Holidays | Hello God, It’s Me- A Semite

Dear Lord, Melech Malchei HaMlachim, HaKadosh Baruch Hu,

I write to you on this most reflective of Judaic occasions with foreboding and the utmost reverence. But alas, you owe me an apology and it has not been forthcoming.

So I have itemized my list of accumulated grievances for which I hold you accountable:

You allowed a Christian fundamentalist student in my Jewish history class to give me a bad course evaluation, when, according to Scripture, you should have struck her down for blasphemy.

You took my Grandmother in great suffering and denied me the chance to say goodbye.

You violently destroyed the cover of my hot tub during a hurricane in what, my insurance company has assured me, was an “act of God”. That would be you.

Unlike Moses, I did not strike a rock to quench my thirst when my pickup broke down in the scorching heat of Dixie. I talked politely to the rock, in loshn koydesh, yet my thirst was not quenched.

You caused me to tear an unseemly gaping hole in the crotch area of my favorite pair of shorts while I was hopping over a fence to rescue my son’s embroidered Torah pillow. If you insist on exposing my genitals while I attempt to save the Word of God, then you are in dire need of therapy.  Seriously.

My lawyer and my Rabbi claim that you have until Yom Kippur to make amends. A card would be nice, but I’ll accept flowers, or a reasonable contribution to my hot tub repairs.


Dr. Jarrod Tanny
One of the Disgruntled Chosen


Dear Dr. Tanny,

I’m afraid I’ve never heard of you and you aren’t listed in my Jewish rolodex.

So I had my graduate student research assistant search through my archives, and lo and behold, you are indeed some poor Jewish schlep I have failed to notice.  I can now respond to your grievances as I see fit.

I do agree that you have suffered unjustly from the hurricane.  You and your hot tub should not have to undergo such awful gut-wrenching tribulations.  But blame does not lie with me.  Your insurance company had no business invoking this irksome “act of God” crap. I may not have gone to law school, but as the author of the Ten Commandments, I’m certain this constitutes libel, slander, and fraud.  So I suggest you sue them. Or, better yet, I can visit myself upon them, biblically speaking.  No worries man, I can do you a solid before we usher in the Sabbath Bride next week.  El Shaddai will be takin’ care of business.  All I need from you is their IP address.

Now regarding your underwear / Torah pillow mishap.  First off, that’s waaay too much information about your privates, Habibi.  I’m embarrassed to admit it but I’ve been a bit squeamish about penises and stuff ever since watching some 90 year old shmendrik circumcise himself in the desert (Genesis 17:23).  And  I never authorized the printing of my work on pillows.  It’s tacky, and borderline plagiarism.

Finally, my tech support team has uncovered video footage of you, Dr. Tanny, one of the “Chosen”, drinking a pina colada smoothie within 30 yards of a Chabad house on Yom Kippur.  While I admire your chutzpah, such tropical transgressions are grounds for excommunication (Talmud Bavli, Order Moed, Tractate Smoothy 1:16). As far as I’m concerned this breach of the Covenant makes us even.

I will not be sending you any flowers, but you do deserve some new underwear – for everyone’s sake.  I shall keep my Covenant and unleash my wrath against those who have taken my name in vain.  For “you will know I am the Lord when I lay my vengeance upon you” (Samuel L. Jackson, Pulp Fiction).  So be on the lookout for a minor leprosy epidemic in the insurance industry.

If you are still dissatisfied with these arrangements, and, as a Jew, you will undoubtedly complain, then I suggest you contact my attorney, Stan Shattenstein. He’s a real shyster.  Wait until you see him in court.

Your Homey,

I Am That I Am (and don’t you forget it!)

P.S. Please tell your fellow tribesmen that it’s time to get over this whole chosenness business. It’s getting rather stale.
P.P.S. Oh, and you are not a real doctor.


Born and raised in Montreal, Jarrod Tanny is Assistant Professor of History at the University of North Carolina WilmingtonHis book City of Rogues and Schnorrers examines how the city of Odessa was mythologized as a Jewish city of sin, celebrated and vilified for its Jewish gangsters, pimps, bawdy musicians, and comedians.