Friday, February 13, 2009

reputedly oldest Jewish joke

The story concerns Eleazar, a Jew in Roman times, 100 B.C.E., who finds himself before the gates of heaven, ready to meet his maker, when he is stopped by the patriarch Abraham, who tells him that to meet the Lord he must be worthy of the honor and must recount an instance of bravery.

Eleazar relates that once he found himself before the Roman emperor, and to his face he told him he was a camel's behind, an oppressor of the Jews of Jerusalem and spat in his face.

Abraham is impressed: "When did that occur?" he asks.

Eleazar responds: "About 10 seconds ago."

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