## A few favorite jokes that my grandfather used to tell

### Fish store

The owner of a fish store put up a sign "Fresh Fish Sold Here". A friend of his saw the sign, and said, "You don't need to say 'Here'; would you be selling them somewhere else? And you don't need to say 'Sold'; would you be giving them away? And you don't need to say 'Fresh'; would you be selling rotten fish? And you don't need to say 'Fish'; you can smell them a block away."

### Wealth

A poor Jew was explaining to his son the difference that wealth can make.

"I drink my tea with one lump of sugar. The rich man of the village drinks his tea with two lumps of sugar. Rothschild drinks his tea out of a cup made of pure sugar. The Tsar has two soldiers that attend him constantly. One pours tea into his mouth, the other pours sugar!"

"Another example: I have one shirt, and I wash it once a week. The rich man of the village changes his shirt every day. Rothschild changes his shirt once an hour. The Tsar has two soldiers that attend him constantly. One puts on a shirt, and the other takes it off again!"

### Drunk on a loaf of bread

Two yeshiva bachurim were discussing a paradox. Bread and whiskey are both made of grain. So how is it that if you drink whiskey you get drunk, but when you eat bread you don't get drunk? Perhaps, they thought, it is a question of quantity: if you ate enough bread you would get drunk. So they saved their pennies until they could afford an entire loaf of bread, and one of them sat down to eat it and report on the effects.

When he was half way through the loaf, his friend asked him impatiently, "Well? Are you getting drunk?"

"No," was the answer, "but I feel good."

### Job and his wife

"Job's wife said to him, 'Are you still persisting in your integrity? Curse God and die!' And he answered her, `You speak like one of the fools.' " (Job 2:9-10).

What is going on? Under the circumstances, the advice of Job's wife seems sensible enough. Why does he call her a fool?

The answer is that the disagreement between Job and his wife is that recorded in Baba Batra about whether Job was a real historical person or merely a parable. Job's wife was of the opinion that he was a real person; so he should by curse God and die and put an end to his suffering. Job, however, was of the opinion that he was merely a parable; and how can a parable curse God?

### Tzom Gedaliah

One Jew saw another eating on Tzom Gedaliah and asked why he wasn't fasting. He answered, "In the first place, if Gedaliah had not been killed, would he still be alive? And in the second place, if I had been killed, would Gedaliah fast for me? And in the third place, I don't fast on Yom Kippur, so why would I fast on Tzom Gedaliah?"

### It was an angel

This joke had a sort of chant associated with it, somewhat along the lines of the Yiddish song "A Sudenyu".

A rabbi was teaching his students at yeshiva. A man stuck his head in and said "Tsi tut kravyetz myeshka?" {"Does the tailor live here?" in Polish) and left.

The rabbi said, "That was an angel."

The students asked, "Rabbi, if it was an angel, why did he say `Tsi'?"

The rabbi answered "`Tsi' is 100 in gematria. So he was saying that we should recite 100 blessings a day. But it was an angel."

The students asked, "Rabbi, if it was an angel, why did he say `tut'?"

The rabbi answered "`Tut' is roshei teivot (an acronym) for tallis u'tfilin. So he was saying that we should recite 100 blessings a day, and put on tallis and t'filin. But it was an angel."

The students asked, "Rabbi, if it was an angel, why did he say `kravyetz'?"

The rabbi answered, "`Kravyetz' is roshei teivot for 'Kol rina v'yushua be-ohalei tzadikkim'. So he was saying that if we recite 100 blessings a day, and put on tallis and t'fillin, then there will be kol rina v'yushua be-ohalei tzadikkim. But it was an angel.

The students asked, "Rabbi, if it was an angel, why did he say `myeshka'?"

The rabbi answered, "Do not read 'myeshka' but rather 'mashke'. He was saying that, when we have recited 100 blessings a day, and put on tallis and t'fillin, and there is kol rina v'yushua be-ohalei tzadikkim, then we'll have a little mashke. But it was an angel."

My brother Joey found online a much more authoritative version of the lyrics of this song, at http://mendele.commons.yale.edu/updated/vol04/vol04.418.txt, which I have used to correct my recollection.