“A moil was retiring and at the end of his career. He went to a tailor, and said ‘I’ve been saving the foreskins from all of the circumcisions I’ve performed in my career.’ ‘I would like you to make something for me out of them.’ He hands the tailor a jar filled with these foreskins. The moil comes back in a week and the tailor hands him a wallet. He said ‘that’s it?’, ‘All of that material and it’s just a wallet?’ The tailor says, ‘rub it, it turns into a suitcase’”. 


This is a joke my dad heard from his “old dirty grandfather” when he was young. He prefaced the joke by explaining that a moil is a rabbi that performs circumcisions. Both my dad and his grandfather are Jewish. 


This text qualifies as a dirty joke in that it deals with socially taboo material such as circumcision, genitalia, and masturbation. This joke toys with what is socially acceptable, especially told to a relatively young child. It is humorous because it is shocking and a little bit grotesque. Telling jokes with “dirty” material is an act of rebellion against social norms, which explains some of the appeal. I also can see this joke as told in this setting as an initiation, or a rite of passage. The fact that this joke was told to my dad at a young age by his grandfather leads me to believe that there was some sort of knowledge exchange or initiation occurring, from an older male member of the Jewish community, to a younger member. Puberty can be seen as a significant rite of passage, and this joke which discusses circumcision, genitalia, and alludes to masturbation, could be an unofficial signifier of male coming of age. This joke is likely only told in male jewish spaces, given that it deals with a Jewish tradition that only applies to males. It could be an indicator of comradery and masculinity in these spaces. In a way, by telling this joke to my dad, his grandfather introduced him to this boys club, signifying his coming of age. It is also interesting that the joke deals with circumcision, which is done at a young age, along with a reference to masturbation, which typically is associated with puberty.