A Treasury of Jewish Humor
Edited by Nathan Ausubel
M. Evans and Company, Inc. (1998), 736 pages
Reviewed by Israel Drazin - July 12, 2010
This magnificent collection of Jewish writings contains much more than jokes. It also has short stories by such famous writers as the Nobel Prize winner S. J. Agnon, Dorothy Parker, S. J. Perlman, Heinrich Heine, Sholom Aleichem, Sholem Asch, I. L. Peretz, Chaim Nachman Bialik, Yehuda Halevi, and many others. There are short stories, poems, excerpts from novels, witty sayings, and a lot more.
Examples of jokes are:
Ma, can I wash my hair with kerosene and put on my sky-blue dress and go to the library? All right, darling, and see that you get yourself a young man, like the rest of the girls: it's about time.
A disciple sought the advice of his rabbi. "I'm poor, rabbi. My wife is sick and my children are hungry." "Go home. God will help you," advised the rabbi. "Thank you, thank you, rabbi!" gushed the poor man gratefully. "I'm sure God will help me! But until He does, would you be good enough to lend me five rubles?"
Examples of witticisms are:
One always brings a good appetite to someone else's feast.
A rich man's daughter is always a beauty.
Some people grow tall by standing on the shoulders of others.
He who has been bitten by a snake will be scared by a piece of rope.
It is the way of a dog that if he is hit by a stone he bites a fellow dog.
An example of good advice:
What is the test of good manners? Being able to bear patiently with bad ones.
Some of the stories are a dozen or even twenty pages long, and they are a delight to read.