Yeshiva University decided to field a crew team. Unfortunately, they lost race after race. They practiced for hours every day, but never managed to come in any better than dead last.
The Rosh Yeshiva finally decided to send Yankel to spy on the Harvard team. So Yankel shlepped off to Cambridge and hid in the bullrushes off the Charles River, from where he carefully watched the Harvard team as they practiced.
Yankel finally returned to Yeshiva. "I have figured out their secret," he announced.
"They have eight guys rowing and only one guy shouting."
This is one of those classic Jewish jokes that has been around forever. And if it's a classic it means like any good Jewish joke, there's some truth to it.
So, let's own up to what we all know -- we Jews are indeed a vocal people. This joke suggests that we may even have acquired this attribute from our great tradition of Jewish yeshiva learning.
If you walk into a yeshiva you will hear hundreds if not thousands of study partners seemingly yelling at each other. But they aren't angry. They are simply passionately pursuing the truth. And when we Jews believe in the truth of our own viewpoints, then we are going to let you know what's on our minds.
Even if the truth revolves around the best way to row a boat.
|Interesting note: Brian Epstein (who was sometimes described in books as a "self-hating Jew") confessed to a friend that he found gatherings of Jewish people irritating, nervewracking and personally embarrassing at times... because they were just too loud for his taste.|