Sometimes, The Wheel is on Fire

Sometimes, The Wheel is on Fire

Thursday, December 28, 2017

It's a Jew & A Miracle!

I thought I only had enough gumption to procrastinate one day on my answers, but it turns out I had enough for eight whole days. It’s a Jew & A miracle!

Interestingly, five of the six questions this year are from my own family. I guess I’ve been pretty successful answering all your questions over the years, if it’s just us Jews (and our relatives) questioning our own faith...

Alex J. Cavanaugh asks:
Has your Hanukkah candle ever caught anything on fire?
Absolutely. I wouldn’t be much of a Jew if it hadn’t.

Now, some of you might be confused about the reference to a single Hanukkah candle, when the menorah holds nine. That’s because this is a different candle entirely. You see, when a Jewish child first comes of age (i.e. can first safely hold a lit candle), they get one for their very own. It’s used to burn things.*

* After all, as has previously been established, we’re pyromaniacs.

My sister Naomi asks:
With Yiddish dying (having died?) out as a spoken language, what is going to happen to all of the delightful Yiddish-influenced expressions we enjoy today, such as, "What chutzpah!" and "Oy vey" and "What, you want I should come up with a title?"
First of all, that last expression isn’t Yiddish; it’s Old Jew. There is a difference.

Also, just because no one’s speaking Yiddish near you doesn’t mean it’s dead or dying. It’s just a flesh wound. Yiddish is alive and well in concentrated pockets throughout the world that are nowhere near you.

Nevertheless, when a spoken language dies out, its phrases aren’t lost. I mean, Latin is all over our money and our state flags. And though Egyptian hieroglyphics are no longer spoken, everyone knows the sayings “ankh reeds snake” and “bird water creepy eye bird.” You’re worrying over nothing.*

* Just like a good Jew. L’chaim!


My father Charles asks:
The boxes of Chanukah candles claim to have the correct number of candles for the holiday. Why do we always run out halfway through?
Why do you keep buying Chanukah candles, when what you’re celebrating is Hanukkah? There’s your problem.

Also, you might want to check your grandsons’ pockets.

My 7-year-old nephew Solomon asks:
Why gefilte fish?
I’ll admit this perplexed me for years as well, until I finally came across the answer. It turns out the reason Jews eat gefilte fish is... well, basically, we lost a bet.

It’s too bad, otherwise the goyim would be eating gefilte fish while we feasted upon Christmas ham.

My 4-year-old nephew Norman asks:
Why do guys light the ‘enorah?
Guys light the ‘enorah, girls light the wo’enorah. It’s the way it has always been. Tradition!

And lastly, my brother-in-law Josh asks:
Why are Jewish schools closed on Fridays?
To make you gentiles jealous, of course.

Three day weekends, beeyatch!

And that brings this year’s Jew & A to a close. Now that you have been suitably informed, go forth and share what you have learned. Preferably, in Yiddish. Or hieroglyphics.

Water tchotchke bird tuchis!

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