Sunday, January 01, 2006

What Do Jews Do at a Stop Sign?

This is supposed to be a joke. (No, I did not write it - I found it. It can be found in several places on the net. Not sure where it originated.) I went through it and found defining/explanatory links for certain terms for the curious:

1. An average Jew doesn't bother to read the sign but will stop if the car in front of him does.

2. A fundamentalist stops at the sign and waits for it to tell him to go.

3. An Orthodox Jew does one of two things: a) Stops at the sign, says, "Blessed are you, O Lord our God, King of the universe, who has given us your commandment to stop," waits 3 seconds according to his watch, and then proceeds.

b) Takes another route to work that doesn't have a stop sign so that he doesn't run the risk of disobeying the halachah.

4. A Haredi does the same thing as the Orthodox Jew, except that he waits 10 seconds instead of 3. He also replaces his brake lights with 1000-watt searchlights and connects his horn so that it is activated whenever he touches the brake pedal.

5. An Orthodox woman concludes that she is not allowed to observe the mitzvah of stopping because she is niddah. This is a dilemma, because the stop sign is located on her way to the mikveh.

6. A Talmudic scholar consults his holy books and finds these comments on the stop sign:

R. Meir says: He who does not stop shall not live long.

R. Hillel says: Cursed is he who does not count to three before proceeding.

R. Shimon ben Yehudah says: Why three? Because the Holy One, blessed be He, gave us the Law, the Prophets, and the Writings.

R. ben Yitzhak says: Becase of the three patriarchs.

R. Yehuda says: Why bless the Lord at a stop sign? Because it says, "Be still, and know that I am God."

R. Yehezkel says: When Jephthah returned from defeating the Ammonites, the Holy One, blessed be He, knew that a donkey would run out of the house and overtake his daughter; but Jephthah did not stop at the stop sign, and the donkey did not have time to come out. For this reason he saw his daughter first and lost her. Thus was he judged for his transgression at the stop sign.

R. Gamaliel says: R. Hillel, when he was a baby, never spoke a word, though his parents tried to teach him by speaking and showing him the words on a scroll. One day his father was driving through town and did not stop at the sign. Young Hillel called out, "Stop, father!" In this way, he began reading and speaking at the same time. Thus it is written, "Out of the mouths of babes."

R. ben Natan says: When were stop signs created? On the fourth day, as it is written, "Let them serve as signs."

But R. Yehoshua says...."[continues for three more pages]

7. A Breslover Chasid sees the sign and prays, saying "Ribono shel Olam, [Master of the world]here I am, traveling on the road in Your service, and I am about to face who knows what danger at this intersection in my life. So please watch over me and help me to get through this stop sign safely." Then, "looking neither to left nor right" as Rebbe Nachman advises, he joyfully accepts the challenge, remains focused on his goal, even as the car rolls backward for a moment, then hits the accelerator and forges bravely forward, overcoming all obstacles which the yetzer hara might put in his path.

8. A Lubavitcher Chasid stops at the sign and reads it very carefully in the light of the Rebbe's teachings. Next, he gets out of the car and sets up a roadside mitzvah-mobile, taking this opportunity to ask other Jewish drivers who stop at the stop sign whether they have put on tefillin today or whether they light Shabbat candles. Having now settled there, he steadfastly refuses to give up a single inch of the land he occupies until Mashiach comes.

9. A Conservative Jew calls his rabbi and asks whether stopping at this sign is required by unanimous ruling of the Commission on Jewish Law or if there is a minority position. While waiting for the rabbi's answer, he is ticketed by a policeman for obstructing traffic.

10. A secular Jew rejects the sign as a vestige of an archaic and outmoded value system with no relevance to the modern world, and ignores it completely.

11. a Reform Jew coasts up to the sign while contemplating the question, "Do I personally feel commanded to stop?" During his deliberation he edges into the intersections and is hit from behind by the secular Jew.

12. A Reconstructionist Jew reasons: First, this sign is a legacy of our historic civilization and therefore I must honor it. On the other hand, since "the past has a vote and not a veto" I must study the issue and decide whether the argument in favor of stopping is spiritually, intellectually, and culturally compelling enough to be worth perpetuating. If so, I will vote with the past; if not, I will veto it. Finally, is there any way that I can revalue the stop sign's message so as to remain valid for our own time?

13. A Renewal Movement Jew meditates on whether the stop sign applies in all of the kabbalistic Four Worlds [body-emotion-mind-spirit] or only in some of them, and if so, which ones? Must he stop feeling? Thinking? Being? Driving? Since he has stopped to breathe and meditate on these questions, he is quite safe while he does so, baruch HaShem.

14. A bibilical scholar points out that there are a number of stylistic differences between the first and second halves of the passage "STOP."

For Example, "ST" contains no enclosed areas and five line endings, whereas "OP" contains two enclosed areas and only one line termination. He concludes that the first and second parts are the work of different authors who probably lived several centuries apart.

Later scholars determine that the second half is itself actually written by two separate authors because of similar stylisitic differences between the "O" and "P".

15. Because of the difficulties in interpretation, another biblical scholar amends the text, changing "T" to "H." "SHOP" is much easier to understand in this context than "STOP" because of the multiplicity of stores in the area. The textual corruption probably occurred because "SHOP" is so similar to "STOP" on the sign several streets back that it is a natural mistake for a scribe to make. Thus the sign should be interpreted to announce the existence of a commercial district.

16. Yet another biblical scholar notes that the stop sign would fit better into another intersection three streets back. Clearly it was moved to its present location by a later redactor. He thus interprets the present intersection as though the stop sign were not there.


Steg (dos iz nit der šteg) said...


PsychoToddler said...

The Talmudic bits are perfect!

Ayelet said...

The Orthododx woman bit makes no sense! What the heck does being a niddah have to do with stopping? Very contrived. Some of the others are cute.

Anonymous said...

11. a Reform Jew coasts up to the sign while contemplating the question, "Do I personally feel commanded to stop?" During his deliberation he edges into the intersections and is hit from behind by the secular Jew

LOL. Ya got me.

The real me said...


my bald sheitel said...

LOL. great. i also liked the reform one. fits.

... Is the Window to Our Soul said...

That's hysterical. Thanks for posting it.

alice said...

And the converting B'Nai Noach pulls up behind all the Jews above and just watches, in a state of increasingly paralysed confusion.

Eventually one of them asks what he is doing there, and he explains that he wants to learn how things are done as part of his preparation for converting to Judaism. Whereupon they all respond in perfect unison: "What, are you nuts?!"

Post-Denom Jew said...

Hilarious, but what about the convert?

ליפא שנילצער said...

one small addition to the orthodox jew one:

if the new lipa schmeltzer tape is blasting in his car, he might not stop altogether