Fun_People Archive
3 Mar
Learning Latin

Content-Type: text/plain
Mime-Version: 1.0 (NeXT Mail 3.3 v118.2)
From: Peter Langston <psl>
Date: Mon,  3 Mar 97 16:30:59 -0800
To: Fun_People
Subject: Learning Latin

Forwarded-by: (Jean Tenenbaum)
Forwarded-by: Zeke Anderson <>
From: George Burns' last book, "100 Years, 100 Stories"


During one of my many trips to London, I became friends with a very wealthy,
yet very modest, Jewish chap named Hyman Goldfarb.  On one visit, Hy told
me that because of his large donations to charities through the years, the
queen wanted to knight him, but he was going to turn it down.

"That's a great honor," I said. "Why would you turn it down?"

"Because during the ceremony you have to say something in Latin," he said.
"And I don't wish to bother studying Latin just for that."

"So say something in Hebrew. The queen wouldn't know the difference."

"Brilliant," Hy complimented me, "but what should I say?"

"Remember that question the son asks the father on the first night of
Passover? ... 'Why is this night different from all other nights?'  Can you
say that in Hebrew?"

"Of course," he said. "Ma nishtana ha leila hazeh.  Thank you, old sport,
I shall become a knight."

At the ceremony Hy waited his turn while several of the other honorees went
before the queen.  Finally they called his name.  He knelt before Her
Majesty, she placed her sword on one shoulder and then on the other, and
motioned for Hy to speak.

Out came "Ma nishtana ha leila hazeh."

The queen turned to her husband and said, "Why is this knight different from
all other knights?"

prev [=] prev © 1997 Peter Langston []