"Before he began his lesson to the scholars," says the Babylonian Talmud (Shabbat 30b), "Rabba used to say a joking word, and the scholars were amused. After that, he sat in dread, and began the lesson."So the rabbis did have a sense of humor. But is something like the following passage humorous, or just ridiculous? I mean, it does include a "Why does the chicken ..." question.
Rabbi Zera encountered Rabbi Yehuda standing by the door of his father-in-law’s house. He observed that Rabbi Yehuda was in a very cheerful mood and understood that if he asked him the secrets of the universe, he would tell him. Rabbi Zera asked: Why do the goats go first at the head of the flock and then the sheep? Rabbi Yehuda replied: It is in accordance with the creation of the world. First there was darkness and then there was light [the goats are dark colored and the sheep are white]. Rabbi Zera asked: Why do the sheep have [thick] tails which cover them, and the goats do not have tails which cover them? He answered: Those with whose material we cover ourselves [i.e., wool of sheep] are themselves covered, while those with whom we do not cover ourselves are themselves not covered. Rabbi Zera asked: Why does a camel have a short tail? He answered: Because the camel eats thorns [and a long tail would get entangled in the thorns]. Rabbi Zera asked: Why does an ox have a long tail? He answered: Because it grazes in the marshland and has to chase away the gnats with its tail. Rabbi Zera asked: Why are the antennae of locust soft [i.e., flexible]? He replied: Because it dwells among willows and if the antenna were hard it would be broken off when it bumped against trees and the locust would go blind. For Shmuel said: If one wishes to blind a locust, let him remove its antennae. Rabbi Zera asked: Why is the chicken’s lower eyelid bent upwards? He answered: Because it lives on the rafters, and if smoke entered its eyes it would go blind. (Babylonian Talmud, Shabbat 77b)
“And you shall speak and say before the L-rd your G-d: ‘An Aramite destroyed my father, and he went down into Egypt and sojourned there, few in number … And the L-rd brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand … And he has brought us into this place and has given us this land, a land flowing with milk and honey. And now behold I have brought the first-fruit of the land which You, O L-rd, have given me ...’ ”