Everything is very heavy and serious nowadays especially with Rosh Hashanah coming up. So there has never been a better time for some Jewish levity.
The New York Times never makes a mistake.
Today, the Rabbi told a funny joke about the power of words. He said that an old man woke up one morning to find his name in the obituaries in the New York Times. Shocked and dismayed that he was listed as dead while he was still among the living, he contacted the newspaper about this flagrant error. Sure enough, the paper’s representative says,
We’re the New York Times; we never make a mistake, and we never apologize!
Understandably, the old man gets frustrated, not only by their mistake but also by their obstinance in not being willing to own up to it and correct it. Finally, after a much-heated argument, the representative says,
We won’t issue a correction for your obituary, but we will put you in the births column in tomorrow’s paper!
Mind over matter
The other day I was swimming in the outdoor pool, and as I was finishing up, a couple of older ladies were arriving to do their water walking. One of them, concerned about the water temperature, says to me, “How’s the water?” To which I respond with one of my dad’s witty responses: “It’s wet!” Ok, I got a chuckle from that one.
Then one of the ladies proceeds to enter the pool while the other lady is still apprehensive and lingering, and the first lady shrieks, “Oh, it’s cold!” And she looks at me with a stare like, “How come I didn’t aptly warn them?” To which I responded:
Ladies, it’s mind over matter; if you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter!
To this, they both violently nodded in agreement and proceeded with their water exercise.
Making your way to the chuppah
A nice couple in the synagogue that we’ve known for a little while now got engaged. They are very cute together, and we were so happy for them. Seeing that the guy was maybe feeling excited but also a little nervous for the big day, I remembered a joke about marriage to sort of break the tension, and I took him aside and told him I had a marriage joke for him, and is it okay to share it with him? He preemptively smiled and said, “Yeah, please go ahead.” To which I said:
When it comes to marriage, there are three rings. First comes the engagement ring. Then comes the wedding ring. And then comes suffering.
This made the guy crack up laughing. Let’s just say everyone recognizes a little truth in that one.
We’ve been having some crazy weather this summer, for sure. As one of my good friends says, “We broke the weather!” This week, we had a 90-degree day, concluding with a thunderstorm and ten minutes of hail. One of my neighbors said that they had to bring in the plants because they were afraid that they were going to blow off the terrace. To which I replied maybe a little aggressively,
That’s what happens if you misbehave; your wife leaves you out on the terrace in the big storm.
The man bursts out laughing, and then his wife jumps in and says, “No, he leaves me out on the terrace!” To which I asked in a trouble-making way:
How much life insurance do you have on her?
In short, sometimes Jews can be so serious (and even a little miserable from circumstance, of course), and we can’t always afford good therapy, so we use humor to cope and get along.
One of life’s great lessons is to use words to make people happy and laugh whenever you can, to raise their spirits, your own, and even give the Almighty a good laugh or two as well.
Remember, it’s good to see the humor in life. As they say:
He who laughs, lasts.