There once was a powerful Japanese emperor who needed a new chief samurai. So he sent out a declaration throughout the entire known world that he was searching for a chief.
A year passed, and only three people applied for the very demanding position: a Japanese samurai, a Chinese samurai, and a Jewish samurai.
The emperor asked the Japanese samurai to come in and demonstrate why he should be the chief samurai. The Japanese samurai opened a matchbox, and out popped a bumblebee. Whoosh! went his sword. The bumblebee dropped dead, chopped in half. The emperor exclaimed, “That is very impressive! “The emperor then issued the same challenge to the Chinese samurai, to come in and demonstrate why he should be chosen. The Chinese samurai also opened a matchbox and out buzzed a fly. Whoosh, whoosh, whoosh, whoosh! The fly dropped dead, chopped into four small pieces. The emperor exclaimed, “That is very impressive!” Now the emperor turned to the Jewish samurai, and asked him to demonstrate why he should be the chief samurai. The Jewish Samurai opened a matchbox, and out flew a gnat. His flashing sword went Whoosh! But the gnat was still alive and flying around.
The emperor, obviously disappointed, said, “Very ambitious, but why is that gnat not dead?” The Jewish Samurai just smiled and said, “Circumcision is not meant to kill.”
Point #1 – No other group, including the emperor, was denigrated in order to generate the humor. Historically, Jewish humor has been sensitive to the inferior position of Jews in a given culture and has striven to be uplifting rather than degrading of others. However, Jewish humor is often self-denigrating.
Point #2 – There is a wonderful ambiguity between taking the joke at its plain meaning or as an act of unbridled chutzpah. When in doubt, the holy grail (ahem) of the Jewish comedian is chutzpah. It is true Jewish mothers feed their children chutzpah in their breast milk.
Point #3 – There never was nor is such a thing as Jewish samurai, at least as of today.