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(#212) The special award
Maurice had worked most of his life helping his community and he was therefore thrilled one morning to hear that his unselfish work had been recognised by the Queen, no less. She had decided to bestow on Maurice a knighthood.
But his elation soon turned to dismay when he realised that his ceremony would take place on the first night of Pesach. “What on earth should I do”, thought Maurice, “should I attend Seder night with my loving family or should I accept one of the highest honours in the land? His family soon talked him into going to the Palace. “The award is too special to turn down and you would always live to regret it”, they told him.
His next worry was what to say to the Queen. He just couldn't think of anything that would be of interest to her. He just hoped that he would come up with something on the day.
Come the special day. There was Maurice, on his knees, being knighted, with the Queen touching his shoulders with her sword and Maurice shaking with excitement. All of a sudden, he burst out with “Ma nishtona haleila hazeh”.
The Queen looked at Prince Philip with a surprised expression on her face and said to him “Why is this knight different from all other knights?”
(#268) The dinner guest
Maurice and Sadie invited Nigel, their gentile neighbour for a Passover dinner. The first course was served and Sadie said to Nigel, “This is matzoh ball soup.”
When Nigel saw the two large matzoh balls in the soup, he was hesitant to taste this strange looking brew. But Maurice gently persuaded him to try it. “Just have a taste. If you don’t like it, you don’t have to finish it, honestly.”
So Nigel has a taste. He digs his spoon in and picks up a small piece of matzoh ball with some soup. He tastes it gingerly and finds he likes it very much. Quickly he finishes his plate.
“That was delicious”, says Nigel. “Can you eat any other part of the matzoh?”
(#329) The request
Abe goes to see his boss and says, "we're doing some heavy house-cleaning at home tomorrow for Pesach and my wife needs me to help with the attic and the garage, moving and hauling stuff."
"We're short-handed, Abe," the boss replies. "I just can't give you the day off."
"Thanks, boss." says Abe, "I knew I could count on you!"
(#494) Pesach problem
It is not generally known that a few years ago the Jewish community in Madrid discovered at the last moment that they had no horseradish for making chrayn for Pesach. All the countries they asked replied in the same way, "Sorry, we have none left to send you."
So, in desperation, the Spanish Chief Rabbi called his friend in Israel and begged him to immediately send him some horseradish by air freight. He agreed and three days before Pesach, a crate of the best grade of tear-jerking Israeli horseradish was loaded onto an El Al Flight to Madrid. All seemed to be going OK but when the Chief Rabbi went to the airport to pick up his desperately needed horseradish, he was shocked to learn that there was a strike and that no crates of any kind would be unloaded at the airport for at least four days.
So, as it is said, “The chrayn in Spain stayed mainly on the plane.”
(#513) The root of our troubles
Did you know that the horseradish root goes back in time as far as the matzoh does? The horseradish root also crossed the Red Sea with the fleeing Israelites. The Israelites were slaves at the time and only had access to a few vegetables. The hard and woody horseradish was one of them and was a household staple.
Nearly all the fleeing Israelites took horseradish with them. Moshe and Sadie, however, while gathering up their scant belongings, found to their dismay that they had run out of horseradish. Sadie immediately sent Moshe into the field to dig up a large horseradish root to take with them. However, because it was dark and everyone was running around in panic, Moshe dug up a ginger root by mistake.
After forty years in the desert, the Israelites finally entered the Promised Land – all, that is, except Moshe and Sadie. It took them forty-one years to arrive. When asked where they had been, Sadie, now grown old, shrugged her shoulders and replied, "Moshe insisted on taking an alternative root."
(#714) Modern Haggadah selections
1. We were slaves to our employers, working seven days a week with no benefits, and then the unions were organized, and decreed a five-day working week and many days holiday during the year. Now if the unions had not gotten their act together, then we, and our sons, and even our grandsons, would still have to receive lowly wages. But our daughters and granddaughters still await their salvation.
2. There are four types of children who ask questions on Pesach: the wise one, the bad one, the simple one, and the one who does not know to ask.
What does the wise one ask? I don't know. I couldn't understand him either. Him you must send to a school for gifted children.
What does the bad one ask? He says, "What is this holiday to you?" Because he excludes himself from the community, you must exclude him from your table, and he will go back to his employer and get paid double-time and a half for working on Pesach.
What does the simple one ask? He simply asks, "What is this?" You will say to him, "This is dinner."
As for the one who does not know to ask, you must go to his room, wake him up and say, "Next year, remember to come to the table!"
Benny is in a restaurant, calls over the waiter and asks, “Oy, do you have matzoh balls?”
“No,” replies the waiter, “I always walk like this.”
(#1285) The converts
Benjamin is offered a high powered job as Head of Finance at Utah Life Assurance Inc. He and his Sarah sell their house in New York and move to Utah. But Benjamin is unaware that it had been a difficult decision for the ULA President to offer him the job.
Even after Benjamin starts work, the ULA directors continue to put pressure on the President behind Benjamin’s back. "We’re all Mormons on the board and we’ve never had someone Jewish on the board before. We find this very difficult to accept." But they also know that Benjamin is proving to be the best. He’s a financial genius, a financial guru.
After much careful thought, the President decides on a course of action and calls Benjamin to his office. "I’m afraid I’ve run into some opposition to your appointment. If you want to keep your $400,000 a year position, you’ll have to convert. Please let me know by tomorrow what you decide."
Benjamin has no choice. However difficult it might be to convert, it’s easier than losing his great new job. So he goes home and tells Sarah, "It’s simple, from this Sunday we’ll be going to church with our children."
Over the months that follow, Sarah doesn’t stop nagging. "It’s so difficult for me…I miss shul…shabbes….lighting the candles…kiddush…festivals etc. You know Benjamin, money isn’t everything."
The more she nags him, the worse Benjamin’s conscience bothers him, until finally he’s had enough. He goes back to the ULA President. "I can’t go on like this, sir, my troubles are eating me up inside. Money isn’t everything to me. Neither I nor Sarah can sleep at night. It’s too much for us. I made the wrong decision. We were born Jews and we want to die Jews. If you want me to quit, I’ll go without making a fuss."
The president looks at him in amazement and says, "Listen Benjamin, I had no idea it was so tough for you. I thought switching religions would be simple. But you are doing an excellent job here and I don’t want to loose you. Stay here and you can be as Jewish as you want - I’ll take care of the directors."
Benjamin goes home to Sarah feeling absolutely great. "Our troubles are over at last, darling," he says to her, "I’ve spoken to the President and he’s letting me keep my job and he said we can go back to being Jewish immediately."
Sarah looks at him with anger in her eyes. "Tell me, are you stupid or what?"
Benjamin is shocked. "But I thought that was what you wanted all along, to be Jewish once more. Don’t you want to go back to being Jewish?"
Sarah looks very upset and replies, "Of course I do, but now, just 2 weeks before Pesach?"
(#1516) The Passover test
Sean is waiting for a bus when another man joins him at the bus stop. After 20 minutes of waiting, Sean takes out a sandwich from his lunch box and starts to eat. But noticing the other man watching, Sean asks, "Would you like one? My wife has made me plenty."
"Thank you very much, but I must decline your kind offer," says the other man, "I’m Rabbi Levy."
"Nice to meet you, Rabbi," says Sean, "but my sandwiches are alright for you to eat. They only contain cheese. There’s no meat in them."
"It’s very kind of you," says Rabbi Levy, "but today we Jews are celebrating Passover. It would be a great sin to eat a sandwich because during the 8 days of Passover, we cannot eat bread. In fact it would be a sin comparable to the sin of adultery."
"OK," says Sean, "but it’s difficult for me to understand the significance of what you’ve just said."
Many weeks later, Sean and Rabbi Levy meet again. Sean says, "Do you remember, Rabbi, that when we last met, I offered you a sandwich which you refused because you said eating bread on Passover would be as great a sin as that of adultery?"
Rabbi Levy replies, "Yes, I remember saying that."
"Well, Rabbi," says Sean, "that day, I went over to my mistress’s apartment and told her what you said. We then tried out both the sins, but I must admit, we just couldn’t see the comparison."
(#515) Pharaoh in need of counselling?
At Passover, we read the story of Moses and how God brought 9 plagues onto the Pharaoh and the Egyptians. And we read that because the Pharaoh was stubborn and still wouldn’t let the Jews leave Egypt, God had to unleash Plague number 10, despite his previous warning. This was the death of the first-born of every Egyptian family. Only then, after this greatest of terrors, did the Pharaoh release the Jews from slavery and let them leave Egypt to journey to the Promised Land.
But in the face of such convincing evidence that something really bad would happen, why didn’t the Pharaoh release the Jews after the first nine plagues? It took years of research by leading Israeli scholars studying the Dead Sea Scrolls to find the answer. “The Pharaoh was still in deNile”.
(#896) You know your mother is Jewish
She does all her Pesach shopping for next Pesach as soon as Passover ends – because she can buy the essential items at sale prices.
(#120) The designer
Bernie decided he wanted to be an aeronautical engineer and build airplanes. He studied hard, went to the best schools, and finally got his degree. It didn't take long before he gained a reputation as the finest aeronautical engineer in all the land, so he decided to start his own company to build jets.
His company was such a hit that the President of Israel called Bernie into his office. "I want to commission your company to build an advanced Israeli jet fighter.
Needless to say, Bernie was tremendously excited at this prospect. The entire resources of his company went into building the most advanced jet fighter in history. Everything looked terrific on paper, but when they held the first test flight of the new jet, disaster struck. The wings couldn't take the strain--they broke clean off of the fuselage! (The test pilot parachuted to safety, thank God.)
Bernie was devastated; his company redesigned the jet fighter, but the same thing happened at the next test flight--the wings broke off. Very worried, Bernie went to his shul to pray, to ask God where he had gone wrong. The rabbi saw Bernie's sadness, and asked him what was wrong. Bernie decided to pour his heart out to the rabbi. After hearing the problem, the rabbi put his hand on Bernie's shoulder and told him, "Listen, I know how to solve your problem. All you have to do is drill a row of holes directly above and below where the wing meets the fuselage. If you do this, I absolutely guarantee the wings won't fall off."
Bernie smiled and thanked the rabbi for his advice...but the more he thought about it, the more he realised he had nothing to lose. So Bernie did exactly what the rabbi told him to do. On the next design of the jet fighter, they drilled a row of holes directly above and below where the wings met the fuselage. And it worked! The next test flight went perfectly!
Brimming with joy, Bernie went to tell the rabbi that his advice had worked. "Naturally," said the rabbi, "I never doubted it would." "But Rabbi, how did you know that drilling the holes would prevent the wings from falling off?"
"Bernie," the rabbi intoned, "I'm an old man. I've lived for many, many years and I've celebrated Passover many, many times. And in all those years, not once--NOT ONCE--has the matzah broken on the perforation!"
(#1053) What’s in a name?
Benny was talking to his best friend Sam. "Don’t tell anyone, Sam, but mine Sadie once again had a headache last night."
"Really?" said Sam.
"Yes," replied Benny, "it’s been like this for some weeks now and I’ve been thinking that they must have named a Jewish holiday after my sex life."
"Which one?" Sam asked.
(#17) Seder warning.
Medical experts from London have published a paper that concludes that Seder participants should not eat both chopped liver and choroses.
Their research shows that if they do, it can lead to Charoses of the Liver.
(#28) The phone call.
Morris calls his son in New York. "Benny, I have something to tell you. However, I don't want to discuss it. I'm merely telling you because you're my oldest child, and I thought you ought to know. I've made up my mind, I'm divorcing your mother."
The son is shocked, and asks his father to tell him what happened.
"I don't want to get into it. My mind is made up."
"But Dad, you just can't decide to divorce Mum just like that after 54 years together. What happened?"
"It's too painful to talk about it. I only called because you're my son, and I thought you should know. I really don't want to get into it anymore than this. You can call your sister and tell her. It will spare me the pain."
"But where's Mum? Can I talk to her?"
"No, I don't want you to say anything to her about it. I haven't told her yet. Believe me it hasn't been easy. I've agonised over it for several days, and I've finally come to a decision. I have an appointment with my Edgware lawyer the day after tomorrow."
"Dad, don't do anything rash. I'm going to take the first flight to London. Promise me that you won't do anything until I get there."
"Well, all right, I promise. Next week is Passover. I'll hold off seeing the lawyer until after the Seder. Call your sister in New Jersey and break the news to her. I just can't bear to talk about it anymore."
A half hour later, Morris receives a call from his daughter who tells him that she and her brother were able to get tickets and that they and the children will be arriving at Heathrow the day after tomorrow.
"Benny told me that you don't want to talk about it on the telephone, but promise me that you won't do anything until we both get there."
After hanging up from his daughter, Morris turns to his wife and says, "Well, it worked this time, they’re coming for Seder night, but we are going to have to come up with a new idea to get them here Rosh Hashanah."
(#1104) A fishy story
As Moses and the children of Israel were crossing the Red Sea, the children of Israel began to complain that they were very thirsty after walking so far. They couldn’t even drink from the walls of water on either side of them because they were made up of salt-water.
Whilst Moses was looking around for some fresh water, a fish from the wall of water told him that he and his friends were willing to help. They would use their gills to remove the salt from the water and force it out of their mouths like a freshwater fountain for the Israelites to drink from as they walked by.
Moses accepted this kindly fish's offer with gratitude, but the fish said there was a condition. The children of Israel and their descendants always had to be present at the Seder meal that would be established to commemorate the Exodus, since they had a part in the story.
When Moses agreed to this, he gave the fish their name, which remains how they are known to this very day, for he said to them, "Go Filter Fish!"
(#1643) The false teeth
Moshe has been living in Poland all his life, but just before the 2nd World War, he sees big trouble coming. So he sells all his assets, converts them into gold and then melts down the gold to have five sets of false teeth made for him. He flees Poland and after much travelling, arrives at Ellis Island, New York, where he is interrogated by an immigration official who also goes through the contents of his battered suitcase.
When the official sees the 5 sets of false teeth, he asks Moshe why he has so many. Moshe replies, "As you might know, we orthodox Jews have two separate sets of dishes, one for meat and one for dairy products. However, I’m so kosher and religious that I also need to have separate sets of teeth."
The official is confused. "Well that accounts for two sets of teeth. What are the other three for?"
"Well," Moshe replies, "we ultra-Orthodox Jews also use separate dishes for Passover and I’m so observant that I need two sets of Passover teeth to go with the dishes, one for meat and one for dairy food."
The official is still confused. "You've convinced me that you're a highly religious man and I accept that you therefore need four sets of teeth. But what about the fifth set?"
"Well, to tell you the truth, mister official," replies Moshe, "every once in a while I like to eat a ham and cheese sandwich."
(#475) Seder Pickup Lines
(#710) Seder song number 1 – There’s
no Seder like our Seder
(sung to the tune of "There's no Business like Show business")
There's no seder like our seder,
There's no seder I know.
Everything about it is halachic
Nothing that the Torah won't allow.
Listen how we read the whole Haggadah
It's all in Hebrew
'Cause we know how.
There's no Seder like our seder,
We tell a tale that is swell.
Moses took the people out into the heat
They baked the matzah
While on their feet
Now isn't that a story
That just can't be beat?
Let's go on with the show!
(#711) Seder song number 2 - Elijah
(sung to the tune of "Maria")
I just saw the prophet Elijah.
And suddenly that name
Will never sound the same to me.
He came to our seder
He had his cup of wine,
But could not stay to dine
For your message all Jews are waiting:
That the time's come for peace
and not hating--
Next year we'll be waiting.
(#712) Seder song number 3 - Just a
Tad of Charoset
(sung to the tune of "Just a spoon full of sugar")
Just a tad of Charoset helps the bitter herbs go down,
The bitter herbs go down, the bitter herbs go down.
Just a tad of Charoset helps the bitter herbs go down,
In the most disguising way.
(#713) Seder song number 4 – These are
a few of our Passover Things
(sung to the tune of "These are a few of my favourite things")
Cleaning and cooking and so many dishes
Out with the chametz, no pasta, no knishes
Fish that's gefillted, horseradish that stings
These are a few of our Passover things.
Matzoh and karpas and chopped up charoset
Shankbones and kiddish and yiddish neuroses
Tante who kvetches and uncle who sings
These are a few of our Passover things.
Motzi and maror and trouble with Pharoahs
Famines and locusts and slaves with wheelbarrows
Matzoh balls floating and eggshell that cling
These are a few of our Passover things.
When the plagues strike
When the lice bite
When we're feeling sad
We simply remember our Passover things
And then we don't feel so bad.
(#C052) Festival joke-3
"Mummy," says Sarah, "do you know that road they’ve built over Golders Green?"
"Yes," replies her mum.
"Well," says Sarah, "do you know what name my friends have given it?"
"No, what are they calling it?" asks her mum.
"The Passover," replies Sarah.
SOME NAUGHTIER JOKES
(XXX#167) At the
Miriam goes into a tattoo parlour in Tel Aviv and says to the artist on duty, "I’d like the words ‘Happy Purim’ tattooed on my right thigh please, just below my bikini line."
"Of course, madam," he says, "anything else?"
"Yes," replies Miriam, "put a picture of a hamentash underneath the words."
"No problem," he says, "will that be all?"
"No," replies Miriam. "On my other thigh, also just below my bikini line, I’d like the words, ‘Happy Pesach’ with a picture of a matzo underneath the words."
So the artist gets going and some time later completes his work of art. The tattoos look great. As Miriam is getting dressed, he says to her, "I don’t mean to pry, but why did you want such unusual tattoos on your thighs?"
"Because I'm fed up with my husband always complaining that there's nothing good to eat between Purim and Pesach," she replies.
a pastry stuffed with poppy seed (or prune), usually eaten at Purim
Purim: a Jewish festival
Pesach: a Jewish festival
Moishe took his Passover lunch to eat outside in the park. He sat down on a bench and began eating.
A little while later a blind man came and sat down next to him. Feeling neighbourly, Moishe passed a sheet of matzo to the blind man. The blind man handled the matzo for a few minutes, looked puzzled, and finally exclaimed, "Who wrote this shit?"
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