Is it right to make jokes about minorities? Aren’t they also tzelem Elokim?
It depends on what the purpose of the joke is. If it’s stam leitzanus then no. But if it’s leitzanus of avodah zarah, then yes. Leitzanus of idolatry, of false religions, yes.
Like the Navi says about the idol. כרע בל קרס נבו – Beil squats and Nevo splashes, קרסו כרעו יחדיו לא יכלו מלט משא – They splash and squat together but they can’t deliver the burden (Yeshayah 46:1-2). He’s talking there about an idol and he’s making leitzanus from it. It was an idol with a big belly and the Navi said that this idol apparently has constipation. He’s trying his best to relieve himself but nothing helps. That was said by the Navi in order to impress on people how empty the worship of idols is. That leitzanus is permitted.
But you have to know how to make leitzanus. Not just to be a leitz. You can make leitzanus, but you can’t be a leitz. So leitzanus on its own is absolutely wrong. And to make leitzanus of people because they’re black or brown doesn’t make sense at all. Being black or brown is no sin. You can’t make leitzanus about that.
Now, leitzanus of leitzim, maybe. But the Gemara says “Kol leitzanusa asira, bar me’leitzanusa d’avoda zarah – all leitzanus is forbidden except for the leitzanus you make of avoda zara (Megillah 25b). That leitzanus is permitted because that leitzanus is daas, it’s a clarity of mind. In order to make clear how wrong they are, it’s worth it to make leitzanus and show how silly their beliefs are.
TAPE # E-260 (January 2001)