Friday, June 5, 2009

Inappropriate joke?

Once a week, I learn over the phone with a young boy on shlichus in Colorado. He turned eleven not too long ago.
Besides for just learning, we also tell each other jokes, and stories, and talk about his school....
So he told me this joke tonight:
There was once a very rich Jew living in a city, and he would give tzedaka to many people. NonJews wanted to get money, too, so one day a goy walked into the rich guy's house.
The Yid saw that this man didn't really look Jewish.
"Are you sure you are Jewish", he asked.
"oh, yes," the goy answered.
A little skeptical, the rich man asked, "Well, if you are Jewish, then where are your tzitzis?"
This goy didn't know so much about Jewish traditional garments, so he just answered, "At the dry cleaners".
This was an unusual answer, but it made sense a little bit, so the rich guy gave him tzedaka.
This goy went home and told all his friends.
The next day, another goy came to get tzedaka.
The rich guy again asked for proof that this man was Jewish, "if you are Jewish, then where is your bris?' he asked.
"At the dry cleaners!"

So that was the joke Mendel told me. Sort of funny, so I graciously chuckled for his amusement. But right then, I heard his father's voice on the line, asking Mendel to switch to a different line and to call me back.
How much had his father heard? Had he been listening, and waited until the end to interrupt?
Was he upset his son told such jokes? Should I have not laughed, and instead reprimanded young Mendel that such inappropriate jokes shouldn't be repeated?

I may never find out the answer to these haunting questions.