Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Did you hear the one about the Karaite and the...

The ever fascinating and erudite Mississippi Fred McDowell, (master of delta slide), of On the Main Line, posted a ‘folk tale’ about a run-in between the Jews and Karaites during the Ottoman Empire. While the subject matter is extremely interesting, the story smacks of the same condescending satire which is used in ridiculing whichever group is currently being subject to derision.

I (apparently) can’t even spell Karaite, but, not to be left out, I posted a folk tale of my own as a comment. I am transcribing it here for your reading enjoyment (or as a point of invaluable advice if you are ever in a similar situation).

About twenty years ago, a rich, powerful Karite in New York wanted to marry the beautiful daughter of a rabbi. After stalling for as long as he could, the rabbi finally agreed to the marriage, but set one condition. Before the wedding, the Karite must go to Israel and see the Kotel. Although the Karite had never flown, he eagerly agreed to the condition. The rabbi took him to the airport, bought him a ticket, and made sure that he was safely on the plane. When he got home, his wife asked him “how could you agree to such a terrible thing?” The rabbi replied, “Don’t worry. Everyone else understood that they should actually get IN the plane. But our Karite friend took things a bit too literally. He fell off the wing at about 5,000 feet.” (Apologies to George Carlin.)