TFW Everything is Apparently the Same, But Radically Different
Your reading, Zohar, is interesting as always! I note that WB tells this story in his essay on Franz Kafka (1934). At first it looks like some version of a Hasidic tale because it begins "In a Hasidic village...", so one might wonder whether perhaps WB heard it from Gershom Scholem or maybe Martin Buber. WB himself suggests that the story "takes us right into the world milieu of Kafka's world." The textual note in "WB Selected Writings" vol 2 informs us that "This joke was current in books of Jewish humor around 1900." So it's not a Hasidic tale, but a joke - which explains why it first struck me as something that might almost have fit not so much in Kafka as in Woody Allen's opening monologue to Annie Hall. Nevertheless, a joke is never only funny, so I appreciate the way in which you uncover additional layers of possible meaning. Thanks!