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Abbott & Costello Learn Hebrew

7th September 2006

I am not sure where I got this little sketch written by Rabbi Jack Moline, but I always enjoy doing it in my introductory Hebrew course in the first couple weeks of classes (I also have a Dr. Seuss Learns Greek which is quite funny).

Abbott & Costello Learn Hebrew

abbott.jpg

ABBOTT: I see you’re here for your Hebrew lesson.

COSTELLO: I’m ready to learn.

ABBOTT: Now, the first thing you must understand is that Hebrew and English have many words which sound alike, but they do not mean the same thing.

COSTELLO: Sure, I understand.

ABBOTT: Now, don’t be too quick to say that.

COSTELLO: How stupid do you think I am – don’t answer that. It’s simple – some words in Hebrew sound like words in English, but they don’t mean the same.

ABBOTT: Precisely.

COSTELLO: We have that word in English, too. What does it mean in Hebrew?

ABBOTT: No, no. Precisely is an English word.

COSTELLO: I didn’t come here to learn English, I came to learn Hebrew. So make with the Hebrew.

ABBOTT: Fine. Let’s start with mee.

COSTELLO: You.

ABBOTT: No, mee.

COSTELLO: Fine, we’ll start with you.

ABBOTT: No, we’ll start with mee.

COSTELLO: Okay, have it your way.

ABBOTT: Now, mee is who.

COSTELLO: You is Abbott.

ABBOTT: No, no, no. Mee is who.

COSTELLO: You is Abbott.

ABBOTT: You don’t understand.

COSTELLO: I don’t understand? Did you just say me is who?

ABBOTT: Yes I did. Mee is who.

COSTELLO: You is Abbott.

ABBOTT: No, you misunderstand what I am saying. Tell me about mee.

COSTELLO: Well, you’re a nice enough guy.

ABBOTT: No, no. Tell me about mee!

COSTELLO: Who?

ABBOTT: Precisely.

COSTELLO: Precisely what?

ABBOTT: Precisely who.

COSTELLO: It’s precisely whom!

ABBOTT: No, mee is who.

COSTELLO: Don’t start that again – go on to something else.

ABBOTT: All right. Hu is he.

COSTELLO: Who is he?

ABBOTT: Yes.

COSTELLO: I don’t know. Who is he?

ABBOTT: Sure you do. You just said it.

COSTELLO: I just said what?

ABBOTT: Hu is he.

COSTELLO: Who is he?

ABBOTT: Precisely.

COSTELLO: Again with the precisely! Precisely who?

ABBOTT: No, precisely he.

COSTELLO: Precisely he? Who is he?

ABBOTT: Precisely!

COSTELLO: And what about me?

ABBOTT: Who.

COSTELLO: me, me, me!

ABBOTT: Who, who, who!

COSTELLO: What are you, an owl? Me! Who is me?

ABBOTT: No, hu is he!

COSTELLO: I don’t know, maybe he is me!

ABBOTT: No, hee is she!

COSTELLO: (STARE AT ABBOTT) Do his parents know about this?

ABBOTT: About what?

COSTELLO: About her!

ABBOTT: What about her?

COSTELLO: That she is he!

ABBOTT: No, you’ve got it wrong – hee is she!

COSTELLO:’ Then who is he?

ABBOTT: Precisely!

COSTELLO: Who?

ABBOTT: He!

COSTELLO: Me?

ABBOTT: Who!

COSTELLO: He?

ABBOTT: She!

COSTELLO: Who is she?

ABBOTT: No, hu is he.

COSTELLO: I don’t care who is he, I want to know who is she?

ABBOTT: No, that’s not right.

COSTELLO: How can it not be right? I said it. I was standing here when I said it, and I know me.

ABBOTT: Who.

COSTELLO: Who?

ABBOTT: Precisely!

COSTELLO: Me! Me is that he you are talking about! He is me!

ABBOTT: No, hee is she!

COSTELLO: Wait a Minute, wait a minute! I’m trying to learn a little Hebrew, and now I can’t even speak English. Let me review.

ABBOTT: Go ahead.

COSTELLO: Now first You want to know me is who.

ABBOTT: Correct.

COSTELLO: And then you say who is he.

ABBOTT: Absolutely.

COSTELLO: And then you tell me he is she.

ABBOTT & COSTELLO: Precisely!

COSTELLO: Now look at this logically. If me is who, and who is he, and he is she, don’t it stand to reason that me is she?

ABBOTT: Who?

COSTELLO: She!

ABBOTT: That is he!

COSTELLO: Who is he?

ABBOTT & COSTELLO: Precisely!

COSTELLO: I have just about had it. You have me confused I want to go home. You know what I want? Ma!

ABBOTT: What.

COSTELLO: I said Ma.

ABBOTT: What.

COSTELLO: What are you, deaf? I want Ma!

ABBOTT: What!

COSTELLO: Not what, who!

ABBOTT: He!

COSTELLO: Not he! Ma is not he!

ABBOTT: Of course not! Hu is he!

COSTELLO: I don’t know. I don’t know. I don’t care. I don’t care who is he, he is she, me is who, ma is what. I just want to go home now and play with my dog.

ABBOTT: Fish.


9 Responses to “Abbott & Costello Learn Hebrew”

  1. D. P. Says:

    That’s great! You’ve got to share the Greek bit, too!

  2. Brian Says:

    Oh man! I think I just hurt something trying not to spit all over my computer at work. Truly funny. And educational :) . You can’t beat that!

  3. Claude Mariottini Says:

    Tyler,

    This is great! Those students who are learning Hebrew will have a great time with this. Thank you for this great post.

    Claude Mariottini

  4. Mike Says:

    Excellent!!!!!! Absolutely excellent. Well done.

  5. Pearl Says:

    Wonderful! I will use it tomorrow with my seventh graders. My children will love it as well.
    Thank you.
    Pearl

  6. Kristy Says:

    Wonderful! I will be emailing the site to a Bible College Greek and Hewbrew Teacher – He will LOVE IT!!
    Thanks for sharing it.
    Kristy

  7. Stephen Says:

    Tyler:

    I had forgotten the Abbott and Costello Hebrew Lesson. Thanks for sharing it.

    Kindly,
    Stephen Silver

  8. Esther Says:

    The first time i heard the routine it was in camp, as a jewish orthodox woman I was hysterical with laughter, i didn’t need any classes or translations.

    i was glad to be able to find a transcript of it.

  9. benning Says:

    That’s great! Loved it! I came here via a link from Suitable For Mixed Company. Great link, indeed!