Thursday, June 5, 2008

Teenage Polygamy and Jews: Why Bar Mitzvahs are so boring in the 21st Century

Well folks, it's that time of the week again, when I can't think of anything too interesting to write and instead I present to you Random Halachos! Woohoo! Once again these will be mainly coming from Sefer Taamei Minhagim which is not only a seriously cool book but is also sitting on my lap, ready to serve all the loyal TRS readers once again.
Have you ever wondered why there wasn't any punctuation or vowels in the Torah? The answer is that Judaism demands that all boys seeking to become men must go through a horrific ordeal, and the best way to accomplish this is with forcing them to read an ancient text without any vowels or punctuation. Back in the day, the law was that a boy had to slaughter thirteen cows in a single hour, but about 1000 years ago, PETA's predecessor, LUETP (Liars for the UnEthical Treatment of People) came on the scene and demanded that this ritual be stopped. They claimed that it was A. Not very nice, and B. No one was giving them any steak. The Rabbis, for the first and only time, capitulated to the group, and decided to come up with an appropriate substitute. Rabbeinu Gershom, leader of the Jews at that time, at first wanted to mandate polygamy, figuring that anyone who could deal with two wives could certainly deal with all other demands placed on Jewish men. A trial run of one hundred (Couples? Triples?) "Marital Units" worked well for about six weeks, but then everyone started reading everyone else's mail and the boys in the trial decided to divorce all the wives and start over from scratch. Unfortunately for the males, the females weren't too happy with these arrangements, and all 300 people eventually converted to Catholicism. In order to make sure that these things never happened again, Rabbeinu Gershom forbade A. Polygamy, B. Reading someone else's mail, C. Divorcing a women without consent, and D. He changed the rules relating to apostates.
After this experiment went wrong the Rabbis figured that they might as well go back to the old way of doing things. LUETP again jumped in, and declared that they wouldn't stand for a renewal of the age old laws, seeing as they still weren't getting any steak, and anyway, how much talent did it take to slaughter thirteen cows in one hour? The Rabbis next came up with the idea that every boy should be given a little dog to love and protect, but LUETP was still not happy. After all, how many steaks can you get off a little dog?
At this point the Rabbis were getting desperate, and one of them came up with a truly inspired plan. He theorized that since the whole problem was a bunch of environmental crackheads with brains the size of bread and butter pickles, they should just switch the Jewish standard to dill, or even sour, and then everything would be all right. This was done, and for a while everything was truly all right, the boys slaughtering their cows and the LUETP trying emergency pickle-alteration surgery without success.
All was well for several years, and then, once again, disaster struck. The LUETP, having finally given up on becoming sour pickle-brain sized, began to inform on the Jews to the government. The government collected evidence for nearly two years, and then struck, catching over a thousand boys performing the ancient ceremony at a mass Bar-Mitzvah celebration in Paris. The event had been organized for survivors of the deadly Prussia mushroom affair, which had spread disease and sickness throughout Germany with its vast clouds of mushrooms choking the very life of Berliners and Frankfurters in all corners of the land.
After the government arrested the many participants they tried to, in a cruel twist of fate, feed the boys hamburgers and jelly doughnuts, but the boys preferred death to such inhuman treatment and were therefore shipped off to Manchester, England.
The government raid, carried out by the DRY ICE (Dogged and Ragged Yentas In Elegant [they were French, and didn't know how acronyms work] Clothes) netted well over 13,000 cows, but they were all useless for steak-eating purposes; no one, to this day, knows why.
The Rabbis were once again thrown upon their own resources to come up with an idea. The dead cows had been returned to the community which had paid for them, and the Rabbis figured that they might as well use the hides for something useful. They wrote the Torah on them, and started to teach all the boys who were left. None of these boys knew how to read, and the Rabbis finally made the decision that the new regime was going to include mandatory Torah-reading/torture as part of its Bar Mitzvah preparation schedule. Some complained that this was too easy, and so thank you letter writing was also legislated, though this custom has been to disappear among the more conservative Jews.

Good answer, no? The real answer, of course, is that the Torah has no signs of any kind in order to allow multiple interpretation. If the words had vowels, then there could only be one meaning, but this way, everyone gets to make up their own shtuff. Well, kind of. Anyway, I like my answer better.

7 comments:

Nemo said...

G-d, I just can't take any of the stuff you write seriously anymore now that I know what you look like.

The Real Shliach said...

First of all, this wasn't supposed to be serious, and secondly, what does my panim have to do with anything?

Eliezer said...

Was anything from the Rabeinu Gershom part of the post factual?

The Real Shliach said...

Those four Takanos are his, plus his son converted to Catholicism.

Nemo said...

Serves him right for messing up the whole polygamy thing.

The Real Shliach said...

That's a rather harsh statement about the founder of Ashkenazic Judaism.

cheerio said...

following in the ancient tradition of making up shtuff, i see!