Sometimes, The Wheel is on Fire

Sometimes, The Wheel is on Fire

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Putting the Ha! back in Hanukkah!

Welcome to the answer portion of this year's Jew & A! The only questions came from my sister and nephew, so I figured it wouldn't hurt to delay my answers for a week. And I was right: It didn't hurt at all.

However, to make up for the delay — and that (feeble attempt at a) joke — I'll also answer a third question about Judaism. It's almost the least I can do.

My sister Naomi asks:
How can I tell if someone is Jewish? E.g. Is there a special tattoo or handshake or something?
I've previously talked about the horns, but it's hard to justify looking closely at everyone's scalp unless you're a barber or a school nurse during lice season.* So let's talk about other outwardly visual signs. There are three.
  1. The things we carry
    Jews, as everyone knows, are insanely rich. Problem is, we prefer not to be garish about it, so you can't judge based on clothes or jewelry. No, what you want to do is watch people when they're buying things. Specifically, look at their credit card. Our gold cards are made of actual gold. Our platinum cards, platinum. Our francium cards, francium.

    That's right, francium. The element with a half-life of 22 minutes. We keep world-class scientists on retainer just to make us one-use credit cards.

    So get yourself a francium detector. And follow the money.
  2. Guilt by association
    Another option is to look for people who have an air of guilt about them. Now, I don't mean shifty-eyed or suspicious-looking. You're seeking successful individuals whose physical expression and demeanor convey they know that they don't visit/call/spoil their mother enough.

    You might think this describes non-Jews as well, but over time you'll be able to tell the difference. If they show even an ounce of bravado? Not a Jew.
  3. Take me to your leader
    You can also pick Jews out by their behavior. For instance, look for people speaking in front of a group. Specifically, leading a congregation in a religious service inside a synagogue. Find that, and you've found yourself a Jew!
* Not an actual season. The actual seasons are spring, duck, wabbit, and Christmas.

My nephew Solomon asks:
Why does one light the menorah?
It is said one is the loneliest number. Well, the reason it's so lonely is because one is also the greediest, most selfish number. If there's something fun to do, one's not about to let any other number do it. He has to be the first and the best at everything.

In this case, since fire is involved, there's no way anyone else gets near the menorah. One always make sure to grab the match, or the lighter, or the traditional Hanukkah arc welder, and brandishes it as a weapon if another number gets too close. Afterward, he opens up everyone's gifts, destroys all instruments and mp3 players,* and keeps the rest for himself.

That's why one lights the menorah. One's a jerk.

* One especially hates musical numbers.

And here's the bonus question from Kevin (via Facebook):
Who dislikes Yosemite Sam?
At first glance, this question may appear to have nothing to do with Judaism.* Well, prepare to be educated, my friend.

First, you need to know Yosemite Sam's origins. Leading into WWII, hatred for Jews was growing in America, too. And the biggest target was Uncle Sam. (Yes, Uncle Sam is Jewish... why do you think he always wears that hat? The horns, people. It always comes back to the horns.)

Back then, you could tell if someone was Jewish just by seeing if they looked when you said, "Yo, Semite!" So, Friz Freleng created Yo-semite Sam to be the embodiment of hatred and irrational thought, and set him against Bugs Bunny (also Jewish... they're behind the ears).

So, who dislikes Yosemite Sam? People in favor of freedom and equality, that's who. We dislike him not for who he is, but for what he represents. There are millions of us. Are you one?

I hope not. One's a jerk.

* Same with the second and third glances. Also, every subsequent glance.

And that brings the 2018 Jew & A to a close. Same time next year (give or take)?

1 comment:

  1. That one is a jerk. Unless of course, you get to be the one. Then it's awesome.