deathbed wisdom

The great rabbi was dying and, as we all know, deathbed wisdom is the best.  So his students lined up, single file, to receive his last words. The most brilliant student was at bedside, the second most brilliant student behind him, and so on, till the line ended at a pleasant enough fellow who was a good room and a half away.  The most brilliant student leaned over to the slowly slipping rabbi and asked, "Rabbi, what is the meaning of life?" 

The rabbi groaned, "Life is like a cup of tea."  The most brilliant student turned to the second most brilliant student.  "The rabbi said, “Life is like a cup of tea." And the word was whispered from student to student till it arrived at the pleasant enough fellow who was biting his nails a room and a half away.  "What does the rabbi mean, 'Life is like a cup of tea'?" he asked. And the word passed back up the line till the most brilliant student leaned once again over the slowly slipping rabbi. "Rabbi, what do you mean, ‘Life is like a cup of tea’?"

The rabbi shrugged, "All right, then, so maybe life is not like a cup of tea!"