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February 23, 1996 - Image 95

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1996-02-23

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

II Me Why

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A Grimm) Story Of Hate

Two imaginative brothers and an anti-Semitic fairy tale.



Q: I recently read that singer Tori

hearted servant gave away the
Amos — I like her music, but does pennies.
In return, the dwarf granted
anyone really understand her lyrics?
the servant three wishes. The
— is the daughter of a minister. That servant asked for, and received,
got me wondering about Jewish per- a gun that never missed; a fid-
formers. Are any of them the sons dle which, when played, made
everyone dance; and the power
or daughters of rabbis?
A: Tell Me Why knows of two, to make people grant him any-
thing he asked.
though no doubt PHOTO BY JOHN CORSER
Not long after, the
plenty more are
servant met a Jew
out there. Actor
standing and listen-
Zero Mostel is
ing to a bird singing
one, and author
high in a tree. The
Erich Segal (No!
Jew wished he could
Don't make me
have the bird. The
think of that chill-
servant aimed his
ingly awful Love
magic rifle, shot the
Story and the aw-
bird and it fell into a
ful, awful movie
thornbush. He com-
and awful, awful,
manded the Jew to
awful theme song
retrieve it. As the
it inspired! No!) is
Marceau : How do you Jew made his way
the other. You Marcel
into the thornbush,
also might be in- mime "kosher b utcher"?
the servant played
terested to learn
that mime Marcel Marceau is his magic fiddle. The Jew began
to dance uncontrollably. The
the son of a kosher butcher.
Apparently, the homes of re- faster the servant fiddled, the
ligious leaders are fertile more -vigorously the Jew danced.
grounds for future Hollywood Soon, the thorns ripped the
stars. Among the children of Jew's clothing to tatters, shred-
Christian ministers (with cred- ded his beard and scratched his
it to Ed Lucaire's The Celebri- entire body.
He begged the servant to stop
ty Almanac): singers Pearl
Bailey, the Pointer Sisters, Lou playing, but to no avail. Final-
Rawls, Rita Coolidge, Aretha ly the Jew offered the servant
Franklin, Marvin Gaye, Alice a bag of gold. The servant
Cooper and Glen Campbell; stopped playing, took the Jew's
thespians Ingmar Bergman, gold and went on his way.
The Jew ran to the city and
Laurence Olivier, Elke Sommer
and Agnes Moorehead; and for- complained to the judge. The
mer talk-show host Arsenio judge sent his men in search of
the servant, and soon they found
him with the gun, fiddle and bag
Q: is it true that the Grimms' fairy of gold.
tales included an anti-Semitic sto-
In court, the servant claimed
the Jew gave him the gold will-
A: Yes. But given the con- ingly, but the judge did not be-
temporary trend of avoiding the lieve the servant and sentenced
more racist and sexist of the him to die on the gallows. The
Grimms' stories, you will find servant accepted the verdict but
it only in an edition of their asked, as a last request, that he
be allowed to play his fiddle. The
complete works.
The story is "The Jew in the judge granted the request.
As the servant played, every-
Thornbush" (Der Jude im
Dorn). It was first published by one present danced wildly, the
the Grimms in 1815, and its ul- Jew leading the way. The ex-
timate source was Historia von hausted judge finally cried out
einem Bauerknecht (1618) by to the servant that he would
spare his life if only he would
Albert Dietrich.
In abbreviated form, the sto- stop fiddling.
The servant stopped and went
ry goes like this:
With only three pennies in over to the Jew who, like the oth-
his pocket, a poor but honest ers, was on the ground, gasping
servant left his master after for breath. The servant com-
three years of work. He set out manded the Jew to confess that
to see the world, and on his way he had taken the bag of gold.
"I stole it!" the Jew cried out.
he met a dwarf to whom he re-
vealed the extent of his riches. "But you earned it honestly."
The judge then ordered the
Pleading a worse case of pover-
ty, the dwarf asked the servant Jew up to the gallows, where he
for the money, and the kind- was hanged as a thief.

I have been informed that
many of the German farmers in the
Frankenmuth area leave the east-
ern corner of their fields unhar-
vested. Is this practice done for
the same reason that the Torah
commands us, in Leviticus 19:9,
"When you reap the harvest of your
land, you shall not complete your
reaping to the corner of your
From reader D.B. in Freeland,


A: It is indeed a command-
ment that the Jewish farmer is
forbidden from reaping the
whole field without leaving the
unharvested corners for the
poor. In addition to the passage
in Parshat Kedoshim, cited by
the reader, the Torah restates
the commandment in Parshat
Emor, Leviticus 23:22. This
mitzvah is one of many in the
Torah regarding a Jewish so-
ciety's obligation to those in
If the German farmers of
Frankenmuth are Christian
(as they probably are) and they
follow this practice, such an oc-
currence would be rare. Most
likely, they would be members
of an Adventist denomination
who, more so than other Chris-
tians, are apt to practice cer-
tain commandments of the
Christianity generally takes
an ambivalent attitude toward
the Torah commandments.
Christianity regards itself as
the successor to Judaism, and
thus a higher form of faith. Ac-
cording to Christian belief, the
death and resurrection of Je-
sus abolished the laws of the
Torah. The New Testament re-
peatedly states that the "new
covenant" means freedom from
the mitzvot of the Torah.
Nonetheless, through the
centuries Christians have used
the Torah as justification for
moral behavior, partly because
they still believe the Torah is
the word of God. Exempt from
mitzvot, they are inconsistent
about which laws they observe.
For example, while most Chris-
tians have no compunction
about eating pork forbidden by
the Torah, many forbid homo-
sexual relations based on the
Torah's prohibition.

Send questions to 'Tell Me Why"
c I o The Jewish News, 27676
Franklin Rd., Southfield, MI
48034 or send fax to 354-6069.


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