R av Yehuda stepped out of his home and gestured for Nicholas to follow him. They began walking through the streets of Padua, ignoring the curious stares from bystanders.

“Ah, the Università degli Studi di Padova!” Rav Yehuda said as they passed a massive, imposing building. “The University of Padua has become Europe’s most prominent school of law.”

“Indeed,” Nicholas murmured.

“As a prince, you surely would have had extensive schooling in a broad range of subjects, am I right?” Rav Yehuda suddenly asked, coming to an abrupt stop so that he and Nicholas were facing each other. “May I ask you some questions in mathematics, science, and philosophy?”

“My strength was in the study of history,” Nicholas said quickly, his face reddening. “And are you really about to quiz me as if I was a schoolboy?”

“Sì,” Rav Yehuda answered calmly. “Yes. I must dig beneath your appearance and determine if you are truly the man you say you are.”

Nicholas drew himself up to his full height and nodded.

“Let’s start with a question regarding another prince in history,” Rav Yehuda said, his eyes sparkling. “Infante D. Henrique of Portugal (Prince Henry the Navigator), Duke of Viseu, was famous for what?”

“I — I’m not sure,” Nicholas stammered. “Sailing to new lands?”

“No, Prince Henry never actually sailed,” Rav Yehuda said, his gaze never leaving Nicholas’s face. “But he did open the first school of navigation, and he funded famous explorations.”

“P-please, ask me another question!” Nicholas begged, feeling Rav Yehuda’s trust in him waning.

“Hmmm...” Rav Yehuda was silent for a moment. “If you are a member of the Radziwill family, you should certainly know some famous men in Lithuanian history. What were the names of the two cousins who fought bitterly with each other, only to later make peace and eventually Christianize Lithuania under the 1387 Union of Kriewo?”

“Vytautas and Jogaila!” Nicholas cried triumphantly. “Both grandsons of Gediminas!”

“Bene! Good!” Rav Yehuda exclaimed. “And what was the exact date of The Battle of Grunwald, fought during the Polish-Lithuanian-Teutonic War?”

“July, 15th 1410!” Nicholas said smugly. “What honorable nobleman could forget the date of the most important victory in the histories of Poland and Lithuania?”

“And you are a nobleman, sì?” Rav Yehuda asked, his gaze penetrating.

“Yes!” Nicholas said, tears filling his eyes. “Please believe me! You are the only chance I have! If you do not help me, I will never be able to acquire the funds to pay for my trip home!”

“Come to me this evening,” Rav Yehuda said after a moment’s thought. “I will give you my answer then.”

Without another word, the great sage departed. He left Nicholas standing alone in front of the great Italian University. As tears fell from his eyes, Nicholas glared at the pompous men who strode around the University grounds. The gentiles had let him down miserably. Only a single Jewish rabbi had actually given him a chance to prove himself... (Excerpted from Mishpacha Jr., Issue 704)