Jeffrey Salkin: Martini Judaism Opinion

When Don Rickles gets to heaven

Comedian Don Rickles speaks after receiving the Johnny Carson Award during the second annual 2012 Comedy Awards in New York City, on April 28, 2012. Photo courtesy of Reuters/Stephen Chernin

Comedian Don Rickles speaks after receiving the Johnny Carson Award during the second annual 2012 Comedy Awards in New York City, on April 28, 2012. Photo courtesy of Reuters/Stephen Chernin

Don Rickles, the iconic insult comedian, has died at the age of ninety.

I cannot begin to count the hours of side-splitting laughter that he brought to me, my family, and countless other people.

Which got me thinking: what will it be like when Don Rickles enters the World to Come, a.k.a. heaven?


Upon meeting Abraham: Yo, Abe! Mind if I call you that? Have I been waiting to meet you! Let’s talk for a moment; you got a minute for me? Yeah, I’ll get to the wife in a second.

Listen to me: I’ve been dying – OK, wrong word, sorry – I’ve been eager to tell you this.

The story about you and your son, whatshisname, Ike, going up the mountain and you almost sacrificing him?

The one that they read every year in shul on Rosh ha Shanah?

OK, so here I am: sitting in my pew at Temple B’nai Whatever It Is in Beverly Hills, and there’s a woman sitting behind me. I have known this woman for decades. For decades, she has been sitting behind me in shul. Every year.

And every year, the rabbi reads from the Torah about you and the kid, and how you almost sacrificed the kid – and every year, she sits on the edge of her chair, and she screams in my friggin’ ear: “Oh, my God, he’s gonna kill the kid!”

And every year, you don’t kill the kid. You’d think that she’d know by now?

Upon meeting Sarah: Soreleh, come here. Nice to meet you. I like you: after all, without you, I would have had nothing to do with my life. You invented laughter! Yes, you!

The legendary Don Rickles performs at the Tropicana Hotel and Casino in Atlantic City, New Jersey, on Jan. 12, 2008. Photo courtesy of Creative Commons/Gary Dunaier

The Guy Upstairs tells you that you are going to have a kid, and you’re what, ninety years old?

The story should have been on the front page of those newspapers that you read on the checkout line at CVS: “Jewish lady, age ninety, gives birth to child.”

You laughed, and ever since then, the world has been filled with laughter.

Good going, lady.

Except one thing: that deal where you threw the help, whatshername, Hagar, and her little ragamuffin into the wilderness – Ishmael.

So the kid grows up, becomes the ancestor of the Arabs, and ever since then, they’ve been mad at us.

Nice move, Hannah Arendt.

Upon meeting Moses: I have to tell you something. You’re a total meshuggeneh.

There. I said it.

I just saw Robin Williams up here, and he told me not to say anything, but what does that shaygets know?

Yeah, yeah: this is you. Kill the Egyptian and hide his body in the sand.

Good move, Einstein. If this were Law and Order, they would have found you out before the first commercial.

So, OK, you lead the Jews out of Egypt; you hit the Red Sea with your staff; you hit the rock; get the commandments at Cedars Sinai (no? It wasn’t Cedars Sinai?); you go totally ballistic over the Golden Calf and kill a bunch of Israelites; you hit the rock again.

Two words for you, Maysh.

Anger management.

And you wonder why they didn’t put your sorry punim into the Haggadah?

Upon meeting Elijah: Listen, I don’t know who the hell you think you are, but I gotta tell you: every year, I’m sitting at seder, waiting for you to come while the kinder are busy looking for the afikomen and then holding it hostage as if the piece of matzah is Patty Hearst, and all I can do is worry.

Yes, worry!

About what?

About you!

Because I do not, I repeat, I do not want to see in the newspaper in the morning that some drunken Judean prophet was picked up by the Great Neck police.

File that one under “not good for the Jews.”

Upon meeting God: OK, You Who Has More Names Than Frank’s Ex-Wives, I got one thing to say to you, and one thing only.

Yes, You have done all sorts of great stuff. I will give you that.

But, let me ask you this.

If You are so great and so hoity all-powerful….no, I am not going to ask you about the Shoah, that’s Elie’s thing, leave me out of it, he has that covered, thank you very much.

And I could ask you about the Syrian children. Excuse me, Mr. Ein Keiloheinu: you rescued the Jews, you can’t rescue the Syrian kids?

What – You’re on sabbatical?

You don’t do Syrians?

No, as bad as that might be, I got another one for you.

All-powerful, huh? Then how come you didn’t let me go to, oh, a hundred?

And another thing.


And another thing: mold.

Why? Were they so necessary that You couldn’t do without them? When you were drawing up the plans for creation, did You ever stop for one bleeding minute and say to yourself or to your mafia of angels up there: do we really need acne? Do we really need mold?

But, seriously, God: You’re great. Seriously. Great to meet you.

Right about now, God is laughing the Divine Tuchis off.

Go in peace, Mr. Warmth.

About the author

Jeffrey Salkin

Rabbi Jeffrey K. Salkin is the spiritual leader of Temple Solel in Hollywood, Fla., and the author of numerous books on Jewish spirituality and ethics, published by Jewish Lights Publishing and Jewish Publication Society.


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  • Nice wordsmithin’, Rabbi. If you were as smart as I guess you are, you probably had this one ready to go a few weeks or years early.
    Sure, Rickles was an insult comic, but he was never malevolent. Everything he did was in fun. He tended to not be overtly political unlike most, and bless him for, once he got old, never whining about the four-letter words of younger comics. Every insult he threw out was wrapped in love, unlike later comics who hoped to grab his mantle – Andrew Dice Clay, the junior college version of Laverne and Shirley’s Lenny and Squiggy, who could put together complete sentences but they all just reflected his bitterness that the cheerleaders wouldn’t give him their phone numbers; and Dennis Miller, the self-identified “hip” comic who became unpopular after he turned conservative, but not unpopular because he ceased to be liberal, instead unpopular because he ceased to be funny.

  • Unless Don made covenant with the King of the Jews, Himself, neither Don, nor anyone in his vicinity is going to be doing any laughing at all. The only hope for life, laughter and joy in the next age comes through entering into covenant with the resurrected God/Man Jesus, of Nazareth. I pray that you will also embrace Him and His promise of eternal salvation. Peace.

  • You had all that to comment on and all you have is another rank conversion attempt? Sad! Listen, you’ve had almost 2,000 years. We weren’t interested then, we aren’t interested now.

  • Whoa, Arbustin, not all of your brethren feel as you do. For the past 34 years, Jews for Jesus have agreed with Xrucianus. They weren’t interested before that, but are interested now. Have an open mind.

  • Most important message you’ll read all day, Arbustin. You, me and 7.4 billion of us are under a self-destructing curse. God sent His Son to break the curse. When we enter into covenant with Him, we are liberated from what will inevitably destroy us. God loves you tremendously, and urgently wants you to know this so you may enter into covenant with His Son, Jesus Christ. Read the Bible. It’s all in there.
    Father, engage Arbustin’s heart with the revelation of Jesus Christ and His love for him. Encounter him in the night, with dreams and visitations. Surround him w others today who will tell him the truth about Jesus Christ. Let Arbustin know that YOU are bringing hope and love into his life today. Amen.
    Bless you, Arbustin.

  • When Don Rickles opened his eyes, He saw Gabriel and prayed the Kol Nidre,

    All vows and oaths
    We made with the sloth
    Shall be null and void
    Because they’re not humanoids

    And sang a whopper.

    Mondo lay face down in the desert sand
    Clutching a six-pack in his hand
    I shot him from behind, I thought he was dead
    For between his nuts lay an ounce of lead
    But the sparks still burned, so I used my knife
    Late that night I ruined the sex life of Mondo (Mondo)

    The days went by, he mended quick
    We took the bandages off his dick
    And what was left wouldn’t please a rabbit
    But he was certainly quick to grab it
    Hours and hours I rolled with laughter
    No woman alive would ever go after Mondo (Mondo)

    One day we rode the mountain crest
    I went east and he went west
    I took the porno, became a star
    while he spread hysterics near and far
    All through the west he gained
    such fame in every bar
    that cracked up at the name of Mondo (Mondo)

    I knew someday I’d face the test
    Which one of us could shoot the best
    And sure enough the word came down
    That he was holed up in the town
    I left my posse in the street
    And I went in to beat the meat with Mondo (Mondo)

    They said my spurt was next to none
    But my lightning hand had just begun
    When I felt the splash across my face
    That let me know who lost the race
    Who shot not once but again and again
    Through the rain I could see the grin of Mondo (Mondo)

    Well they say that was the only time
    That anyone had seen him smile
    He slowly packed his manhood
    And then he said to me, we’re even friend
    Then and there I understood at last
    One could overcome the past like Mondo (Mondo)

    I blocked the path of his retreat
    He turned and stepped into the street
    My posse made way to his crotch
    A moment later he lay soft
    The town began to shout and cheer
    Nowhere was there shed a tear for Mondo (Mondo)

    He got in.

  • Don Rickles is a good example of the analogy of “The Frog in a Pot of Water”.
    The Jews give us Don Rickles so that we will accept the likes of Amy Schumer and Sarah Silverstein.

  • Next thing you know you have EGOT recipient Mel Brooks reducing Nazis into laughing stocks with ironic musical numbers and ice skating.


  • And people have the mendacity to say proselytizing isn’t offensive or obnoxious behavior.

    Too bad your Jesus cheerleading blinds you to how rude and inappropriate your comment was.

    No Sparky, doing something for Jesus doesn’t make all your actions justifiable or acceptable. Rude is rude no matter who you do it for.

  • That was some grade A passive aggressive pouting on your part. Someone doesn’t want to join your little club, and you get all in a flutter.

    The main reason many people don’t want to join your little sewing circle is the obnoxious and inappropriate behavior of them.

    Your posts have no place here.

    A famous person dies, wasn’t christian and you don’t like it, well p!ss off. If you can’t handle people being another faith than you, it’s your problem. Not anyone else’s.

  • Your assertions are those of someone living in a fantasy world supported by a completely non-legitimate source of evidence/authority – the Bible.

    The Bible ranges from purely delusional thoughts to outright fraud/lies. I do think the purely delusional thoughts were from people making an honest effort to understand their world, but they had very little more than ignorance to work with. However, the fraud/lies came from the cleverest people who realized early-on that creating and exploiting the belief in a viciously vengeful god could be highly effective for gaining power, authority, and control over the gullible masses . . . along with often increasing their own wealth. And, behold, organized religion was born.

    It really is pathetic that people cling to the Bible as if it were a legitimate source of authority.

  • No passive aggression or club-mentality here.
    My own near-death, encounter w hell & countless lives who have been dramatically transformed from death to life compel me to urgency. There is indeed a good and loving Lord, named Jesus of Nazareth Who died to liberate you (and me) from sin, death & eternal alienation. He’s returning to put a final end to sin, and rule over this world. Surrender to Him and you can joyfully live under His good reign now.
    BTW – He knows that you’re fascinated w the keys ;o)

  • Oh no! One of those “I love Jesus, everyone must love him as enthusiastic as me” kind of people.

    No self awareness as to how that comes off. Typical tone deafness of proselytizing.

  • You read your book, we’ll read ours. Incidentally, most Jews don’t believe in hell so it’s not a worry.

  • He’s worthy of all my devotion. Dare you engage him, Spuddie. You’ll find He’s worthy of yours as well ;o)

  • Most of his followers are too obnoxious to be around. Especially those who attack the religion of a famous person who passed on. Like yourself

    “I like your Christ…. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.”

    -Mahatma Gandhi

  • 1.) Try stopping being prone to lying, craving what’s not yours, being angry, intolerant or selfish.
    2.) Try not dying.
    A curse (the Bible calls “sin”) afflicts all 7.4 billion of us Spuddie; across race, religion, culture, language and age. Always has.


  • “Unless you believe I Am He, you will die in your sins.” – Jesus of Nazareth (John 8:24)

    If you’re going to love Jesus and hate His followers it’s vital that you love the real Jesus, and not some fantasy, humanistic redaction of the Man. Read the book Spuddie. You WILL be surprised. Blessings.

  • Read it. Silly ending. It certainly didn’t make you a better person. Someone who knows what is appropriate and what is not.

  • Don’t talk to people about intolerance when you insult and demean the religion of the recently deceased.

  • a.) Yes. I am far too intolerant, AND prone to the other aspects of the curse.
    b.) That’s why we need our Savior.
    c.) “Martini Judaism” isn’t really a religion ;o)

  • If indeed, “the only hope for life, laughter and joy in the next age comes through entering into covenant with the resurrected God/Man Jesus”, it’d be inappropriate for me NOT to share this, for Jesus’ sake, and your own. Praying for His grace & love for you, Spuddie. Thanks for the conversation.

  • Leave the dead comedian alone. Show some respect. You are being an offensive obnoxious troll. Jesus followers like you do a disservice to the faith. Bless your heart. I will pray for you.

  • It’s not the dead comedian I’m speaking to. :o) It’s the living who still have a chance.
    THIS is the essence of the Christ-following “faith”, friend:
    “The kingdom of heaven is like a great net that was cast into the sea and gathered some of every kind, which, when it was full, they drew to shore; and they sat down and gathered the good into vessels, but threw the bad away. So it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come forth, separate the wicked from among the just, and cast them into the furnace of fire. There will be wailing and gnashing of teeth.” (Jesus, the Nazarene • 33 A.D.)

  • I have lost patience for your obnoxious and rude diversion away from the life and efforts of one of the all time great comedic figures to focus on your personal issues concerning the religion of others.

    Please be mindful that one does not garner respect by denigrating the beliefs of the respected deceased. Being a Christian is not license for being rude. Its too bad you apparently will never understand that.

  • Better that I denigrate a satirical account of a dead comedian than denigrate God’s very real sacrifice for humanity,
    The above quote from Matthew 13 is Jesus’ cosmology. What’s yours, Spuddie? Where will you be 24 hours after you die?