R Eli Clark / I sat there with Sally. We sat on the bus. We sat there together. No one made a fuss. Then who came aboard? The Fanat in the Hat! And he said to us, “How can you sit like that? “You know it is wrong To sit next to each other.” I said, “She’s my sister, And I am her brother.” He pointed at Sally, “Go back there to sit. If you stay in front, I think I will spit.

The Fanat in the Hat

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The Fanat in the Hat and Other Stories
Adar guest post by R. Eli D. Clark
(with apologies to Dr. Seuss)

Rabbi Eli D. Clark lives in Bet Shemesh, Israel. He served as Halakha editor of the Koren Sacks Siddur and also practices international tax law.

THE FANAT IN THE HAT

I sat there with Sally.
We sat on the bus.
We sat there together.
No one made a fuss.

Then who came aboard?
The Fanat in the Hat!
And he said to us,
“How can you sit like that?

“You know it is wrong
To sit next to each other.”
I said, “She’s my sister,
And I am her brother.”

He pointed at Sally,
“Go back there to sit.
If you stay in front,
I think I will spit.

“I do not want to see you
Go out or come in.
Your elbows are showing
And making men sin.”

“I paid for my seat
Just like you,” Sally cried.
“I can sit where I want!
It’s for me to decide!”

“Where do you think you are?
This is not Tel Aviv.”
The Fanat in the Hat said,
“Sit in back or you leave.”

“Now do as I say,
You loose woman, you.”
Then out from behind
Came Thug One and Thug Two.

They had beards, they had hats,
And they wore black and white.
Their fingers were curled
Into fists that were tight.

They were big, they were mean,
And they blocked our way.
They did not look like men
Who learn Torah all day.

They screamed at poor Sally.
“Prutzoh!” they shouted.
“We will take care of you.”
And we did not doubt it.

We looked up to heaven.
We looked left and right.
Should we try to run
Or stand up and fight?

We needed a plan,
A way to escape,
Before those two Thugs
Squashed us both like a grape.

Then Thug One and Thug Two
Shouted, “Oy! Help us please!”
The Fanat in the Hat
Just fell to his knees.

What made them shake
And what made them yelp?
What made those bullies
Cry out for help?

We looked and we saw
A giant black cat,
Walking erect
In a red and white hat.

The Cat in the Hat
Looked the Thugs in the eye.
“These things need to stop.
And I’ll tell you why.

“Scaring young women
Is not a good game.
Worse, it is causing
A Hillul Ha-Shem.

“Here is a new game
To play,” said the cat.
“The game is called boxing.
Are you good at that?”

The Thugs said, “We box.
When we finish with you,
You will lie on your back
For a week or for two.”

The cat pulled a box out
And opened the top.
We heard a big voom
That made everything stop.

The Fanat in the Hat
And the Thugs in their beards
Were sucked into the box.
They all disappeared.

The cat closed the lid
And sealed it with glue.
“Goodbye,” said the cat,
“And good riddance to you.”

The cat said to us,
“You can sit as before.
Those three nuts will not
Bother you any more.”

“Oh, they will,” Sally said,
“For good or for bad.
Those men in your box
Are my brothers and Dad.”


CLOP FROM POP

GOWN
BROWN
Her gown is brown.
Brown makes us frown.
The brown gown must leave town.
BLACK
BACK
If she wears black,
She can come back.

HOP
POP
Sukkah-hop.
Ate non-stop.
Drank some pop.
Ate a giant lollipop.
And a pound of lemon drops.
My Pop took a strop
And gave me a clop.

LATE
WAIT
My date is late.
I wait and wait.
The cake is great.
Oh, how I ate!
I am overweight.

DRINK
SINK
Do not drink
From the sink.
The water has bugs, I think.

WALL
ALL
The Western Wall
Is open to all,
Short and tall,
Except for a woman with gall
in a prayer shawl.

HEAR
CLEAR
We hear the shiur
From Rabbi Greer.
The shiur is clear.
After shiur
I drink a beer
And fall on my rear.

GET
YET
She will not get
Her get yet, I bet.
She first must offset
Her ex-husband’s debt.

FRED
RED
HEAD
See Fred.
See the redhead.
A pretty co-ed.
She is pre-med.
Very well-read.
Also well-bred.
Now they are wed.
Her pretty redhead
Has a sheitel instead.
Fred feels misled.

PAY
DAY
SAY
If you pay
In cash today,
I save tax. What do you say?
Okay?
Hooray, hooray!
Sorry, I cannot stay.
It is time for me to pray.


GREEN CHEESE AND HAM

Do you eat green cheese and ham?

I do not eat them, Sham-I-am.

Would you eat if no one saw?

I could not, would not break the law.

Would you eat them with O-U,
If the rabbi ate them too?
Would you eat them on a plate
After a 6 hour wait?

I do not eat green cheese and ham.
I do not eat them, Sham-I-am.

If a Jew turned on the gas?
If the dish was made of glass?
What if I would serve it cold
To kids below 13 years old?

We cannot eat green cheese and ham.
It’s in the Torah, Sham-I-am.

If the cheese is neufchâtel
Made from Cholov Yisroel?
If the workers making it
Come from the Chief Rabbinate?

I must not eat green cheese and ham.
I must not eat them, Sham-I-am.

But this ham is just a sham,
Made of soy, said Sham-I-am.

Then it is not really ham,
I will try them, Sham-I-am.
Say, I like green cheese and ham!
I do, I like them, Sham-I-am!

Tell me, please, cooked soya bean –
What is done to make it green?

What I do, said Sham-I-am,
Is add some peas and one fresh clam!

Copyright © 2012 by Eli D. Clark. All Rights Reserved. Reprinted here with permission.

About Eli Clark

28 comments

  1. Hilarious!

  2. I know the picture doesn’t really match the story but I couldn’t resist.

  3. I like this new Adar theme. 😉

  4. could have used for the post below as well.

  5. I suppose either side could write this, but how bout a short story titled the BS in BS?

  6. Cute, but I thought we were over this. This hasn’t been an issue locally for months, can we leave it behind? My sister-in-law sat in the front of the bnei brak charedi bus and they didn’t say a word to her the entire ride here.

  7. “My sister-in-law sat in the front of the bnei brak charedi bus and they didn’t say a word to her the entire ride here.”

    And someone else’s sister-in-law was told to move to the back.

  8. Wow Eli Clark is back!!! It’s been a few years since we had a purim submission. Keep em coming!

  9. This is great stuff, but I don’t think I’m ready to laugh about it yet.

  10. Yehoshua Friedman

    Suess v’rochvo rama baham! Clark rocks!

  11. “I’m the Loraxskon and I speak for the Gedolim”

  12. well played, indeed!

  13. Only read the first poem. I liked it until the very last paragraph. There was no reason to make the jerks the father and brother. It clouds an otherwise clear good vs. evil story.

  14. I’m definitely a big fan of the Adar theme, at the moment. But Yoshua Friedman and MJ have won the comment thread.

  15. Menachem Lipkin

    “Cute, but I thought we were over this. This hasn’t been an issue locally for months, can we leave it behind? My sister-in-law sat in the front of the bnei brak charedi bus and they didn’t say a word to her the entire ride here.”

    You have to be kidding… (Oh maybe you are, in the spirit of Adar.) Things like this happen every day all over Israel, and especially in Bet Shemesh. If you have the attention span of a news cycle, then yes for you it’s over. For the rest of us, who have to live with these “fanats”, it’s been going on for years and there’s no end in site.

  16. Hats off 🙂 to Rabbi Clark!

  17. CLARK
    PARK
    Eli Clark
    Lives in RBS park.
    We will not hark
    his bite or bark,
    ‘Cuz his words
    are full of snark.

  18. “Only read the first poem. I liked it until the very last paragraph. There was no reason to make the jerks the father and brother. It clouds an otherwise clear good vs. evil story.”

    You mean black and white?

  19. Yes, thank you Rafael. That is indeed what I meant; even when I submitted my comment, I had a sense that something about it wasn’t accurately representing what I meant to say. I appreciate your correction.

  20. Okay. However, with you comment and others, and not agreeing with or justifying these types of acts, I get the feeling that MO commentators here don’t like Rabbi Clark’s composition because it didn’t present things in a black or white manner. However, I think you and others are taking this way too seriously and need to lighten up.

  21. Raphel,

    When I see a “Cat in the Hat” type poem in honor of Purim, I’m not expecting nuance and ambiguity. It was a bit jarring, that’s all.

  22. “When I see a “Cat in the Hat” type poem in honor of Purim…”

    Please refer me to all other cat-in-the-hat-type purim poems you’re aware of. I’m dying to read them!

  23. “Please refer me to all other cat-in-the-hat-type purim poems you’re aware of. I’m dying to read them!”
    The firstone that comes to mind is Dr. Seuss’ Four Questions for pesach

    http://www.jewishfood-list.com/komedy/4quesdrseuss01.html

  24. GET
    DEBT
    A poor woman
    has a debt
    how can she
    get out of debt?

    She gets married
    She gets a get
    She gets the kids,
    He gets the debt

  25. Re other Seuss-like poems, see the matter with Mada, not sure if it’s online . . . .

  26. Very cute, but the Fanat in the Hat was superb. I can only wonder what the reaction would be if someone in the Charedi world would write a similar observation re the MO and RZ worlds.

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