Saturday, 1 December 2007

The Use Of the Five Fingers

Writing about my itchy ear the other day reminded me of a very old Jewish joke. It is not easy to write down because it calls for actions, but I will try.

“Moshe, soon you will have your bar mitzvah and you will become a man. Before then I must teach you all the things that a Jewish man needs to know, and I will start today by telling you the use of the five fingers.”

“Yes, Papa”.

“Now, the first finger is the thumb, which is called the Introduction Finger”...[Extends a thumb and twists his wrist from left to right and back again.] “...Mr Cohen, Mr Levy. Mr Levy, Mr Cohen.”

"Then, the second finger is the Warning Finger...” [Extends a forefinger and wags it up and down.] “...Don’t you try to cheat me!”.

"The third finger is the Reassurance Finger...” [Taps his chest with his middle finger.] “...You think that I would try to cheat you?”

“And lastly, there is the Admiration Finger...” [Slips his fourth finger under an imaginary lapel and slides it up and down.] “...That’s a nice bit of cloth you’ve got there!”

“…And that, my son, is what you need to know about the use of the five fingers.”

“But Papa, that is only four fingers. What about the other one?”

“Oh well, Moshe… I don't know... I don’t think that’s got any special use….” [Looks thoughtful while poking his little finger in his ear and wiggling it about].

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