012`clish• Yiddish Curses Can Be Biting Or Funny
Each month in this space,
L'Chayim will present a Yiddish
lesson entitled, "Du Redst Yiddish
(Do You Speak Yiddish?)," whose
aim is to encourage further study of
Yiddish. The lesson will include a
brief story utilizing the Yiddish
words to be studied, a vocabulary
list with English translations and a
family activity which involves using
the new words. Two books which
may be helpful for beginning
Yiddish students are "Yiddish for
Beginners" by Dr. Joffen and "Der
Yiddisher Lerer" by Goldin.
Dictionary" also may be useful. At
the conclusion of each lesson will
be a suggested list of books for
persons who wish to further their
The lessons were prepared by
Mary Koretz of Oak Park. She has
taught both children's and adult
classes in Yiddish at the Workmen's
Following is this month's
Most curses cannot be
described as komish. Rather they
are a balaydikung and destructive
to dee to whom they are addressed.
Take Sholem Aleichem's shtifmame
as she is described in The Great
Fair. Given to shiltn, she used
phrases such as:
May the verem eat you!
May you be farnayt in a
May you be stricken shtum!
May you be carried out fis first!
May the teivl carry you!
None of these curses are funny.
Still, there are etleche curses that
have an element of humor. Since
Purim is a holiday of fraylich
tomfoolery, let us concentrate on
those. In addition to those drawn
from my perzenlech experience, I
have used curses found in How to
Curse in Yiddish, by Joe Singer and
the previously mentioned The Great
Fair, by Sholem Aleichem.
May you vaksn like an onion,
with your kop in the ground and
your feet in a cloister!
May you live in a house with
1,000 tsimerin and have a
tsonvaytik in each room!
You zolst make a lot of money,
be able to afford the best doktayrim
in the velt and not one should be
able to cure you!
May your every day zein like a
holiday — Yom Kippur!
May you sleep like a baby —
up and vaynen every two hours.
May the heartburn you suffer
noch every meal be shtark enough
to heat the czar's palace!
May you have a dozen ugly
techter and not a penny in nadin.
May you be spared the
indignities and infirmities of alt age.
May you have a groise house
with six vashtsimer and chronic
May your bayner be broken as
often as the 10 Commandments.
May you grow so reich that
your widow's tsvayter husband
never has to worry about making a
May your son rise so hoych, he
becomes at least a bishop.
May God answer all your
prayers then mistake dein worst
soyne for you.
May you make a widow and
orphans gliklach — your own.
May you be gebentsht like the
Sabbath candle — brenen on top
and melt at your bottom.
May you make an oremahn
richer — your doctor.
May it be as helpful to you as
bahnkes is to a toytn.
May the gantse Atlantic
become your enema.
insul . groise
mute, dumb dein
Continued from Page L-1
joking and good cheer. In yeshivot,
the Purim seudah is the time of the
Purim shpiel (play), when we are
able to poke fun at our own frailties.
Among the various halachot of
the Purim seudah is the obligation
to drink wine or liquor until one
cannot distinguish between Baruch
Mordechai (Blessed is Mordecai)
and Aroor Haman (Cursed be
Haman). This is not to suggest that
one become so intoxicated that he
become an embarrassment or
behave improperly. But, rather, one
should drink to the point of being
unable to differentiate between the
Hebrew phrases, Baruch Mordechai
and Aroor Haman.
Other laws pertaining to the
Purim seudah specify that the meal
should begin during the day of
Purim and last into the night. One
should be careful to pray Minchah,
the afternoon service, before the
Purim seudah so as to avoid
praying while tipsy. As well, one
should be careful to insert the
special prayer of Al ha'nisim for
Purim into the Birkat Ha'mazon
(Grace After Meals), even if finishing
the meal after sunset, which
according to Jewish law marks the
beginning of the next day.
Rabbi Mark Cohn is the regional
director of the Central East Region
of the National Conference of
Apples — On Holidays and Other Days, Leah
Abrams; Purim Songs, Turnover; The Yeadles — Great
Jewish Lyrics to Great Beatles Music, all at
Borenstein's. Purim Songs, Dalyah Amihud; Purim
USA; Ani Purim; Paul Zim — New Melodies for
Shabbat and Other Jewish Occasions, all at Spitzer's.
Faith Amid the Flames, Agudath Israel of America,
available at Spitzer's.
Festival of Esther,Maida Silverman; The Animated
Megillah, Ephraim Sidon, Rony Oren; The Jewish
Boxers Hall of Fame, Ken Blady; Peace of Mind, Rabbi
E. P. Teherani; Shabbat Shalom,Pinchas H. Peli;
Successful Chinuch. Rabbi S. Wagschal; Shema
Beni,Rabbi Dovid Weinberger; Aizer K'negdo — The
Jewish Woman's Guide to Happiness in Marriage,
Sarah Chana Radcliffe; Appreciating People (Including
Yourse/f).Miriam Adahan; The Jewish Student's Guide
to American Colleges, Dr. Lee and Lana Goldberg, all
at Borenstein's and Spitzer's. The Story of Purim, De
Poala; The Purim Goat, Yuri Suhl; The Purim Machine,
Malka Levin; Make Noise, Make Merry, Miriam Chaikin;
The Silver Megillah,Shanedy Kesserman; Esther,
Miriam Chaikin; The Purim Party, Norma Simon; A
Purim Album,Zwerin and Marcus. all at Spitzer's.
Spitzer's is located at 21770 W. 11 Mile, Southfield.
Borenstein's is located at 25242 Greenfield, Oak Park.
THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS