Posts Tagged ‘Yiddish’

Good Morning Yiddish fans! And Happy second day of Hannukah. As a lapsed Catholic, I tried to compete with Christmas for my kids. I’d have Santa leave a present, I’d wrap up something big for the first and last night, and continue to wrap smaller presents for all the nights inbetween. We played the dreidel game with M&Ms. I fried latkes, potato pancakes, because there is always a special food item associated with each Jewish holiday. I really really tried…

Needless to say it was a mistake. There is no competing with Christmas as I learned after attending Rockefeller Center’s Holiday Extravaganza with the Bride when she was about 7 years old. Walking up Madison Avenue, tears streaming down her face, because Hannukah wasn’t even mentioned. They had a camel on stage, but no menorah. “It was ALL about Christmas!” she wailed. And I was stumped since I love the Rockettes and expected her to love it too. Which leads me to today’s expression:

Vos ahfen lung iz ahfen tsung

Which means, “What’s on his mind is on his tongue.” We all know someone like this. They are childlike in that every thought gains expression; on the Monopoly board of their mind, words tumble out, they do not pass Go at all, and sometimes this lands them in Jail.

As we age, this kind of short circuitry may happen more often. We forget social cues, our super ego steps aside and we say whatever pops into our head. Doctors call this a disinhibition, as if the filter in our brain is too full, so all our thoughts tumble out without mercy. Ada’s husband Great Grandpa Hudson is notorious for this. At 90 years of age, of course it’s allowed and amusing at times.

Like that Jim Carrey movie “Liar Liar” about a lawyer who can’t stop telling the truth, thinking aloud can be an affliction. Maybe this is part of Trump’s appeal. He is saying what his followers would like to say, only they know it would sound horribly fascist, except wait, Trump is saying stupid things so maybe their bigoted belief system has merit? This morning even Dick Cheney denounced Trump’s rhetoric. Will wonders ever cease?

I no longer try to compete or fight with Christmas. Here we are at the hospital “Holiday Party.” Note the beautiful red and green holiday wreath behind us!


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Es Vetzach Oispressen

Every morning for the next eight days of Hannukah I’m going to bring you one of the many instructive, sometimes funny and always calming Yiddish sayings my MIL Ada has peppered her language with over the years. A short vignette each day to share with your morning coffee. Enjoy!

Es Vetzach Oispressen Is one I’ve been hearing alot lately. It means “It will all iron out.” ie I tell her my worries, she does her best to listen and give me some advice, and then she’ll tell me it will all be ironed out like I used to iron my brother’s shirts. A little steam and voila!

Today I have an appointment with a retina specialist. It seems one retina is “wrinkled,” which explains the loss of vision in that eye. My “epi retinal membrane” may need surgery. But I’d prefer to think it will iron itself out without the help of a scalpel, or a laser, if you know what I mean.

The good news – no cataracts – for “someone my age” the first eye doctor told me. Yippee! This was me, wearing pink, going to a Planned Parenthood rally this past weekend. Wondering why I still have to march on the street across from people carrying lurid baby killer signs for my fundamental human rights. Will this press out too?   IMG_3586

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There’s a very old Yiddish tale about a poor family who lived in a very small house. The couple had their 6th baby and the stress and the noise was bothering the husband. He couldn’t study the Torah let alone hear himself think. Finally his wife told him to go see the Rabbi, he’d know what to do.

The Rabbi said, “Do you own a cow?” the man said he did, and the Rabbi told him to bring the cow into the kitchen. Grumbling all the way home, the man did as he was told and led the cow into the kitchen. The next day he went back to the Rabbi and said it was only worse with his cow in the kitchen.

The Rabbi said, “Do you own some goats?” So the Rabbi told the man to bring the goats into the kitchen. This would help the cow to feel at home. The man did as he was told and the next day he went back to the Rabbi complaining that things were getting even worse. What should he do?

The Rabbi said, “Do you own any chickens?” The Rabbi promised the man that things would get better if he brought the chickens into the kitchen. What could the poor man do, he went and followed the Rabbi’s advice. Now he had his whole barnyard of animals in his kitchen and he thought to himself life couldn’t get any worse. So the next day he went back to the Rabbi.

“What have you done to me, Rabbi?” he cried. “It’s awful. I did what you told me and the animals are all over the house! Rabbi, help me!” So one by one the Rabbi told him to take the animals out of the house. First the cow, then the goats and finally the chickens…the chickens were out of the kitchen.

The next day the man came running back to the Rabbi again. “O Rabbi,” he said with a big smile on his face, “we have such a good life now. The animals are all out of the house. The house is so quiet and we’ve got room to spare! What a joy!”

This is what it’s like when you start a new family. Relatives come from near and far, friends bring frozen enchilada casseroles and cake. And then, after awhile, the chickens are out of the kitchen. The little family can breathe a big sigh of relief and get back to finding the joy in simple things…like naps, and dog walks, and bubble baths. And kissing baby toes, and eyes and ears, and…wait a minute. Is that a giraffe in my crib?

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