RIP: Rabbi Hyman Krustofski

You’ll need your “How Jews View the World” translation manual to understand it fully, given its target audience of fellow Jews, but in Time magazine, James Poniewozik discusses the recent Simpsons episode where Krusty the Clown’s father, Rabbi Hyman Krustofski, dies (“The Simpsons Watch: Heaven, I’m in Jewish Heaven“.)

In a TV-sitcom medium that often ignores Jewish experience or writes it in as subtext, that relationship and its details were something special. And there was a brilliant absurdity to leaving Krusty with that Talmudic, torturously ambiguous “Eh”–that most malleable of Jewish judgments–leaving Krusty to decide, on his own, whether his life has been worth it.

What does the “Eh” mean? Over time–with the help of a whiskey funnel, a dream sequence and a comedy rabbi–Krusty finds an answer: that his father really approved of him, even if he could never express it. It’s an answer; it’s not the answer, which Krusty will never get any more than the rest of us will…

And as for you, Rabbi Krustovski, we’ll see you in non-existent Jewish Heaven. Save me an egg cream and a giant slice of dill pickle.

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