the writing and photography of Neil Kramer

Tag: rabbi

The Funeral

Today was my father’s funeral.  The last two days were very emotional and I still find it too difficult to write about it.

As the limo took us home, I said:

"The rabbi had it easy.  He said such beautiful things about a genuinely beautiful person.  What does the rabbi do if the guy is a real jerk?"

Sophia said this reminded her of a joke:

A  famous Jewish mobster dies, a man well-known as an embezzler, a crook — someone who loved scamming old retired Florida ladies out of their savings. 

The mobster’s brother, himself a mobster, asks the local rabbi to do the service.

"I’ll pay you ten thousand dollars if you say something nice about my brother."

The rabbi is a serious, religious man.

"I really can’t do that.  Your brother was a crook."

"Listen, rabbi.  I’ll give you a hundred thousand if you say something nice about my brother."

"I’m sorry.   A rabbi can’t lie."

"OK, here’s my final deal.  I’ll give you a quarter of a million dollars to say something nice about my brother."

The rabbi thinks about all the repairs that need to be done to the temple roof and the new Sunday school that he’s been dreaming about.   He agrees to the offer.

On the day of the funeral, the rabbi steps up to the podium and says:

"This man was a crook, a liar, a thief and a terrible human being.  But compared to his brother, he was a saint."

We all laughed and felt a little better.  My father would have loved this joke. 

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