked the travel agent. “Oh no! shouted the bigot. There are far too many Jews there.” “O.K. then,” said the travel agent, “I know what you can do. You can go to hell. There are no Jews there at all.”
Mrs. Goldstein comes to a hotel in a “high class” resort and asks for a room. “We’re all filled up,” says the clerk. “There’s someone leaving now,” says Mrs. G., “so now you have a room.” “I am sorry,” says the clerk, “but the real reason we don’t rent to you is that we keep out Jews.” “I am a Catholic,” says Goldstein. “Well, if you are a Catholic, tell me what happened to Mary?” “She was the virgin mother of Jesus,” says Mrs. G. “So what happened to the baby Jesus?” says the clerk. “He was born in a manger outdoors because there was not enough room at the inn,” says Mrs. G. “Well, o.k.,” says the clerk, “you seem to know a lot about Christian beliefs. Just answer one more question.” “Why was Jesus born in an outdoor manger and not in the inn?” “Because the clerk at the inn was a jerk like you who wouldn't let Jews in?” shouted Mrs. G.
A Texas man told the bartender his wife had given birth to a baby boy weighing 25 lbs. “That is astonishing,” said the bartender. “This is Texas,” said the new father, “and in Texas everything is big.” Ten days later the new father came back to the bar. “How much does the baby weigh now?” said the bartender. “17 lbs.,” said the new father. “How is that possible?” said the bartender. “How could the boy have lost so much weight?” Replied the new father, “We had him circumcised.”
Dr. Gerhard Falk is the author of Stigma: How We Treat Outsiders (Prometheus Books, 2001) and over 60 other publications.