Sometimes, The Wheel is on Fire

Sometimes, The Wheel is on Fire

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Judge, Jewry, and Answerquestioner

You've got questions, I've got answers. Of course, Hanukkah ended Sunday, so some of the answers won't do you any good till next year. But if you're ready to learn all about Jews and Judaism, just sit back and click over to Wikipedia. Or, you know, stay here, and I'll see what I can do.

Gwyneth Anne Bronwynne Jones asks a trifecta:
I want to get an electric Menorah for our school's TV studio & school that a super cool idea or super tacky?
Oh, it's a super cool idea. I think an electric menorah is the perfect gift, and I hope your TV studio and library have a long and happy marriage.
Which Barenaked Ladies song do you like best? - Hanukkah Blessings or Hanukkah, Oh Hanukkah?
My favorite BnL track is actually "When I Fall," but between those two, I'll pick the second one. I like that they thought the holiday so nice they named it twice.*

* Alright, fine. They didn't name it. But at least they spelled Hanukkah right, unlike Wikipedia.
Have you heard of or like the Maccabeats' Candlelight video? We think it's awesome!
Who is this "we" you're referring to? Is it the royal we? If so, I apologize for not bowing in reverence earlier. Or, are you actually an amalgam of four different people? Sorry, I should answer your question. Yes, Gwyneth, I have heard of the video. And Anne, I do like it. In fact, Bronwynne, I even linked to it at the end of last year's post. Why? Well, Jones, it's because I like to flip my latkes in the air sometimes, that's why.
Mina Lobo asks:
Can you really learn beatboxing at Hebrew school?
Frankly, I didn't know you could learn it outside of Hebrew school. Every week at temple, it was like, "Here's what Moses did. Here's who Abraham was. Now, everyone grab a mike and let's bust this."
Alex J. Cavanaugh asks:
Have you already planned your son's Bar Mitzvah?
Dude, I've had that planned since long before I knew I'd even have a son. You can't leave something like that to chance. The ceremony will be performed by the esteemed Rabbi Shenkel, and there will be laser tag, a piƱata, hoverboards,* and an open (sundae) bar. Also, we'll have a performance by Michael Buble, an area for jousting atop angry llamas, and of course a beatbox karaoke competition.

* What? This will be in 2024, and everyone knows we'll have hoverboards by 2015. So shut your face.
Anthony Stemke asks a slew of questions (wherein "a slew" is six):
What is the proper skullcap etiquette?
It should be worn on the head.*

* Attaching a propeller is optional.
Is there a regulation length for those curled sideburns?
The Torah states that the minimum length of a payot is 1cm for each year of age. But this is only a guideline. The rules regarding the tightness of the spiral, however, are much more stringent: When pulled taut and released, payot must bounce for at least 2 seconds before springing back fully to their original curled position.
How come Einstein Bagels don't sell Bialys? How hard could it be to change the name to Einstein Bagels and Bialys?
They don't sell bialys because bialys remind people of Max Bialystock from The Producers, who raised capital by seducing old ladies. And unfortunately, making people think of lustful old ladies just doesn't sell as many bagels as you might expect.

Besides, it would be very hard to change the name. They'd have to design a new logo, then change every menu, poster, flyer, ad and signage. More than anything, it would be very expensive, and consequently, very un-Jewish.
If I leave my front door open for passover and I am robbed, who is responsible - my local synagogue or local b'nai brith?
No question — your local B'nai Brith.*

* Maybe if you weren't so tight-fisted and donated to the less fortunate once in a while, they wouldn't have to take things into their own hands. Seriously, you make your mother worry.
When Jews marry and wrap a cocktail glass in a knapkin and then crush it, do they re-cycle the knapkin?
What the khell is a knapkin? Anyway, after The Crushening,* the handkerchief (or cloth napkin) is always used by the groom until it needs to be washed. If, whilst blowing his nose, he cuts himself on the tiny shards of glass now embedded in it, it'is seen as a good omen, and represents all he will sacrifice to make the marriage work.

* It's like a christening, only more violent.
Is it illegal to not use farfel in Kasha varnishkes? I have a lot of elbow macaroni in my cupboard. My local grocer don't know from farfel, he only stocks bowties and those black ones are too formal.
You've fallen for one of the classic blunders! Farfel (a pilaf-like pasta) is banned in all varnishkes, and relegated to soups and kugels. Farfalle (a bowtie-like pasta) is the standard addition to all Kasha dishes.* Elbows are not allowed, either, but small shells look like tiny yarmulkes and are thus considered kosher.

* Bowties (a farfalle-like pasta) are also acceptable, but frowned upon. To keep them from blackening, I suggest boiling them instead of roasting them among the charcoal briquettes.
Chuck writes in:
Doesn't the Menorah just increase the fire hazard this time of year?? Just saying...
You're not just saying. You used a question mark — two, in fact — which means you're asking. And thus, I am legally required to answer you... The menorah doesn't just increase the fire hazard. It also increases the hazard of hot dripping wax, the threat of seeing spots from staring too closely at the flames, the envy of every child who only gets to celebrate one or two days of Christmas,* and the excitement of everyone during the traditional game of "spin the menorah."

* Even though there are twelve in the song.
Laura Hughes asks:
I'm not Christian, but I have a Christmas tree in my living room. I'm not Jewish either, but I feel in the sense of fairness I should have something to celebrate Hanukkah, as well. What would you recommend?
A life-size replica of Tevye from Fiddler on the Roof. One with a motion sensor, so every time the cat walks by, he bursts to life and sings out, "TRADITION!" Or, if the replicas are out of stock in your neighborhood, just top off your tree with a nice yarmulke.*

* The yarmulke should have a Star of David on it. After all, it's not a true Christmas tree without a star. (Some may use angel tree-toppers, but we all know that's just a cry for help.)
Hart Johnson asks:
Why are Jewish words so hard to spell?
They're in Hebrew.*

.tfel ot thgir daer er'yeht esuaceb oslA *
My sister Naomi asks:
The most popular Jewish holiday is all about lighting fires. Are all Jews pyromaniacs? Are all pyromaniacs Jews?
No, of course not all Jews are pyromaniacs. What a silly question. Correlation does not imply causation. Jacob Schnitzelstein of Bethesda, MD burnt his hand on a flaming latke as a young lad and is deathly afraid of fire.*

And not all pyros are Jews, not technically. Though they are all Jews at heart. They, too, are misunderstood by much of the world, and when in the darkest situations they cling to a flicker of hope.

* He has his wife burn things for him.

And that'll do it for this session of Jew & A. Until next time, keep flipping those latkes, spinning that gefilte fish, and jousting atop llamas.


  1. Awesome answers, Nate! Got my morning chuckle in. And I'm definitely coming to your son's Bar Mitzvah party.

    1. Excellent! The invitation, by the way, will be a hologram, since I figure we'll have those by then as well. You can expect it in the mail (or perhaps beamed directly to your optical nerve, a practice which I suspect may have replaced the post office by then).

  2. Thanks! I'm sewing a little Tevye costume for one of the nutcrackers in my living room, and playing the Fiddler on the Roof soundtrack. I'll use the leftover fabric to make a yarmulke for the star atop the tree.

    1. Great! Of course, now that you've taken care of two religions, you need to factor in all the others. Next up: a large Chinese dragon scaling the tree, wearing a hijab.

  3. LMAO at the idea of Spin the Menorah. (And cringing at all the flying melted wax, but mostly laughing.) :-D
    Some Dark Romantic

    1. No risk, no reward. (The reward being flying melted wax hitting other people. I'm not above schadenfreude.)

  4. I like that that you say {as|like} my friend thanks

    1. I like that I have no idea what you're trying to say {you're|welcome}