First you laugh at a Jewish joke or quip. Then, against your will, you suddenly fall silent and thoughtful. And that is because Jews are so frequently jesting philosophers. A hard life has made them realists, realists without illusion.
Folklore is a true and unguarded portrait, for where art may be selective, may conceal, may gloss over defects and even prettify, folk art is always revealing, always truthful in the sense that it is spontaneous expression.
Jews have received their tempering from an unflinching realism learned for a high fee in the school of life; they have always felt the need of fortifying their spirits with the armor of laughter against the barbs of the world.
Of all the astonishing experiences of the widely dispersed Jewish people none was more extraordinary than that concerning the Khazars.
The shnorrer recoiled from demeaning himself? from sheer arrogance and vanity. Since he was obliged to live by his wits, he developed all the facile improvisations of an adventurer? He would terrorize his prey by the sheer daring of his importunities, leaving him both speechless and wilted.
Laughter is a universal bond that draws all men closer.