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Oy Am I Thirsty (Jewish Joke of the Day w/commentary)

Monday, 26 April, 2010 - 9:14 pm

   cold drink.jpg

 Abe is travelling on a bus to to Coney Island about to fall into a sweet nap when suddenly he is jolted awake by the sound of an old Yiddishe bubbeh saying from the back of the bus: "Oy, am I thirsty, Oy, am I thirsty!"

This is repeated over and over again every few minutes. "Oy, am I thirsty. Oy, am I thirsty." Finally, Abe gets up and brings the woman a bottle of water and goes back to his seat to relax. The bus is quiet again and Abe’s just about to nod off when all of a sudden he hears from the back of the bus: "Oy, vas I thirsty… Oy, vas I thirsty…."


With the cry of “Oy vas I thirsty,” the woman on the train reveals that complaints are not always a symptom of need. The complaint itself is the need and thus can never be slaked.

But perhaps the lady on the train is an enlightened one disguised as a kvetch. For normally, once our thirst has been slaked—once we get what we had thirsted for and hankered after—we forget about our former state of need. It does not take long for the gratitude and joy to wear off and our new situation is all we can remember. We are now entitled, smug—and bored.

Not so our lady on the train. Indeed she chants with joy, gratitude and contentment: “Oy, vas I thirsty!”

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* Based on the Baal Shem Tov’s take on King David’s prayer to G-d (Psalms 63:2-3): “Halevai that I should have the same intensity of yearning for You while in Your Holy presence, the sort of thirst of the soul that I experienced while in a parched and tired land, without water.”

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