In his delightful book “A Treasury of Jewish Wit, Wisdom, and Humour,” Chaim Topol has gathered to himself some of the best anecdotes of the Jewish people. While there is treasure on every page, and I laughed out loud at a lot of it, the true prize of this book is that it is as much a reflection of Topol’s personal geniality and charm as it is a reflection of Jews in general. This book is not some random selection of tidbits from the wealth of Jewish history, it is an intimate look at what Topol himself cherishes. Selections include (but aren’t limited to) from Maimonides ( 12th Century Jewish sage, physician, and writer of the Mishnah Torah), and the Talmud to George Burns, Groucho Marx, and Joan Rivers. Topol also includes stories from his own life experiences. In all, the book is an enjoyable wealth of knowledge and deep humor.
In the book’s forward Topol writes
“The choice of possible material is literally endless, so all I could try to do is, like someone dipping into a bottomless coffer of treasure, randomly seize a fistful of jewels and, from these, select the ones which most appeal to me.”
He had chosen worthy treasure. I highly recommend this book to all who enjoy Topol’s other work (Fiddler On the Roof, Sallah Shabati, etc.), as well as those who either enjoy or would like to learn more about the Jewish culture.
Note: I purchased mine through abebooks.com, from an English bookseller. The price was approximately $12 delivered. Amazon wants to charge $22. You decide.