The New Shul
The Jews of Chelm decided to build a new shul. They were going to need a lot of wood for the construction. Luckily, there was a large forest located on a hill just outside of town. A number of Chelmites went out to the forest the next day and started cutting down trees. They soon had enough to build the new synagogue.
To transport the wood to town, they split into teams of four. Each team carried one tree down the hill and back to town. Just as they arrived with the very last tree, a stranger visiting town asked, "Why didn't you just roll the trees down the hill?" The mayor of Chelm hit himself in the forehead and said, "Of course! Why didn't we think of that?!" He then ordered all the workers to carry the trees back up the hill and roll them down.
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Butt of the Joke
Schmulik from Chelm visited another town. A local man asked him: "How many cookies can you eat on an empty stomach?" Schmulik replied, "Oh, about five..." The local guy replied, "No, you're wrong! You can only eat one. After that you stomach's not empty any more!!"
Schmulik returned to Chelm and asked Moysheh, "How many cookies can you eat on an empty stomach?" Moysheh answered, "Two." Schmulik told him, "Too bad. If you had said, 'five', I would have had a great joke for you!"
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The Talmid of Chelm
The rabbi of Chelm and one of his talmidim were spending the night at the inn. The student asked the servant to wake him at dawn because he was to take an early train. The servant did so. Not wishing to wake the rabbi, the student groped in the dark for his clothes and, in his haste, he put on the long rabbinical gabardine. He hurried to the station, and, as he entered the train, he was struck dumb with amazement as he looked at himself in the compartment mirror.
"What an idiot that servant is!" he cried angrily. "I asked him to wake me, instead he went and woke the rabbi!"
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A Carpenter of Chelm
A carpenter in Chelm is fixing the roof, but as he works, he throws away about half the nails. The mayor is passing by, and asks him why he's wasting so many nails. The carpenter answers, "I take a nail out of the bag, and if it's facing the roof, I use it; if it's facing away, I know it's defective and throw it away."
The mayor tells him, "You fool! Those are for the other side!!"
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The Ecumenical Golf Match
The Pope met with his cardinals to discuss a proposal from the Prime Minister of Israel. "Your Holiness," said one of the Cardinals, "The Prime Minister wants to challenge you to a game of golf to show the friendship and ecumenical spirit shared by the Jewish and Catholic faiths."
The Pope thought it was a good idea, but he had never held a golf club in his hand. "Don't we have a cardinal to represent me?" he asked.
"None that plays golf very well," a cardinal replied. "But," he added, "there is a man named Jack Nicklaus, an American golfer who is a devout Catholic. We can offer to make him a Cardinal; then ask him to play as your personal representative. In addition to showing our spirit of cooperation, we'll also win the match." Everyone agreed it was a good idea. The call was made. Of course, Nicklaus was honored and agreed to play.
The day after the match, Nicklaus reported to the Vatican to inform the Pope of the result. "I have some good news and some bad news, Your Holiness," said the golfer.
"Tell me the good news first, Cardinal Nicklaus," said the Pope.
"Well, your Holiness, I don't like to brag, but even though I've played some pretty terrific rounds of golf in my life, this was the best I have ever played, by far. I must have been inspired from above. My drives were long and true, my irons were accurate and purposeful and my putting was perfect. With all due respect, my play was truly miraculous."
"There's bad news?" the Pope asked.
"Yes," Nicklaus sighed. "I lost to Rabbi Tiger Woods by three strokes."
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How to be a Cohen
Manny Schwartz approached the rabbi of his synagogue and said to him, "Rabbi, please make me a Cohen."
The rabbi, taken aback, tells Manny that it is impossible!
Manny offers the rabbi $10,000, but the rabbi won't budge. He offers $50,000...then $100,000. Finally, the rabbi, reluctantly, gives in. He teaches Manny Torah. He teaches him Talmud. After six months of classes, the rabbi tells Manny, "Okay. Now you can be a Cohen."
The next Shabbat, Manny is called up for the first aliyah in the Torah reading. He goes up, with a big smile on his face, says the brachot, and afterwards returns to his seat.
But the rabbi is still troubled and a little curious. He approaches Manny the next day and asks him why it was so important to him to be a Cohen. Manny answers, "Rabbi, my father was a Cohen; my grandfather was a Cohen. I wanted to be a Cohen, too!"
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You bring the Bagels
This Jewish couple won 20 million in the lottery. They immediately went out to begin a life of living in luxury. They bought a luxurious mansion estate in South Hampton and surrounded themselves with all the material wealth imaginable.
They then decided to hire a butler and they went to London, England. They found the perfect butler and brought him back to the U.S.. On the next day, they instructed the butler to set up the dining room table for four, that they were inviting their friends the Cohens over for dinner, and they will be going out for the day.
When the couple returned that evening they found the table set for eight.
They asked the butler why eight when they specifically instructed him to set the table for four?
The butler replied: "The Cohens called and said that they were bringing the Bagels and the Bialys."
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Some Jewish Grammar Rules
- Phrase statements as questions. Instead of telling Ida she looks gorgeous, ask her, "How stunning do you have to look?"
- Instead of answering questions definitely, answer with another question. When someone asks how you feel, answer, "How should I feel?"
- Whenever possible, end questions with "or what?" This allows the other person to interject another question: "Has she grown up, or what?"; "Can you remember when she was just a baby, or what?" (About now, a spontaneous rendition of "Sunrise, Sunset" should be expected.)
- Begin questions with "What?" Example: "What, my cooking is not good enough for you?"
- Drop last word in sentence (which is typically a direct or indirect object): "What, do you want to get killed going alone? Harry will go with" (drop "you").
- Move subject to end of sentences: "Is she getting heavy, that Esther?"
- Use "that" as a modifier to infer contempt: "Is Esther still dating that Norman fellow?"
- Use "lovely" to describe actions taken by someone else that the listener should have done too: "We got a lovely note from the Goldman's for hosting the Seder." (Translation: "What, you didn't eat and drink too, at my Seder? You slob, you didn't send a thank you note!")
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Aliyah: (n) (Hebrew) (f.; pl. "Aliyot"); going up, rising; in location or in personal qualities; as in "Aliyah l'Eretz Yisrael," "Going up to live in the Land of Israel" or "Aliyah La'Torah," "Going up to make a blessing on the Torah."
Bialy: (n) (Yiddish) Named for the Polish city of Bialystok, the 'bialy' of Jewish-Americans is descended from the 'kuchen' of Bialystok, Poland. A Bialy is a fairly large (about 6 inches across) chewy round yeast roll. Somewhat similar to a bagel, it has a depression rather than a hole in the center, and is sprinkled with chopped sauteed onion before baking.
Bracha: (n) (Hebrew) (pl. brachot); a blessing given by one to another: G-d to Man, Man to Man, or Man to G-d. Two basic types within the latter category are "Birchot HaMitzvot," blessings said to G-d basically in gratitude for the privilege of being given a commandment of His to perform; for example, "Blessed are You, O L-rd our G-d, Who has sanctified us with His commandments, and has commanded us to hear the sound of the Shofar," and "Birchot HaNehenin," blessings given by Man to G-d before partaking of one of the wonderful things that HaShem has put into Creation, such as bread. The example would be "Blessed are You, O L-rd our G-d, Who brings forth bread from the earth."
Chelm: (n) (Yiddish) A town in Poland, reputed in Jewish humor to have a very dense population. There are many hilarious stories about the Chelmites and their antics. Some of these jokes doubtless were to offset the suffering many Jews experienced at the hands of the goyim.
Cohen: (n) (Hebrew) (alt. "Kohen") - (pl. "Kohanim" or "Cohanim") - Priest; Judaism is not a classless society; rather, there are three "classes" within the structure of Jewish society: Kohen, Levi and Yisrael. The Kohen is a descendant of Aaron, the High Priest, the brother of Moshe. His task is to work in the Temple, be involved with the offering of sacrifices, and with Blessing the Congregation of Israel. The Priest holds the highest status in the People of Israel, thus he is called up to the Torah first, and has first rights in leading the "Zimun" before the Birchat HaMazon. Since he did not participate in the "Goral," or Lottery, which divided the Land of Israel, he is the recipient of certain parts of some of the sacrifices, and of various "Matnot Kehunah," "Obligatory Presents to the Priests,' such as Terumah. The Kohanim are a subset of the Tribe of Levi. Thus, every Kohen is a Levi, but not every Levi is a Kohen.
Kiddish: (n) (Hebrew) Prayer recited at the beginning of a festive meal on the Shabbat or the Holidays.
Shabbat: (n) (Hebrew) The holy day of rest, 7th day of the week. No "work" (or even discussion of work) may be performed on Shabbat for Shomer Shabbat Jews.
Shul: (n) (Yiddish) Synagogue.
Talmid: (n/masc.) (Hebrew) Student; pupil; disciple (plural: talmidim). "Talmid Chacham" - (m.; pl. "Talmidei Chachamim"); a Torah scholar; as in "HaRav hayah Talmid Chacham," "The Rabbi was a Torah scholar.
Talmud: (n) (Hebrew) Repository of "Oral Law" of Judaism; consists of Mishnah and Gemara. There exist two versions: the Babylonian, or "Bavli" (this is the most frequently used version) and the Jerusalem, or "Yerushalmi." It is similar to an encyclopedia, but with by no means as strict a structure. It consists of sixty three "Masechtot," or volumes, such as "Berachot," or "Blessings and Prayers," and "Sanhedrin," or "The Jewish Supreme Court," etc. It was written/compiled by Rav Ashi and his colleagues ca. 500 C.E., preserving generations of analysis and discussion by "Amoraim" of the more concise Mishnah, which contains the discussions of the "Tannaim". It also contains extra-legal and anecdotal material relating to all aspects of life. It is similar, in breadth and organization and random-access type memory organization, to the Internet and worldwide web, but is far deeper and qualitatively not comparable. It is referred to as the "Sea of the Talmud."
Torah: (n) (Hebrew) (f.; pl. "Torot"); literally, the "Teaching;" the "Constitution" of Judaism and the Jewish People, given to them by G-d at Mt. Sinai, some thirty three hundred years ago. This belief, that the Ten Commandments, the "Aseret HaDibrot," which are the bare outline, as well as the entire text of the "Five Books of Moses" and their explanation, are of Divine Origin, is known as "Torah min HaShamayim;" literally, the Torah comes from Heaven. It is one of the Fundamental Beliefs of Judaism.
Some Jews think that the Torah consists of two components: the Written Torah and the Oral Torah. The Written Torah consists of two hundred forty eight Laws of Positive Action ("Mitzvot Aseh") - the "Do's" - and three hundred sixty five Prohibited Activities ("Mitzvot Lo Taaseh") - the "Don'ts". The root word "Aseh" means "to Do."
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Disclaimer / Note: All the jokes listed here are understood to be in the "public domain," unless otherwise noted.... If are the original copyright holder of a joke listed here, please contact me and I will either remove it or provide a link back to your original.