Jewish Wit and Wisdom
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Jewish Wit and Wisdom

Allen Lipis shares some of the funny and serious quotes he’s compiled over the years, mostly from Jewish sources.

I am a huge collector of quotations. I have several dozen books of quotations and I read them from time to time to enjoy seeing how, in only a few words, an important statement can be made about life. I thought I would list some of the best sayings I could find, most from Jewish celebrities or comedians. Enjoy.

To tickle your funny bone

Albert Einstein

There are two things that are infinite: the universe and man’s stupidity,… and I am not sure about the universe.
– Albert Einstein, physicist

Surrounding yourself with dwarfs does not make you a giant.
– Folk saying

Too bad that all the people who know how to run the country are driving taxis and cutting hair.
– George Burns, comedian

A verbal agreement isn’t worth the paper it’s written on.
– Samuel Goldwyn, Hollywood magnate

I’ve been rich and I’ve been poor. Rich is better.
– Sophie Tucker, singer

Insanity is hereditary; you get it from your children
– Sam Levenson, comedian

In New York City, a man borrowed $25 from a bank for six months to travel to Europe and left his expensive car as collateral. The bank thought it wasn’t necessary but did it. The man said to a friend, “Where could I park my car in Manhattan for that length of time for only $1.50?
– Bentley Drivers Club

You do research carefully, like a porcupine makes love.
– Leo Rosten, writer

Show me a man who comes home in the evening, is greeted with a smile, encouraged to take his shoes off, has pillows arranged on the floor for him, and is served a delicious meal, and I’ll show you a man who lives in a Japanese restaurant
– Joe E. Lewis, comedian

Eddie Canto

It takes 20 years to make an overnight success
– Eddie Cantor, actor

Anyone who says he can see through women is missing a lot.
– Groucho Marx, comedian

Actor Alan King called his doctor saying he was very sick. The receptionist said, “How about next Wednesday?” King said, “Fine, I’ll have the hearse drop me off.”
– Alan King, actor

When I came to dinner, my mother had only two things on her menu, take it or leave it.
– Buddy Hackett, comedian

Anytime a person goes into a delicatessen and orders a pastrami on white bread, somewhere a Jew dies.
– Milton Berle, comedian

At the racetrack, I follow horses, and the horses I follow, follow other horses.
– Joe E. Lewis, comedian

Wisdom of the ages

If I am not for myself, who is for me? And if I am only for myself, what am I? And if not now, when?
– Rabbi Hillel

Arthur Miller

A salesman has got to dream, boy. It comes with the territory.
– Arthur Miller, writer

There is no such thing as a free lunch
– Milton Friedman, economist

Against every great and noble endeavor are a thousand mediocre minds.
–Albert Einstein

It is not incumbent on you to finish the task, but neither are you free to absolve yourself from it.
– Rabbi Tarfon

You may be disappointed if you fail, but you will be doomed if you don’t try.
– Beverly Sills, opera singer

It’s not how much or how little you have that makes you great or small, but how much or how little you accomplish with what you have.
– Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch

To have a friend, be one.
–Viscount Herbert Samuel,
British politician

My idea of an agreeable person is a person who agrees with me.
– Benjamin Disraeli
British prime minister

Experience is what we call the accumulation of our mistakes.
– Folk saying

Dear Abby

The best index to a person’s character is how he treats people who can’t do him any good, and how he treats people who can’t fight back.
– Dear Abby, Columnist

What you do not want others to do to you, do not do to them
– Rabbi Hillel

An angry man is unfit to pray.
– Rabbi Nachman Breslov

A half-truth is a whole lie.
– Proverb

When I get to Heaven, I will not be asked, “Why weren’t you like Moses, or why weren’t you like Abraham?” They will ask, “Why weren’t you like Zusha?”
– Rabbi Zusha

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