Miscellany and Trivia

Anecdotes about Writers (5)

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Ernest Hemingway

Hemingway’s son Patrick asked his father to edit a story he had written.

Hemingway went through the manuscript carefully, then returned it to his son. “But, Papa,” cried Patrick in dismay, “you’ve only changed one word.”

If it’s the right word,” said Hemingway, that’s a lot.”

Anecdotes about Writers (1)

 

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Isaac Asimov

Once an editor rejected a story of Isaac Asimov and called it “meretricious.”

The word is from the Latin meretrix, meaning “prostitute,” so that the implication was that Asimov was prostituting his talent and was writing a bad story that would get by on his name alone because he was too lazy to write a good one. Later the story was sold elsewhere and received considerable acclaim.

Swallowing his annoyance, Asimov said mildly, “What was that word you used?”

Obviously proud at knowing a word he felt Asimov didn’t know, the editor enunciated carefully, “Meretricious!” Whereupon Asimov replied, “And a Happy New Year to you.”

Anecdotes about Writers (2)

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George Bernard Shaw

The celebrated dancer Isadora Duncan once wrote to George Bernard Shaw declaring that, given the principles of eugenics, they should have a child together.

Think of it!” she enthused. “With my body and your brains, what a wonder it would be.”

Yes,” Shaw replied. “But what if it had my body and your brains?”

Anecdotes about Rabbis (4)

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Rabbi Landau has always been secretly sad that he’s never been able to eat pork. So one day, he flies to a remote tropical Island and books into a hotel. “No one will find me here,” he said to himself. On the first evening, he goes to the best restaurant and orders the ‘roast pork special’. While he’s waiting, he hears someone call his name. Rabbi Landau looks up and sees one of his congregants walking towards his table. What unbelievably bad luck – the same time to visit the same restaurant on the same island!

Just at that moment, the waiter puts on his table a whole roasted pig with an apple in its mouth and says, “Your special, sir.” Rabbi Landau looks up sheepishly at his congregant and says, “Would you believe it – you order anapple in this restaurant and look how they serve it!”

Anecdotes about Rabbis (2)

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It’s Sunday evening and Rabbi Levy is in deep conversation with his friend.

I must tell you something, Moshe,” he says, “I made nine people very, very happy today.”

A mitzvah*, Rabbi, a true mitzvah,” says Moshe, “but tell me – how did you manage to achieve this?”

I performed four marriage ceremonies in my shul this afternoon,” replies Rabbi Levy.

Moshe is puzzled. “I can see how you made eight people happy, Rabbi, but what about the ninth?”

Do you really believe I did all this for free?” replies Rabbi Levy.

*Mitzvah = a moral deed performed as a religious duty

Anecdotes about Rabbis (1)

 

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Even though they were brought up strictly orthodox, Shlomo, 8 and Isaac, 10 were very naughty brothers. When anything went wrong in Golders Green, they were nearly always involved.

One day, a friend visited their parents and mentioned a Rabbi who was having great success with delinquent children. As they were finding it difficult to control their boys, they went to this Rabbi and asked whether he could help.
He said he could and asked to see the younger boy first – but he must be alone. So Shlomo went to see the Rabbi while Isaac was kept at home.

The Rabbi sat Shlomo down across a huge, solid mahogany desk and he sat down on the other side. For 5 minutes they just sat and stared at each other. Finally, the Rabbi pointed his finger at Shlomo and asked, “Where is God?” Shlomo said nothing. Again, in a louder tone, the Rabbi pointed at Shlomo and asked, “Where is God?” Again Shlomo said nothing. Then the Rabbi leaned across the desk, put his finger on Shlomo’s nose and shouted, “For the third time, Shlomo, where is God?”

Shlomo panicked at this, got up and ran all the way home. He went straight up to Isaac’s room and said, “We are in big trouble, Isaac.” “What do you mean, big trouble, little brother?” said Isaac.

Shlomo replied, “God is missing ... and I’m sure they think we did it.”

Anecdotes about Rabbis (3)

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At a conference on religion a priest, a minister and a rabbi were all asked the same question, “What would you like people to say about you after you die?”

The priest said, “I hope that people will say that I was able to rise above the scandals that are plaguing the Catholic Church at this time. I hope that people would say that I was able to shepherd my flock through this crisis and help them to understand the absolute love that God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit have for all of them as Catholics.”

The minister then said, “When I die I hope that people will say that I saved many souls by bringing them to Christ. I hope that I will be remembered as a caring, thoughtful man who always spread the Word, the love of Christ and a faith everlasting in God. I hope that my preaching and converting will be carried on in my memory and to the glory of Christ.”

Finally, the rabbi was asked, “Rabbi, what do you hope people will say about you after you have died?”

Without pausing, the rabbi answered, “Look. He’s breathing.”

 

Anecdotes about Rabbis (5)

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Avrahom is a 12 year old known for his total lack of religious study, so when his barmitzvah* day arrives, Rabbi Bloom is not about to let this go without comment. Avrahom performs his barmitzvah as best he can with his minimal preparation and when it comes time to receive his presents, Avrahom gets what most barmitzvah boys are given – a daily prayer book; a set of Jewish Festivals prayer books; a kiddushcup* from the congregation’s ladies guild; an encyclopedia – “The History of the Jewish People from Bible Times to the Present”; and a bible (old testament).

Rabbi Bloom then addresses the barmitzvah boy, “My dear Avrahom. You have received today a number of treasures of Judaism in book form that will surely enrich your life and make it holy in the eyes of God. I also have a gift for you.”

With that, Rabbi Bloom pulls out an umbrella from behind the lectern and says to Avrahom, “I present you with this umbrella because I want to give you something that at least I know for certain you will open.”

*kiddush cup = Shabbat and Jewish holiday meals begin with a blessing over a cup of ritual wine. Many families have a special glass or goblet (cup) specifically for this purpose.

*barmitzvah = According to Jewish law , when Jewish boys become 13 years old, they become accountable for their actions and become a bar mitzvah.

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