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")
It's obvious why I chose the name Adloyada. After all, Adloyada is what they call Purim festival carnival parades in Israel which usually take place around February to March. And this is London, and I'm enjoying a beautiful warm summer day at the end of August. I had no intention of going anywhere near the Notting Hill Carnival this year. So it was obvious, wasn't it?
Adolyada is the Hebrew "ad lo yada" which means "until you won't know (the difference)". It refers to the requirement of Jews on Purim that they should uncharacteristically drink until they can't tell the difference between the hero of Purim, Mordechai, the wise and good Jew, and Haman, the evil exterminationist anti-semitic villain. But about the only drinking I ever do is kiddush wine on Shabbos and the festivals. And I've never drunk enough to be unable to tell the difference. So it was obvious, wasn't it?
But Adloyada is also an allusion to the not-what-it-seems and the not-what-you'd-think of the Purim story.And to the way Jews traditionally respond to this story of near-disaster by dressing up and making themselves ridiculous. To the fact that it's all about insight and change coming from the most unexpected sources, and apparent chance and reversal putting paid to the most careful plans. Sounds so familiar, it was obvious....