By Simon Rocker
March 17, 2011
I have a brief story in this week's paper about rabbis in Stamford Hill clamping down on over-the-top Purim celebrations this year.
They were worried about people hiring open top buses or horse and carriages.
Why the concern about horses?
Here's an explanation, courtesy of the If You Tickle Us blog:
"Mind you talking of jokes there is little to beat the most recent ban... In the run up to Purim a local camera shop, the Camera Media Centre in Dunsmure Road had an idea. An idea? In Stamford Hill? A shop called ‘media’! You can see where this is heading. Anyway, they hired a horse drawn carriage to peddle their wares up and down the square mile. And so a carriage was hired, horses were harnessed, adverts placed, goods displayed, driver seated, whip in hand and…
But then a whip even larger and even thicker appeared.
The horses had not dumped some manure on our litter-free streets before the rabbis beat them to it. For no sooner had the blinkers been affixed and the rabbis snorted. Nein, they said. We can't have horses in Stamford Hill. Just imagine what will happen if a brother were to take his little sister to see the sight, his sister meets a friend and presto the boy will be in the company of an alien girl, Go- forbid. Out! No horses in our stables.
There is a saying, if your horse says no, you either asked the wrong question or asked the question wrong. With a rabbi it's the right question that gets you no, no and no every time. To paraphrase a Yiddish proverb, itself a paraphrase of a verse in Proverbs, there is no wisdom nor understanding nor counsel against a stubborn horse rabbi.
Or as we say in England, a horse, a horse, my rabbi for a ferd!"