Thursday, March 15, 2007

A joke for the season: The Jewish knight

Thought some of you might like this. Nothing to do with Harry Potter and Torah, but I thought you might enjoy it.

A British Jewish man named David Cohen was honored to become a knight of the British empire. After being told of the honor, he was instructed in the ceremony in which he would have to participate. The group of new knights would appear before the queen, each would kneel, recite a ceremonial sentence in Latin, be tapped on the shoulders by the queen's sword, and would thereafter be a knight of the realm.

The problem was that David Cohen couldn't memorize the Latin phrase that he would have to say. He practiced and practiced and practiced, but he just couldn't get the Latin words to come out right. As the day of the ceremony grew closer, he got more and more worried, and spent hours trying to learn the Latin, but he couldn't get it.

On the day of the ceremony, he figures he'll just have to bluff his way through. He goes to the ceremony, and there's the queen with her ceremonial sword, dubbing the new knights. Knight after knight is saying the Latin phrase, but when it's David's turn, he freezes. He just can't say the Latin! In sheer panic, he kneels as he's supposed to, and says to himself, "OK, the queen probably doesn't know Latin either, I'll just say something in a weird-sounding language and she won't know the difference." So he wracks his brain for something weird-sounding, and remembers an obscure sentence from his youth: "Ma nishtana ha'laila ha'zeh mi'kol ha'leilot."

The room goes silent. Noone knows what to make of this! The queen turns to her nearest advisor and asks him: "Why is this knight different from all the other knights?"

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