Jewish Journal

Strange translations of the Four Questions

by Brad A. Greenberg

April 20, 2008 | 1:38 pm

“Like why is this night, like totally different…”

If at a Passover seder last night you heard that question, asked that way, you probably live in my neighborhood. According to “300 Ways to Ask the Four Questions: From Zulu to Abkhahaz,” that is the Valley Girl translation for the first question. Translations for Klingon, Lawyerese and the ever-useful Sumerian, not to mention actual spoken languages, can be found in this Jewish Journal story and at Whyisthisnight.com.

My favorite variation, though came from my VideoJew colleague, in a language he dubbed, and I remember well, College BS:

“There are many interesting and unique variances of this night, however one of the most central issues is its difference from that of other nights.  One may ask the question, ‘why?’  But to answer such question with such a response would be to demean the very question at hand.  For that reason, I believe this night is differ from others, not simply because of the matzah, seders and reclining, but because of the family, happiness and reunion. In conclusion, to state one reason why any night is different from others would be to degrade that which makes all other nights uniformly pleasant.”

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