|After months of negotiation with the authorities, aTalmudist from Odessa was granted permission to visitMoscow. He boarded the train and found an empty seat.At the next stop a young man got on and sat next tohim. The scholar looked at the young man and thought:This fellow doesn't look like a peasant, and if heisn't a peasant he probably comes from this district.If he comes from this district, then he must be Jewishbecause this is, after all, a Jewish district. On theother hand, if he is a Jew, where could he be going?I'm the only Jew in our district who has permission totravel to Moscow. Ahh? But just outside Moscow thereis a little village called Samvet, and Jews don't needspecial permission to go there. But why would he begoing to Samvet? He's probably going to visit one ofthe Jewish families there, but how many Jewishfamilies are there in Samvet? Only two - theBernsteins and the Steinbergs. The Bernsteins are aterrible family, and a nice looking fellow like himmust be visiting the Steinbergs. But why is he going?The Steinbergs have only daughters, so maybe he'stheir son-in-law. But if he is, then which daughterdid he marry? They say that Sarah married a nicelawyer from Budapest, and Esther married a businessmanfrom Zhitomer, so it must be Sarah's husband. Whichmeans that his name is Alexander Cohen, if I'm notmistaken. But if he comes from Budapest, with all theanti-Semitism they have there, he must have changedhis name. What's the Hungarian equivalent of Cohen?Kovacs. But if they allowed him to change his name, hemust have some special status. What could it be? Adoctorate from the University for sure. At this pointthe scholar turns to the young man and says, "How doyou do, Dr. Kovacs?" "Very well, thank you, sir." answered the startledpassenger. But how is it that you know my name?" "Oh," replied the Talmudist, "it was obvious."