Wednesday, March 30, 2011


On Yom Kippur one year the services were going swimmingly. So splashy were they (in the Lipa sense) that the Rabbi was sufficiently moved to loudly declare, "Oh G-d, you are so great, and I am nothing!" The entire congregation was duly impressed by their Rabbi's pronouncement, and commenced to pray with renewed concentration and vigor. Seeing the stir that the rabbi had caused, the cantor raised his voice and proclaimed, "Oh L-rd who dwells most high, and I am but dust and ashes!" The entire congregation was once again moved at this great show of piety, and their tears rent the very heavens with their intense sincerity.

The president of the shul was aroused by these two expressions of humility, and when he sensed an appropriate time in the liturgy he lifted up his voice and said, "Almighty G-d, how can I pray to you, I who am less than the most insignificant flea!"

The Rabbi turned to the cantor with a sneer and said, "Look who thinks he's a nothing."
Cute, eh? The question occurred to me, as I thought upon this joke, who would be the funnier third caller, the president of the shul or the gabbai? After all, the president is the boss of the rabbi and the cantor, so naturally there'd be some friction in that direction. Usually, that friction is born of religious matters, and so when the president proclaims his religious devotions there's bound to be cynicism on the part of the religious leaders. Another explanation could be that the president of a synagogue is normally its most prestigious member, and so his religious protestations could be interpreted as a "keeping up with the Joneses" type thingamajiggie.

But then we come to the humble gabbai. Or maybe even the shammes? Both are truly nothings, hounded by administration and congregants alike, the traditional butts of much Jewish humor. In this case, the rabbi and cantor are somethings who proclaim their nothingness, but the nothing? He can't proclaim it, because who does he think he is?

Monday, March 21, 2011

Yes we couldn't

Whoever thought that all that hope and change would end up in nothing?

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Third front

"The time has come,"
the Walrus said,
"To talk of many things:
Of shoes--and ships--and sealing-wax--
Of cabbages--and kings--
And why the sea is boiling hot--
And whether pigs have wings."


The time has come...

Dee & Dum: ...the Walrus said...

Walrus: talk of other things. Of shoes and ships and sealing wax, and cabbages and kings. And why the sea is boiling hot, and whether pigs have wings. Callooh, callay, no work today! We're cabbages and kings! ...