Author Note: This story is taken from a story that has been expanded upon from the original “kugel” joke set out in Michael Krasny’s wonderful and amazing book “Let There Be Laughter.” The story below adds a bit of CrankaTsuris, and expands on the silliness of the woes of our friend, Schmulie Shmendrick. We should always have some extra kugel, and of course, only from the most expensive potatoes.
“Shiva” is the Jewish word for the seven-day period of mourning that a Jewish person has to do after the passing of a loved one. During this seven day period, family members and friends gather at the house of the deceased, and spend the time mostly eating, but also telling the CrankaTsuris stories of the person who had just passed away.
We learn that these stories are true CrankaTsuris stories because, at the end of each story, the ending is always the same:
“Oy! He (or she) suffered so much! May he (or she) rest in peace!”
This brings me to the story of Schmulie Shmendrick.
Schmulie was lying on his death bed with no more than a day left in this world. Because of this, his beloved daughter came to visit.
“Papa! I am here. I came to see you before it was too late. I want to tell you how much I love you!”
“Thank you, my Shaindel.” Schmulie replied.
“Papa. Before you go, is there anything I can do for you? Any last wish and I will make sure to take care of it!”
Schmulie’s eyes twinkled.
He replied: “That is so thoughtful and sweet, my Shaindel. So, let me tell you. Your mother and I never saw eye to eye. We fought like a cat and a dog. We were like water and oil. We gave each other so much Tsuris to last ten lifetimes. But, the one thing that kept us together was your mother’s delicious kugel. I know that when I get to heaven, the first thing I will ask for is this special kugel.”
“You know, I never really knew if your mother actually loved me. But now, I smell her baking that delicious kugel. Not only is she making this delicious kugel, I can tell by the smell that she is using only the most expensive potatoes. She would always make it for me with the cheap potatoes, but used the expensive potatoes only for the most special occasion.”
“With this smell that I now smell, I can now die knowing that your mother actually did love me. So, please my sweet Shaindel, can you go into the kitchen, and bring me a piece of this kugel that your mother has so lovingly made so I can have this taste and die a happy man before I leave this world?”
“Sure, Papa. I will go now.” Shaindel replied.
Shaindel, the daughter left and went into the kitchen. Schmulie then heard a big commotion with shouting and tussling as if there was a wrestling match in the other room.
Shaindel returned to her father, but she did not have the piece of kugel.
Schmulie asked his daughter:
“Where is the kugel? Did your mother make the tray of kugel?”
“Momma made three trays of kugel.”
“Three trays of the kugel! And, with the expensive potatoes! Oy! So where is my piece of kugel?”
“Momma says she is saving it all for the shiva.”