In my second Intro to Judaism class, we focused on Chapter 23 in Leviticus. Though maybe focus isn’t the right word. We went off on tangents about redemption, marriage, The Frisco Kid (guess I have something to add to my movie list), and a book called The Carp in the Bathtub. As a diligent note-taker, I wrote down everything that we learned about each holiday. I can now tell you where the different sounds of the shofar come from, the true meaning of a scapegoat, why we use a citron for Rosh Hashanah, and the process of Teshuva. And I will, in a couple of posts to follow.
However, there is much to be learned from this rabbi in his humor, his jokes and stories. He is an amazing storyteller, with a vibrant, passionate voice that makes every fact seem like some kind of unknown secret we are all just discovering for the first time. He’s also very humorous, interjecting his own life experiences and jokes into his teaching.
It’s amidst the laughter and the lightness of the situation that we learn something, and the funny parts that stick with you. So, I’ve got a few one-liners to share. The learning and the serious stuff will come later. Even if these jokes don’t make sense, they’ll at least make you pause. And I hope they make you smile.
Everyone says youth is wasted on the young. Youth is NOT wasted on the young. It is a gift given to the young so that they can raise children. (This got an appreciative chuckle from all the parents and some nervous laughter from the young adults.)
Yom Kippur is not an endurance test. It’s not about being the last one standing after everyone else has passed out.
Hey G-d, I’m doing my part. Look at me! I’m here! Now you do yours.
You know the definition of insanity? Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.
So their pet fish becomes gefilte fish, and you can imagine the kids are a little upset.
We ALL go over the finish line together. I’m talking about collective redemption.
So we have our willows, our myrtles, and our etrog. What do we do with them? Shaky shaky shaky shaky, shaky shaky shaky shaky shaky, shaky shaky shaky shaky…
Scene from The Frisco Kid: They have just announced the marriage of the rabbi to another man’s daughter. Someone shouts “Drinks for everyone!” Another person asks, “How are we [the synagogue] going to pay for this?” To which a man replies, “Take it out of the building fund!” (After telling this story, my rabbi just looks at everyone and says, Board members.)
It might be a holiday for you, but it certainly won’t be the holidays for me! 23 days and what, 9 sermons?!