A. When Joseph served in Pharaoh's court.
Oy! Today is a look at the best of Jewish humor on the Internet. (And there's a lot!)
The above riddle is taken from Rabbi Amy Scheinerman's treasure trove of Jewish humor at http://ezra.mts.jhu.edu/~rabbiars/humor/index.html
That's where you can also sample Jewish ice cream flavors — Mazel Toffee, Cashew Le'Pesach, Abba Ebanana — and find out why that chicken crossed the road — as explained by some famous Jews:
Hillel: If I am not for the chicken, then who will be? But if I am only for the chicken, then what am I? And if it doesn't cross now, when?
Woody Allen: I mean, it was, it was…a chicken…of legal consenting age. The heart wants what it wants.
Another favorite are personals ads that have allegedly appeared in Israeli newspapers at www.michiganet.com/jokes/jokes1998.htm
The claim is that these ads are genuine:
*Yeshiva bocher, Torah scholar, long beard, payes. Seeks same in woman.
*Shochet, 54, owns successful butcher shop in Midwest. Doesn't believe women should be treated like a piece of meat.
*Jewish businessman, 49, manufactures Sabbath candles, Chanukah candles, havdallah candles, Yahrzeit candles. Seeks non-smoker.
Where would Israeli humor be without Dry Bones? Through thick and thin, Yaakov Kirschen, the cartoonist behind the syndicated, political comic strip has always helped Israelis find a humorous lining in their various clouds. The Dry Bones cartoon gallery offers a very generous selection of Kirschen's cartoons. It's found at http://drybones.org.il/gallery.html
Eliezer Segal of Calgary, Alberta, has written several humorous articles including one about an unpublicized trade pact between Israel and Poland surrounding a surprising commodity: discarded Hebrew vowels. It's at www.acs.ucalgary.ca/~elsegal/Shokel/ Lighter_Index.html
"Lifting a glass of vodka prior to the signing of the treaty, Polish bureaucrat Zbwgnv Plctytskv declared that the new agreement would indeed have momentous effects on Polish speech and literature…Following the Purim press conference, Zebewgoniew Polictyetov expressed his satisfaction over the deal, noting how much easier it is now to pronounce his name.
"Asked about how Israel would be able to manage without vowels, Mr. Kametz-Katon remarked that 'no one here ever uses vowels anyway except in children's books. Frankly, we have no way of storing the little dots, which keep falling out of their bags.'"
Aside from telling jokes, Jews are all too familiar with being the butt of unwanted humor.
Bernard Saper starts his fascinating analysis of Jewish jokes and anti-Semitism with this story:
"Sam and Irving are facing the firing squad. The executioner comes forward to place the blindfold on them. Sam disdainfully and proudly refuses, tearing the thing from his face. Irving turns to him and pleads: "Please Sam, don't make trouble!"
Saper then poses and analyzes thought-provoking questions; "Is this joke funny? Would it be equally as funny if told by either a Jew or a Gentile? To either a Jew or a Gentile? With Yiddish accent or without? In mixed company? Is this joke antidote or fuel for anti-Semitism?"
This highly recommended site can be found at www.ozcomedy.com/journal/11saper.htm
Are you too lazy to go looking for Jewish humor? Then let the jokes come to you.
Subscribe to a Jewish humor e-mail list and the jokes will be delivered to you on a regular basis. One of them can be found at Virtual Jerusalem at www.vjlists.com/jewish-humor/index.htm
Do you have a winner you want to share? Submit it to the Jewish Communication Network at www.jcn18.com/ scripts/jcn18/forum/forum.idc?ForumID=14&TopicID=4
Perhaps the best humor is rooted in reality. Richard Lederer proved that point when he gathered a healthy selection of biblical bloopers — actual mistakes made by kids across the world. Find it at http://pw1.netcom.com/~rlederer/arcblpr.htm
I leave you with one of its (fractured) retellings of the story of Exodus:
"Moses led the Hebrews to the Red Sea, where they made unleavened bread, which is bread made without any ingredients. The Egyptians were all drowned in the dessert. Afterwards, Moses went up on Mount Cyanide to get the Ten Amendments. The First Commandment was when Eve told Adam to eat the apple. The Fifth Commandment is humor thy father and mother. The Seventh Commandment is thou shalt not admit adultery. Moses ate nothing but whales and manner for 40 years. He died before he ever reached Canada."
Mark Mietkiewicz is a Toronto-based television producer who writes, lectures and teaches about the Jewish Internet. His columns alternate with those of James D. Besser. Mietkiewicz can be reached at email@example.com