This was a funny joke told over in the Wall Street Journal today:
When Moses was coming down from Har Sinai, he said to the people of Israel, “I have good news and bad news.”
“The good news is I kept him down to ten.”
“The bad news is adultery stays!”
Aside from the joke, the editorial posited why there are so many Jewish comedians–from Jackie Mason to Joan Rivers, and from Jack Benny to Jerry Seinfeld?
But maybe it should’ve asked, why do all the Jewish Comedians names seem to start with a J.
Thinking this through a little more, I realized so many other Jewish comedians out there–Adam Sandler, Ben Stiller, Billy Crystal, Chelsea Handler, Gene Wilder, George Burns, Jack Black, Larry Fine (from the Three Stooges), Mel Brooks, Rodney Dangerfield, Seth Rogen, The Marx Brothers, Woody Allen, and so many more.
So what is it that makes the Jewish people so funny?
Ms. Wisse, the author postulates that maybe it has to do with the dichotomy of the Jewish people being historically chosen to receive the Torah and hopefully serve as good examples of G-d’s law and morality while at the same time “being targeted by some of the world’s most determined aggressors”–Oy vey! and this list is even longer than that of the comedians!
So as Ms. Wisse points out, the Jewish people are on one hand “exalted” by G-d, but attacked by the wicked among nations.
I guess that would give just about anybody a severe complex–where do I find this one in the DSM?
Up, down, rewarded, punished, chosen, reviled–can make anyone’s head spin–maybe that is why we wear Kippot (head coverings)–I was always taught it was to remember that G-d is above us and always watching and guiding us, but maybe it’s also to help us keep our heads on straight with all the mixed messages we get in the world.
People mistake what “chosen” means–they think maybe Jews think they’re better than others, but this is a mischaracterization.
I learned in Yeshiva–that chosen means we have a great burden to bear in fulfilling G-d commandments–when we do it well, things are good, but when we fail, we learn the hard way.
It’s good to be Jewish–and it would be even better, if Jews accepted themselves and each other.
None of us are perfect–some of us are more imperfect than others.
But we are still brothers and sisters.
There is a Torah, but even the most righteous among us, don’t do everything right–is anyone free from sin?
I always believed that religion is our guidepost, but as we are taught “every person is a world unto themselves” and that there is room for all of us to serve Hashem.
We each have to find the spark within and fulfill Hashem’s destiny that he has for each of us–we all have what we can give and we should do it with a pure heart. 😉
(Source Photo: here with attribution to Home Videos)