The Gantseh Megillah

Jewish Love
February 1, 2000

Valentine’s Day 2000 has come and gone. This socially significant holiday reminds me of several things. Special romantic feelings are reinforced on this day. Boyfriends and husbands hunt around for the perfect gift for their wives and lovers. Children in grade school exchange cards to express special feelings towards certain friends. This is great fun of course, except for the kid who might not be quite as popular as the others. But that is a story for another time. :-)

Back in the Borscht Belt, Jewish comedians built their acts around the “special” love that exists in Jewish society. Jokes making fun of Jewish couples and their foibles were always fair game. Lines like: “How do you get a Jewish girl to stop making love?…Marry her!” and Henny Youngman’s classic one liner, “Take my wife….PLEASE!” always got a BIG guffaw.

Sure these jokes are funny, but this negative quality of love isn’t a rule in the Jewish community. I don’t understand the emphasis on this sort of “put down” humour. Did they not see the indescribable love Jewish families have as they interact with each other?

Our homes are a rich tapestry of feelings and emotions. Great turmoil leads to powerful feelings which erupts into intense emotions, and then grows into love. This is the basis of both Jewish Humour and the Jewish sense of humour; only those who are secure in the truth of their existence can laugh so easily at their own foibles.

Jewish love has its foundation in committed familial relationships. The typical Jewish home is run as a partnership between a mother and father, and children are taught the value of honesty and respect. The deep spiritual bond between a mother and father serves as a model of love and respect that guarantees the survival of the family.

Love is a difficult word to define, and Jewish love is even more of a challenge. As an experiment, I am going to ask all of you to fill in the blank in the sentence below. A sampling of the answers will be posted in the next issue.

I wish to thank everyone who participated in the voting for the name of our newsletter. The choices were varied, but “The Gantseh Megillah” won with a clear cut majority. I’m sure you are as relieved as I am that our masthead will now proudly display a name worthy of its mission.

Once again I would like to encourage everyone to participate in the Forum area; it’s an excellent source for finding answers to your questions. By posting questions and observations in the Forum our fellow readers can respond, and enrich us all. Your thoughts and comments on any issue are welcome along with suggestions of new words and expressions you feel should be added to the glossary.

Remember, this is your newsletter and it should reflect your interests. Please, spread the word about the glossary and the newsletter by telling your friends and relatives to take a look and sign up for a free subscription. Our family of readers is constantly growing, but we have plenty of room for new additions.
That’s all from me for now. Enjoy issue #4 of “The Gantzeh Megillah”.

My love to all of you and yours,
Michael D. Fein

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