Recently discovered call-transcripts and e-mails from Beirut.
I'm not sure what to make of them.
You tell me.
Hello? Can I speak to reb Hamaninejad,? Just tell him that it’s Nazzy – Sheikh Nasrallah.
Hi, Manny? Nazzy here. Yeah fine, fine, they’re fine too. Look, I was just calling to mention that I’m going on vacation in a few weeks. Yeah, I’m trying to book a better hotel than last time, you wouldn’t believe the horrid tea-room, and the crappy milchiks they served. And that last day was a disaster! They advertised a Grand Finale Dinner, and then went ahead and served some freakin’ pareve crap and a plate of cheese! Yeah, I know, shouldha gotten the reservations earlier. Okay, I’ll let you know the exact dates. Oh, and by the way, thanks for the summer sausage from Danish Village, that was so thoughtful of you!
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Bash-Bash old boy,
A note to say we’re thinking of you this festive season, and to tell you to expect a giftbasket by courier – just some summer sausage (from Danish Village!), plus Scotch, herring, and a poundcake. You wouldn’t believe how hard it is to get things in Beirut since the war! Also, the old gal and I will be out of town from the first of April till the eleventh, with the kids. Thanks for that hotel recommendation, anything will be better than last year’s crappy trip – I should know better than to trust Manny.
Your friend and chavrusa,
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Hi, Bashir? This is Manny. Listen, I wanna talk about Nazzy. He’s going on vacation during our lead-up to this year’s incident. Yeah, with the wife and kinderlech, I don’t know, probably Miami. That’s the problem. After Eilat last year he was hopping mad all through summer. What a gekvetsh! There was that 15 minute slog in 80 degree heat from their room to the dining hall, and he only had brought along the cheapo Target travel strollers, not the all terrain Bugaboo Baby Urban Jogger thingy, man, he’s never gonna let me forget that hotel recommendation. Anyhoo, I need you to keep him in Beirut this time. I don’t know, whatever, just kidnap one his boys and tell him the Jews did it. Something. Okay, toodles.
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Hi JeanPierre, this is Bashums, how’s the mishpoche? Oh, we’re fine. Look, we need you to tell Nazzy that our agreement requires him to stay put, or the convoys will stop. Yeah, that means your retainer too, sorry, you know how it is. You’ll do it? Good! Good man, I knew we could count on the French!
Oh, and I'm sending you some summer sausage from Danish Village, you meaty boy. When are you coming to Damascus again? You know we always have room for you!
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Salaam aleikum, ya Abu Qaboum, this is Jean Pierre, can I speak to the boss, sweetie? What do you mean ‘no’? Is he still asleep? Oh, at the club…… Well, what’s the club’s number? Waddya mean they don’t answer the phone on Saturday! Okay okay okay, I’ll call tomorrow instead!
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Bonjour, Kehal Rodef Yisroel? Bon, bon, I wish to speak with one of your members, monsieur Nasrallah, tell him it’s urgent. He’s incommoded? What? A tradition, you say? Please explain. Okay, I will call Abu Qaboum! Imbecile!
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Listen, tayere Jean-Pierre, es iz a sach, a gefahl. Each year we celebrate this famous anniversary, veistu, by recounting the tale with much drinking and noise. Nazzy loves the tradition and always has a good time – a VERY good time. No, he doesn’t have a drinking problem, Saturdays he just comes by the club with his fringy beach-blanket and has one little kiddush with the guys. Just one! But today, alas, he’s totally blotto. So I’m sorry, but you really can’t speak to him today. Emmes!
Yeah, and a freilichah purim to you too!
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Dear Mr. Assad,
Pursuant our recent conversation, I regret to inform you that I have as yet not been able to contact Mr. Nasrallah, despite several attempts. According to his secretary, he has been unavailable and "under the weather" due to recent festivities celebrating the battle of Shushan.
There have been other such incidents involving Mr. Nasrallah, and I feel I must also mention that his Saturday morning benders make him seem less than reliable; we French are a businesslike people, as you know, and my superiors appreciate efficiency and predictability.
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Please don’t call me "Mr. Assad" – we’re friends! And I already told you to call me Bashums, that’s what everybody at the baths call me. Besides, you’ve seen me naked. Remember the summer sausage from Danish Village?
In any case, you’ll just have to live with Nazzy’s odd habits. Yes, he drinks when he’s at the club - he jolly well has to. Have you seen that wife of his? Spitting image of his shvigger, I think they even buy the same size bras and burqas. And hey, it WAS purim – everyone gets shikker on purim.
Let me tell you what purim is about.
On purim we celebrate the loss of Esther Hamalka’s bisulta before the battle of Shushan. And anything like a chasoonah, of course, means lots of bronfen. According to Rava, one is obligated to get so utterly stinko that one can not tell the difference between Haman and Mordechai the man of dubious concern for his niece. Which takes some doing, let me tell you – Haman’s name gets mentioned so often you just want to scream and yell and bang stuff. And have more whiskey. Rava himself once got that sodding blotto on purim that he didn't remember what he did to his chavrusa Rav Zaira, but Rav Zaira could recall it in painful detail a year later, and refused to accept drinks from Rava ever again.
But, as you know, some people will overdo it.
Sheikh Musa Ibn Maimun al Qartubbi, in discussing what happened, advises you to merely have a few quick ones before going to bed, to avoid such incidents, and wrote: "you weren't thinking of drinking that alone, were you? It’s cold tonight, come here big boy".
Sayid Ibn Yusuf al-Fayumi, in his 'Kitab Al Amamat Wa'l Ittikadat', wrote that one should only accept drinks from family men, because they have more reason to be discreet, and will not boast about it the next morning.
The Ayatullah Khomeini, z"l, said that women are not obligated to get drunk, and advises not even inviting them to the party at all, for two very good reasons: fruity cocktails, and wet burqa contests.
Instead, if you really cannot control yourself when drinking it is better to be mezaneh with your chavrusa, if he isn’t throwing up. As is written in the Surat as-Sakran, "when both have achieved that level of intoxication that neither can distinguish between Mordechai and Haman, they can no longer tell the difference between the genders". And it is for this reason that women wear shapeless sacks, whereas men show off hairy chests and gold chains.
Anyway, Purim goes back to the days of Ahashveerus, king in Persia. Mordechai, Esther's "uncle", who had taken her in after her parents died, entered her in a beauty pageant which the king arranged to select a replacement for his wife Vashti the bitch. Esther got selected by the king, not a surprise, as all the other entrants were tzniusdik and, well, you’ve seen their women, you know – exactly like Nazzy’s eishes chayil. And the maiden pleased him (yeah, right), and she obtained his favour; and he soon gave her ointments. More than that, the king loved Esther more than all the women... so that he set a crown upon her head and made her queen instead of Vashti the bitch.
As it turns out, Haman had been the dealer for Vashti the bitch, and was infuriated that Esther had wrecked his influence at court, that pupke, a shande fir di you-know-whatsim, so he planned a drive-by. But Mordechai uncovered the plot just in time when he found the cell-phone Haman left in the bath-house, and so saved the life of the king. Ahashveerus had Haman and his kids strung up and his homies whacked.
Ever since, we celebrate on that day by drinking heavily, exchanging gifts of food, and replacing our wives with younger women.
Hope this makes things clear.
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Dear, dear, Bashums,
Really, I wish you wouldn’t remind me of that incident with the summer sausage from Danish Village, I don’t like American meat, even when it is nice and firm. And what happens in the baths, stays in the baths (you shameless trollop).
Now, that zerdraite meise in you last letter doesn’t at all explain Nazzy’s recent behaviour. Do you know what he was doing this Sunday evening? He was standing outside my window at three in the morning singing! Lecha Dodi at the top of his lungs! Es past nit, b’emmes! I like him, he’s a delicious boy, but the neighbors do NOT need to be know everything about peacekeeping – tell him to back off!
Meanwhile, did you get the gift basket I sent you? Some chocolates, truffles, presidors, wafer rolls… I also made a donation to Hamas in your name, did they send you the thank-you note yet? Write soon,
---J.P (Jean Pierre).
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Yo, Manny baby, whazzup!
We don’t have to do anything at all to keep Nazzy in Beirut – JayPee tells me he’s checked into the Betty Ford clinic in Ashrafiya (the one with that totally buff pool boy who can get you anything you want, for a price). He’ll be there for a while.
However, there is one tiny little problem….. JayPee is becoming a liability. He’s pretty near to blowing our cover, and that ain’t gonna please your ayatollahs or my Saudis. I told you before that Frenchmen are drama-queens, and this one is head over heels, and drunk every night. Should we take the bitch out before he hits the frontpage? Please advise.
Ps. Did you get that summer sausage from Danish Village I sent you? I can’t wait to tell you the story that goes with it!
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Bashums, ya habibi!
So glad to hear that things in B-town are fine, and yes, I got the summer sausage from Danish Village. Dee-lish! I’ve sent you some bottles of Shiraz and a lovely Virginia ham in return - after all, what is a holiday if one doesn’t share the joy?
Now, regarding JayPee. The ayatollahs agree – whack him, and do it quickly. There’s plenty more fab Europeans where that one came from, ha ha ha, and they only have those rosy cheeks when they’re young.
Love and kisses, my little pleasure piggy, love and kisses.