Humor for the Jewish New Year

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High Holiday Humor (and good wishes)

It's a good thing it's not a sin to laugh...or Yom Kippur would have to be a week-long holiday for some of us. Best wishes.


Let us bow our heads and say a special prayer for Yom Kippur. "With the yearly variation between the Jewish calendar and the Gregorian (Western) calendar, let's be grateful that Thanksgiving doesn't happen at the same time as Yom Kippur."


Yom Kippur had just finished, the fast was broken, and the Rebbetzin (Rabbi's wife) dropped into an easy chair saying, "Oy! Am I ever tired!"

The Rabbi looked over at her and said, "During these High Holy Days, I had to conduct 5 special services go without food or drink and give a total of five sermons. Why are YOU so tired?"

"My dearest," she replied, "I too had to fast and sit through all that. But in addition, every minute I had to sit in the front row, beam with pride and pretend to be impressed!"


In a Conservative shul there once was a Congregation President who was a nice businessman but Jewishly, well, he was "ritually-challenged." On Rosh Hashanah the Rabbi offered him an aliyah. The President said, "As you know, I'm not very observant and I wouldn't want to take the honor from someone else."

The Rabbi responded, "You're the President, everyone wants to see you honored."

Panic-stricken, the President said "No no, no, I can't read the Hebrew blessings, I'll embarrass myself."

The Rabbi said: "As President, you HAVE to take at least this honor!"

The President thought and then he said, "Isn't there anything where I don't have to talk?"

The Rabbi thought for a minute and suggested "How about Gelilah?"

"What's Gelilah?" said the President?

"Simple," replied the Rabbi, "you just come up after the Torah is lifted, and when the cover is put on, you put on the breastplate and the crown and then sit down. You can't possibly go wrong."

Relieved, the President accepted the honor.

And so, right after hagbah, the President came up, put on the breastplate and the crown, and went back to his seat.

The Rabbi came running over and said "NOT ON YOU, put the breastplate and the crown on the TORAH, on the TORAH!!"


As Yom Kippur approached, Schmuel, the town banker was pondering his mortality so he went to the he went to the Rabbi.

The Rabbi said, "Schmuel, we haven't seen you here since your Bar Mitzvah. What can I do for you?"

Schmuel replied, "I'm getting on in years. I haven't been a perfect or even devout Jew. Now I'm wondering if I will be written into the book of life."

The Rabbi thought a moment and then said, "Well, what good deeds have you done?"

"Well," said Schmuel, "I charged the widow only 20% interest on her mortgage instead of my usual 25%."

"Go on" said the Rabbi.

"Another good deed: when she couldn't make the mortgage payments, I did give her an extra 3 days before foreclosing and evicting her and her 5 children. That was good, right?"

Keeping his composure, the Rabbi tried another approach. "Being written into The Book of Life is not an exact science. But perhaps charitable donations would be taken into account. What donations have you made?"

"Yes, just last year I sent a $2 dollar donation to the shul building fund, does that count?"

The Rabbi winced but patiently said, "Well, it's the total donations over a lifetime that counts. Any other donations?

Schmuel knitted his brow as he thought and thought. "OK, Wait Wait! There's more! 20 years ago I gave the shul's Hadassah a $3 donation."

Upon hearing this, the Rabbi stroked his beard while he carefully weighed Schmuel's overall history.

"Well," said the Rabbi, "As you said earlier, you haven't led a perfect life. But, it's really not for me to judge whether or not you will be written in the Book of Life." Quietly taking something out of his desk drawer, the Rabbi continued. "Let me just say this from my own point of view: 'Here's your five bucks back. Go to hell.'"


Near the end of a rather long Rosh Hashanah service the Rabbi was recounting the saga of Joshua at Jericho. To engage the congregation in dialogue, he departed from his sermon and asked, "What do you think the people of Jericho said when they heard the strange and mighty blast of the Shofar for the first time?"

After a few seconds, someone in the congregation responded, "I think they were afraid and troubled, never having heard such a sound before. They probably said 'What is that sound and where does it come from?'"

"No," said the rabbi, "I was thinking of something more profound."

A second person said, "They might have sensed the divinity in that strange sound and responded 'We tremble because it is the very sound of G-d calling us to justice.'"

"Perhaps," said the rabbi, and enjoined the congregation to give it more thought.

So a third congregant offered, "Keep it down, people here are trying to sleep!"

The Rabbi looked up at the last remark and said, "I don't think the people of Jericho said that about the sounds of the Shofar."

The last congregant said, "I don't think so either. I was talking about your sermon."


[the quintessential Rosh Hashana joke]

Sam wasn’t a very observant Jew. So on Rosh Hashana when his Aunt Minnie dispatched him to the synagogue to deliver an important message, they wouldn't let him in.

“You gotta have a ticket,” whispered the usher.

Sam said, "Look, I just want to give a message to my Uncle Morris in there."

The guy at the door whispered hoarsely, "Sorry, you got to have a ticket, or absolutely no admittance."

Sam said, “It’s urgent, please let me in for just a moment.”

“What could be so urgent?” asked the usher who had heard plenty of excuses in his lifetime.

“It’s Morris’s sister Sophie. She’s in the hospital with a broken him and she’s calling for him,” pleased Sam. "Just let me in for one minute, then I'll be right out."

"Alright, you can go in for a moment," said usher sternly, "but absolutely NO PRAYING!"


[not for Rosh Hashana, but a good joke anyway]

At the end of the tax year, the IRS office sent an inspector to audit the books of a local hospital. While the IRS agent was checking the books he turned to the CFO of the hospital and said, “I notice you buy a lot of bandages. What do you do with the end of the roll when there’s too little left to be of any use?”

”Good question,” noted the CFO. “We save them up and send them back to the bandage company and every now and then they send us a free box of bandages.”

“Oh,” replied the auditor, somewhat disappointed that his unusual question had a practical answer. But on he went, in his obnoxious way.

“What about all these plaster purchases? What do you do with what’s left over after setting a cast on a patient?”

“Ah, yes,” replied the CFO, realizing that the inspector was trying to trap him with an unanswerable question . “We save it and send it back to the manufacturer, and every now and then they send us a free package of plaster.”

“I see,” replied the auditor, thinking hard about how he could fluster the know-it-all CFO. “Well,” he went on, “What do you do with all the leftover foreskins from the circumcisions you perform?”

“Here, too, we do not waste,” answered the CFO. “What we do is save all the little foreskins and send them to the IRS Office, and about once a year they send us a complete schm*k.”


from the  2015 Editions of the Jewish Magazine

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