Good OLD Jewish Cooking
Why G-d gave the Jews the Ten Commandments
For Every Action
Halachot of Coffee
Classic Jewish Films
Holiday Distinctions Finally Explained
Rabbi and his wife were cleaning up the house. The Rabbi came across a
box he didn't recognize. His wife told him to leave
it alone, it was personal.
One day she was out and his curiosity got the best of him. He opened the box, and inside he found 3 eggs and $2000. When his wife came home, he admitted that he opened the box, and he asked her to explain the contents to him. She told him that every time he had a bad sermon, she would put an egg in the box.......... He interrupted, "In twenty years, only three bad sermons, that's not bad."
His wife continued...... and every time I got a dozen eggs, I would sell them for $1."
|Halachot of Coffee|
his treatise, HaKafe v'haMitzvot, R. Aaron Schuman writes: It was revealed
at Mount Sinai that Hashem ordained that heat shall flow from hotter regions
to colder. This revelation was preserved as a secret teaching until R Josiah
Gibbowitz (z"l) inscribed it as Hashem's
2nd Commandment of Thermodynamics. There is a little known mitzvah, "Thou
shalt never stir the cream into thy morning coffee; thereby shall you observe
convection currents and remember My second commandment of thermodynamics."
(Since this is a time-bound mitzvah, women are exempt.) The parenthetical
remark seemed incorrect, a little further research uncovers a rich tradition
of Jewish law brewing around this allegedly "secret teaching."
Even if we understand that this mitzvah only applies to coffee drunk in the morning, women are only exempt from mitzvot aseh shehazman grama [time-bound commandments phrased as "thou shalt"], whereas this is a mitzvat lo taaseh [phrased as "thou shalt not"]. Therefore we conclude that women are equally bound to contemplate convection currents. R. Chama bar Karkar argues that this mitzvah is not really time-bound at all. What if one only drinks coffee after supper? The mitzvah applies to kos rishon (the first cup of coffee in each day), whether drunk in the morning, afternoon or evening. Some delay drinking kos rishon until later in the day, when they have more time to observe the swirling patterns at greater length. Do we not pray in the Amida: "v tovotecha shebehol eyt, erev vavoker vatzohoraim" [(we thank you...) for your goodness at all times evening, morning and afternoon]? And is not coffee with cream one of G-d's goodnesses? Therefore our sages maintain that this mitzvah applies to coffee drunk at any time, not only kos rishon. (Halacha follows this opinion.) Once again, women and men are both obligated in this mitzvah. Are Jews, then, commanded to drink coffee? No, but those who do are considered praiseworthy. What of those who do not drink coffee? They are obligated to contemplate the coffee of a friend, and to refrain from stirring it (masechet Shotah, perek Shtayim Shotim B'kos, mishnah kaf-he). May one contemplate the coffee of a non-Jew? Rambam notes that coffee has never been used in avodah zarah [idol worship], so one may contemplate it. The RiTzPa notes that one may not drink it unless it was prepared and served in kosher vessels, but one may contemplate it even in unkosher vessels. Later commentators note that Ashkenazim do not do this, and Sephardim only do it when it will annoy Ashkenazim. May one prepare the coffee, refrain from stirring, yet not drink? Bet Hillel say that such a person is yotze, as long as one observes the convection currents and remembers the 2nd Commandment of Thermodynamics. Bet Shammai say that one must drink as well. (As usual, we follow Bet Hillel.) Rashi comments that although one need not drink the coffee, the coffee must not be wasted, lest we transgress bal tashchit [do not destroy]. What of coffee drunk following a meat meal? Since real cream is forbidden in this circumstance, may one observe the mitzvah with pareve ersatz cream? Rambam says no, since the principle of hiddur mitzvah [beautifying a commandment] demands that we use the tastiest ingredients we can afford, and mocha mix is inferior to authentic cream. Hence we do not serve coffee after meat. (Black coffee does not fulfill the mizvah.) Mishnah Brewrah notes that those who are especially pious refrain from eating meat at any time so that they will always be ready to observe this mitzvah with real cream. So important is real cream that even skim milk is unacceptable (except for those with certain medical conditions). Concerning hiddur mitzvah, the Kos Tam (R. Yuban Chockfullanussen) argues that in addition to fine quality coffee and cream, one must also use fine implements. Not only must the coffee be served in a delicate cup (with a saucer!), but when one refrains from stirring, one must refrain from stirring with a silver spoon. To refrain with a wooden or plastic stick, when a fine spoon was available, shows disrespect for the Torah and brings disgrace on one's family.
One should take care to avoid spilling any coffee on the unused stirring implement, so that nobody will see it and conclude (erroneously) that stirring is permissible. Likewise, although one may first stir sugar into coffee and then refrain from stirring after adding cream, those who are strict do not do this, to avoid wetting the stirrer. Neither may one stir the coffee first, and then pour in cream while the coffee is still in motion relying on turbulence to mix the cream. The Torah is explicit that the purpose is to observe convection currents (which must be generated by temperature diffential, and not any other motion or current). In recent years it has become common to use special coffee cups made of glass, so that one may observe the currents not only from the top, but from the sides and bottom as well. Harei zeh mishubach, although we do not invalidate cups made of fine china.
would have happened if Three Wise Jewish Women had gone to Bethlehem instead
of Three Wise Men?
"Did You See The Sandals Mary was Wearing With That Schmatta?"
"That Baby Doesn't Look Anything Like Joseph!"
"Virgin? I Knew Her In School!"
"Can You Believe They Let All Of Those Disgusting Animals In There?"
"I Heard That Joseph Doesn't Have A Job."
"And That Donkey They Are Riding Has Seen Better Days!"
"We'll Just See How Long It Will Take To Get Your Brisket Dish Back."
|Why G-d gave the Jews the Ten Commandments|
Is The Little-known Tale Of How G-d Came To Give The Jews The Ten Commandments.
G-d First Went To The Egyptians And Asked Them If They Would Like A Commandment. "What's A Commandment?" They Asked. "Well, Its Like, Thou Shalt Not Commit Adultery," Replied G-d. The Egyptians Thought About It And Then Said, "No Way. That Would Ruin Our Weekends." So Then G-d Went To The Assyrians And Asked Them If They Would Like A Commandment. They Also Asked, What's A Commandment?" "Well," Said G-d, "Its Like, Thou Shalt Not Steal." The Assyrians Immediately Replied, "No Way. That Would Ruin Our Economy." So Finally God Went To The Jews And Asked Them If They Wanted A Commandment. They Asked, "How Much?" G-d Said, "They're Free."
The Jews Said, "Great! We'll Take Ten!"
Rabinowitz in the late 1930s fled his native land of Germany. He sold all
his assets and converted it to gold and then
had 5 sets of solid gold false teeth made.
When he arrived in New York the customs official was perplexed as to why anybody would have 5 sets of gold teeth. So Moisha explained. "We Orthodox Jews have two separate sets of dishes for meat products and dairy products but I am so kosher and religious I also have separate sets of teeth." The customs official shook his head and said, "Well that accounts for two sets of teeth. What about the other three?" Moisha then said "Vell us very religious Orthodox Jews use separate dishes for Passover, but I am so religious I have separate teeth, one for meat and one for dairy food. The customs official slapped his head and then said, "You must be a very religious man with separate teeth for food and dairy products and likewise for Passover. That accounts for four sets of teeth. What about the fifth set?"
"Vell to tell you the truth, once in a while I like a ham sandwich."
| An elderly couple had dinner at another couple's
house, and after eating, the wives left the table and went into the kitchen.
The two elderly gentlemen were talking, and one said, "Last night we went out to a new restaurant, and it was really great. I would recommend it very highly." The other man said, "What's the name of the restaurant?" The first man knits his brow in obvious concentration, and finally said to his companion, "Aahh, What is the name of that red flower you give to someone you love?" His friends replies, "A carnation??" "No. No. The other one," the man says. His friend offers another suggestion, "The poppy?" "Nahhhh," growls the man. "You know the one that is red and has thorns." His friend said, "Do you mean a rose?"
"Yes, Yes that's it. Thank you!" the first man says. He then turns toward the kitchen and yells, "Rose, what's the name of that restaurant we went to last night?"
|For Every Action|
Likud party member, a Labor party member, and a member of the Histadrut
(Worker's Union) are seated seperately in a restaurant
when a poor man walks in; unbeknownst to any of them, it is the earthly
form of the angel Michael.
The Likudnik summons the waitress and asks her to serve the poor man the best food in the house and put it on his tab; the waitress does so. The Labor party member asks the waitress to please serve the poor man iced tea and put it on his tab. The waitress does so. The Histadrut member asks the waitress to please serve the poor man pecan pie with ice cream and put it on his tab. Again, the waitress does so. When Michael is finished eating, he goes over to the Likud man and says, "I was hungry, and you gave me what to eat. Thank you. I see that you are blind." He touches the man's eyes, and his blindness is healed. Michael then goes up to the Labor man and says, "I was thirsty, and you gave me what to drink. Thank you. I see that you have a lame leg." He touches the man's leg, and it is healed. Michael then approaches the Histadrut member.
Suddenly the Histadrut man moves away quickly and shouts, "Don't touch me! Stay away! I'm on a hundred percent disability!"
|Classic Jewish Films|
| A little old Jewish woman, calling Mount Sinai
Hospital, said, Hello, darling, I'd like to talk with the person who gives
the information regarding your patients.
I want to know if the patient is getting better, or doing like expected, or getting worse. The voice on the other end of the line said, What is the patient's name and room number?
She said, Yes, darling! she's Sarah Finkel, in Room 302.
He said, Oh, yes, Mrs. Finkel is doing very well. In fact, she's had two full meals, her blood pressure is fine, her blood work just came back as normal, she's going to be taken off the heart monitor in a couple of hours and if she continues this improvement, Dr. Cohen is going to send her home Tuesday at twelve o'clock. The woman said, Thank G-d! That's wonderful! Oh! that's fantastic, darling! That's such wonderful news! The man on the phone said, From your enthusiasm, I take it you must be a close family member or a very close friend!
She said, I'm Sarah Finkel in 302! Cohen, my doctor, tells me Nothing!
| Four Jewish brothers left home for college, all
became doctors and prospered. Some years later, chatting after a Chanukah
dinner, they discussed the gifts that they were able to give to their elderly
The first said, I had
a big house built for
Mama. The second said, I had a hundred
dollar theater built in the house. The third said, I had my Mercedes
deliver her an SL600 with a chauffeur. The fourth said, Listen to
this. You know how Mama loves reading the Torah, and you know that she
well. So I sent her a parrot that can recite the entire Torah. It took
twenty rabbis 12 years to teach him. I had to pledge to contribute $100,000
a year for twenty years. But it was worth it. Mama just has to name the
chapter and verse and the parrot will recite it. Soon thereafter,
Mom sent out her Thank You
notes. She wrote:
Dearest Melvin, you were the only son to have the
good sense to give a little thought to your gift.
Jewish grandmother is giving directions to her
grown grandson, who is coming to visit with his wife:
"You come to the front door of the apartment complex. I am in apartment 14T. There is a big panel at the door. With your elbow push button 14T. I will buzz you in. Come inside, the elevator is on the right. Get in, and with your elbow hit 14. When you get out I am on the left. With your elbow, hit my doorbell." "Bubbe, that sounds easy, but why am I hitting all these buttons with my elbow"?
"You're coming empty handed?"
|Holiday Distinctions Finally Explained|
Christmas is one day, same day every year: December 25. Jews also love
December 25th. It's another paid day off work. We go to movies and out
for Chinese food, and Israeli dancing. Chanukah is 8 days. It starts the
evening of the 24th of Kislev, whenever that falls. No one is ever sure.
Jews never know until a non-Jewish friend asks when Chanukah starts, forcing
us to consult a calendar so we don't look like idiots. We all have the
same calendar, provided free with a donation from either the World Jewish
Congress, the kosher butcher, or the local Sinai Memorial Chapel (especially
in Florida) or other Jewish funeral home.
2. Christmas is a major holiday. Chanukah is a minor holiday with the same theme as most Jewish holidays. They tried to kill us, we survived, let's eat. 3. Christians get wonderful presents such as jewelry, perfume, stereos... Jews get practical presents such as underwear, socks, or the collected works of the Rambam, which looks impressive on the bookshelf. 4. There is only one way to spell Christmas. No one can decide how to spell Chanukah, Chanukah, Chanukka, Channukah, Hanukah, Hannukah. 5. Christmas is a time of great pressure for husbands and boyfriends. Their partners expect special gifts. Jewish men are relieved of that burden. No one expects a diamond ring on Chanukah. 6. Christmas brings enormous electric bills. Candles are used for Chanukah. Not only are we spared enormous electric bills, but we get to feel good about not contributing to the energy crisis. 8. Christmas carols are beautiful. Silent Night, Come O Ye Faithful.... Chanukah songs are about dreidels made from clay or having a party and dancing the horah. Of course, we are secretly pleased that many of the beautiful carols were composed and written by our tribal brethren. And don't Barbara Streisand and Neil Diamond sing them beautifully? 9. A home preparing for Christmas smells wonderful. The sweet smell of cookies and cakes baking. Happy people are gathered around in festive moods. A home preparing for Chanukah smells of oil, potatoes, and onions. The home, as always, is full of loud people all talking at once. 10. Women have fun baking Christmas cookies. Women burn their eyes and cut their hands grating potatoes and onions for latkas on Chanukah. Another reminder of our suffering through the ages. 11. Parents deliver to their children during Christmas. Jewish parents have no qualms about withholding a gift on any of the eight nights. 12. The players in the Christmas story have easy to pronounce names such as Mary, Joseph, and Jesus. The players in the Chanukah story are Antiochus, Judah Maccabee, and Matta whatever. No one can spell it or pronounce it. On the plus side, we can tell our friends anything and they believe we are wonderfully versed in our history. 13. Many Christians believe in the virgin birth. Jews think, "Joseph, Bubela, snap out of it. Your woman is pregnant, you didn't sleep with her, and now you want o blame G-d. Here's the number of my shrink."
14. In recent years,
Christmas has become more
and more commercialized. The same holds true for Chanukah, even though
it is a minor holiday. It makes sense. How could we market a major holiday
such as Yom Kippur? Forget about celebrating. Think observing. Come to
synagogue, starve yourself for 27 hours, become one with your dehydrated
soul, beat your chest, confess your sins, a guaranteed good time for you
and your family. Tickets a mere $200 per person.
went on a vacation to the Middle East with
most of his family including his mother-in-law. During their vacation
and while they were visiting Jerusalem, Jeremy's mother-in-law died.
With the death certificate in hand, Jeremy went to the American Consulate Office to make arrangements to send the body back to the States for proper burial. The Consul, after hearing of the death of the mother-in-law told Jeremy that the sending of a body back to the States for burial is very, very expensive. It could cost as much as $5,000.00. The Consul continues, in most cases the person responsible for the remains normally decides to bury the body here. This would only cost $150.00. Jeremy thinks for some time and answers, "I don't care how much it will cost to send the body back, that's what I want to do." The Consul, after hearing this, says "You must have loved your mother-in-law very much considering the difference in price."
"No, it's not that," says Jeremy. "You see, I know of a case many years ago of a person that was buried here in Jerusalem. On the third day he arose from the dead! I just can't take that chance!
|Good OLD Jewish Cooking|
feel some things have changed for the worse here. I'm talking about the lack of good old, down-home Jewish cooking
in our homes. I am taking it upon myself to help out all you frantic
housewives out there, with wonderful menus that will lead your children
to a healthy, happy, and loving family unit as I knew it in my childhood.
go down to Simpson's basement, buy a housecoat,
and wear it all day, every day. Then go out and buy a live chicken,
carry it wrapped in a newspaper to the Shoichet who will ritually slaughter
it before your very eyes. When you get it home, flick your chicken
and make sure you don't leave in any pinchus (feather ends). Next, go out
and buy a four-foot-long carp with
huge whiskers. Fill your bathtub with water and let the fish swim
in it for several days. In the in the meantime, remove your Berber
broadloom from the living room, polish the hardwood floors, cover them
in newspaper, cover your couch in Saran wrap, and don't let anyone in your
living room again. Now you're a real "BALABOOSE, which is a term of
respect used for an efficient Jewish housewife, and the essence of your
universe is in the kitchen. So get out your Eddy matches, light the
pilot light, get out the volgar holtz, hock the tzibbeles and knobble,
and we're Jewish again. Before
we start, however, there are some variations in
ingredients because of the various types of Jewish taste (Pollack, Litvack
and Gallicianer). Just as we Jews have six seasons of the year (winter,
spring, summer, fall, the slack season, and the busy season), we all focus
on a main ingredient
which unfortunately, and undeservedly, has disappeared
from our diet. I'm talking, of course, about SCHMALTZ. SCHMALTZ has
for centuries been the prime ingredient in almost every Jewish dish, and
I feel it's time to revive it to its rightful place in our homes. (I have
plans to distribute it in a green glass Gucci bottle with a label clearly
saying: low fat, no cholesterol, President's Choice, extra virgin
SCHMALTZ. It can't miss!) Let's start, of course, with the "forshpeiz."
Gehockteh leiber with SCHMALTZ is always good, but how about something
more exotic for your dear ones, like boiled whitefish in yoyech which sets
into a jelly form, or "gefilteh miltz" (stuffed spleen), in which the veins
are removed, thank G-d, and it is fried in, you guessed it, SCHMALTZ, bread
crumbs, eggs, onions, salt and pepper. Love it!
were probably the only things not made
with SCHMALTZ, so we never had any. Well, now you know the secret
of how I've grown up to be so tall, sinewy, slim and trim, energetic,
extremely clever and modest, and if you want your children to grow up to
be like me, you're gohnsen meshuggah!
Israeli History in a Nutshell
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