Once upon a time in Hungary… September 13, 2005Posted by BiB in Uncategorized.
This made me cackle. From Adloyada.
In the old days in Hungary, a talmudic scholar was riding home to his shtetl from Budapest. Opposite him sat a prosperous assimilated Jew, smoking a cigar. So why, thought the scholar, is such a man as this on his way to our shtetl? He’s too old to be married to Shprintzee’s Golda, and too wealthy to need to make a match with the widow Goldschuss. Nu, so is he coming to deal with Mottel Kohn’s bankruptcy? But Mottel Kohn’s too much of a schemer to deal with an outsider– this man must be family. So let’s see, he can’t be Mottel’s sister Soreh’s son, because she was only married twenty seven years ago, and he’s thirty five if he’s a day. Nu, so who could it be but his brother Beinish’s boy–yes, he was married about thirty-seven years ago. So he must be a lawyer, Dr Kohn. No, he’s never going be a successful lawyer in Budapest with such a Jewish name. So he must have changed it to Kovacs.. So he turns to the man and says, “Excuse me, Dr Kovacs, do you mind if I open the window?” “No,” replies the startled stranger, “but tell me, how did you know my name?” “Oh,” says our scholar, “it was obvious…”
(adapted from Nathan Ausubel’s “A Treasury of Jewish Folklore”)