Friday, October 10, 2008

Daf Yomi Gittin 90a -- The ethnic joke

On the last daf of Gittin, we have a brayta that finds expression even today in an ethnic joke:
תניא היה ר"מ אומר כשם שהדעות במאכל כך הדעות בנשים
יש לך אדם שזבוב נופל לתוך כוסו וזורקו ואינו שותהו וזו היא מדת פפוס בן יהודה שנועל דלת בפני אשתו ויוצא
ויש לך אדם שזבוב נופל לתוך כוסו וזורקו ושותהו זו היא מדת כל אדם שרואה את אשתו מדברת עם כל שכניה ועם קרוביה ומניחה
ויש לך אדם שזבוב נופל לתוך התמחוי מוצצו ואוכלו וזו היא מדת אדם רע שרואה את אשתו יוצאת וראשה פרוע ופרומה משני צדדיה ורוחצת עם בני אדם
עם בני אדם סלקא דעתך אלא במקום שבני אדם רוחצין
ואינו חושש
זו מצוה מן התורה לגרשה שנאמר
כי מצא בה ערות דבר
וכתיב ויצאה מביתו
They learnt {in a brayta}: Rabbi Meir would say: Just as there are different attitudes in consumption of food, so are there different attitudes towards women.
There is a man where, if a fly falls into his cup, he throws it out and does not drink it. And this is the trait of Papus son of Yehuda, who locked his wife indoors before leaving.
And there is a man where, if a fly falls in his cup, he throws it {the fly} out and then drinks it. This is the trait of any man who sees his wife speaking with all her neighbors and all her relatives and leaves her to do it.
And there is a man where, if a fly falls into the plate, he crushes it and eats it. And this is the trait of a bad man who sees his wife go out with her head uncovered {Rif leaves out: and spins cloth in the market},
{Gittin 90b}
and open on both sides {Rashi: that he underarms are exposed} and that she bathes with the men.
{Gemara interjects: } With the men, does it enter your mind? Rather, in a place where men bathe.
And he does not worry. This is a precept in the Torah to divorce her, for it is stated {Devarim 24:1}
א כִּי-יִקַּח אִישׁ אִשָּׁה, וּבְעָלָהּ; וְהָיָה אִם-לֹא תִמְצָא-חֵן בְּעֵינָיו, כִּי-מָצָא בָהּ עֶרְוַת דָּבָר--וְכָתַב לָהּ סֵפֶר כְּרִיתֻת וְנָתַן בְּיָדָהּ, וְשִׁלְּחָהּ מִבֵּיתוֹ. 1 When a man taketh a wife, and marrieth her, then it cometh to pass, if she find no favour in his eyes, because he hath found some unseemly thing in her, that he writeth her a bill of divorcement, and giveth it in her hand, and sendeth her out of his house,
and it is written
ב וְיָצְאָה, מִבֵּיתוֹ; וְהָלְכָה, וְהָיְתָה לְאִישׁ-אַחֵר. 2 and she departeth out of his house, and goeth and becometh another man's wife,

The ethnic joke:
One day an Englishman, a Scotsman, and an Irishman walked into a pub together.

They proceeded to each buy a pint of Guinness. Just as they were about to enjoy their creamy beverage three flies landed in each of their pints, and were stuck in the thick head.

The Englishman pushed his beer away from him in disgust.

The Scotsman fished the offending fly out of his beer and continued drinking it as if nothing had happened.

The Irishman too, picked the fly out of his drink, held it out over the beer and then started yelling, "SPIT IT OUT, SPIT IT OUT YOU BASTARD!!!!"
Please note I am not endorsing the ethnic stereotypes in this joke, but rather simply citing it to demonstrate the clear parallel.

I would note that matzatz means to press, to suck, to drain, so the last example is perhaps even closer. Perhaps he is sucking out the wine from the fly, or squeezing it out from the fly. Except if so, why the change to the tamchui instead of remaining by the cup? {Soncino defines this as soup rather than a plate, and that he crushes and eats it.}


Wolf2191 said...

See Rosen-tzvi's article in JSIJ on the subject for a detailed analysis of this sugya.

Anonymous said...

ופרומה משני צדדיה
as you translate
and open on both sides {Rashi: that he underarms are exposed}

do you know what the basis is for understanding megale zeroaseha as a requirement to cover the full arm rather than similar to the above, that one not see underarms or from the underarms to the body proper (i..e that one not wear sleeveless or loose sleeveless clothing)?

joshwaxman said...

thanks. I started checking it out, though I am not sure it addresses the joke.

Sorry. I must admit I was not really certain how to even translate here, though I followed Rashi and then closely adhered to Soncino. But then I was wondering the same thing. If *this* is considered the non-tsnius standard, then what basis for covering arms? And how do we interpret it?

I am not within that sugya at present. Though offhand I know of two places that occurs, of exposing the arm, as mentioned in this earlier post.

But I don't know. Perhaps what would be exposed when one points to something, assuming that the frum dress is already such that underarms would not be exposed. And so it must be her sleeves riding up? Tzarich iyun.

Kol Tuv,

Anonymous said...

interesting source. thanks


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