Smile of the Day

Life is getting much too serious, yes? Who doesn't need a daily smile?

Wednesday, April 12

Why is this night different than any other night?

- from George Burns, 100 Years, 100 Stories

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

"But that is a great honour," I said. "Why would you turn it down?"

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

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

"Brilliant! but what should I say?"

"Remember that question the son asks the father on the first night of Passover: 'Why is this night different than any other night?'? 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?"


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