Purim

Alaska Rabbi

The Color of HeavenArtscroll

Alaska Rabbi


the following are actual questions sent to ohr.edu's "Ask the Rabbi" service and actual replies sent directly to the questioners.

WARNING!! The following questions, answers, or both, are extremely funny. Do not read if you are not physically able to endure uncontrollable spasmodic laughter, or if you are over 95 years old. Do not read while driving a car or operating heavy machinery. Do not read near an open flame or window.

Polish Joke

"Alan" from Lublin, Poland wrote:

Dear Rabbi,

I'm sure You speak Polish. If not ask your father or mother for help: Dlaczego wobec ydów stosowana jest odpowiedzialnośæ indywidualna a wobec innych narodów zbiorowa? Czy dlatego, że nie stali pod gór Synaj i nie oddawali czci zotemu cielcowi?


Dear Alan,

Sorry. Neither I nor my parents speak Polish.


Proper Etiquette

Tova from Kansas City, MO wrote:

Dear Rabbi,

I am a non-Jew. Recently, I was told by a friend of a Jewish custom in which during a visit to another's home for a meal, the dinner napkin is folded in a certain way by the guest at the end of the meal. This supposedly signifies that the guest will return in the future. If not, the napkin will be folded or crumpled in another way. Can you tell me anything about this?


Dear Tova,

No, I can't! It sounds quite interesting, if not a bit bizarre, yet I've never heard of it.

I doubt that it has any Jewish roots. According to tradition, we don't use napkins, but rather wipe our hands on our beards. (Just kidding of course.)


En Garde!

Harry K. wrote:

Dear Rabbi,

What were some popular weapons in Africa during the medieval ages?


Dear Harry K.,

Weapons are never popular. Did you ever throw a party and invite a weapon?


Cup Fardreiht

R. Cudoff from Georgia wrote:

Dear Rabbi,

I am looking for a reading to accompany Miriam's Cup, which I plan to introduce to our Seder this year. Can you direct me to an appropriate reading for this new tradition? And where during the Seder service should we include this reading?


Dear R. Cudoff,

Miriam's cup should be drunk after Zelda's Matzo Balls but before Sara Lee's Pesach Strudel.

Just kidding. The truth is, there is no such "custom." It's wrong to have a symbol at the Passover Seder to commemorate any human. Miriam was one of the leaders during the Exodus, the other two being Aharon and Moshe. Aharon and Moshe are not commemorated at the Seder by any symbol, and similarly it is wrong to have a symbol commemorating Miriam. The Seder is for giving thanks to G-d alone, and not to any human leader, even as great a spiritual giant as Miriam.


I Didn't Live in This Century

Chantelle wrote:

Dear Rabbi,

"Every person is commanded to bring children into the world, at least a son and daughter." How far do you think this should be observed by Jews in the 21st century?


Dear Chantelle,

I'm not sure I understand the direction of your question; What does being in the 21st century have to do with it? Besides, for Jews this isn't the 21st century, it's the 58th century (we're way ahead of everyone else).

As for the Torah applying in our "modern" age: The commandments apply as much (if not more) today as they did on the day the Torah was given over three millennia ago. The Torah is Divine, and G-d knows the future; so, the Torah is unchanging and applies equally in every age as decided by the greatest Torah scholars of the age.


You Need it When?

From: Withheld in Philadelphia, PA

Dear Rabbi,

Shalom! I am a student at Pennsylvania State University and I am doing a project on 20th century Jewish Poets. I am having trouble finding information about a poet or poets that made some kind of contribution to Jewish civilization or culture. Somebody that would be regarded as not only a poet but also a leader. Somebody that would represent the Jewish people and continue publishing poems dealing with Jewish life, religion or family. It would be really great if you can give me some names of 20th century Jewish poets that fit the criteria.

Thank you for your time,

(signature withheld)

PS Would you be so kind as to reply to this as soon as possible; my project is due tomorrow.


No More Joking Around

Yocheved Nitsun wrote:

Dear Rabbi,

I was wondering why there are no jokes anymore at the end of your "Ask the Rabbi" columns. I really liked them!


Dear Yocheved Nitsun,

As a Jew, I must answer your question with a question. What did the mountain climber call his son?

But seriously, either despite or because of their great humor, we decided to tone down the jokes in Ask the Rabbi. However, we are taking your comment very seriously, and if some appropriate jokes come our way, we will hold an administrative policy meeting to decide if we should return to our earlier, funnier format.

So, what did the mountain climber call his son? Cliff!


How Long is a Rabbi's Vacation?

Malky Fontek wrote:

Dear Rabbi,

I enjoy your website very much! But I see it says that "the Rabbi is still on summer vacation." Just wondering, why is the Rabbi still on summer vacation?


Dear Malky Fontek,

Because it's not yet time for spring vacation!


That Does Not Compute

Gianfranco Di Segni from Italy

Dear Rabbi,

Thanks for your personal response to my question. It's good to see that "the Rabbi" is a real person, and not just an anonymous institution! Kol tuv! David Di Segni


Dear David Di Segni,

Yes, it's depressing to get a computerized
get a computerized
get a computerized
get a computerized
response to an email!

All the Best!
All the Best!
All the Best!

The Rabbi


De Agony of De Feet

Sheryl Williams wrote:

Dear Rabbi,

Should we wash feet at Passover? If not when is the proper time?


Dear Sheryl Williams,

Yes, if they are dirty! But seriously, today, we do not observe any feet-washing ritual.


Message in a Mezuza

Norma Kitson wrote:

Dear Rabbi,

In a previous Ask the Rabbi column you answered the question "What is written inside a mezuzah?" And you wrote something about "shema." No! No! Inside the mezuzah is a note reading: "Help! help! I am a prisoner in a mezuzah factory."

Fondly, Norma Kitson


Dear Norma Kitson,

You've got all the Rabbis here laughing. All, that is, except for our chief comedy writer; he kindly requests that you please let him crack the jokes

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