[Mendele] Mendele Vol. 20.020

Victor Bers victor.bers at yale.edu
Tue May 31 17:52:31 EDT 2011

Mendele: Yiddish literature and language

Contents of Vol. 20.020
May 28, 2011

1) leytsan (Aubrey Jacobus)
2) Der eybeshter iz der mekhutn or mazl-tov (Dafna Sheinwald)
3) Yiddish in the writings of Rav Hutner (Gershon Freidlin)
4) Yiddish proverb (Lyubov Dukker)
5) Jerusalem Zoo (Alex Manaster Ramer)
6) shlepe-bobe (Mekhl Zlotowski)
7) shlepe-boble (Perl Teitlbaum)
8) Rivka Basman Ben-Haim (Zelda Kahan Newman)
9) Matla (Zachary M. Baker)
10) tsugl (Irwin Mortman)

Subject: leytsan
Date: May 19, 2011

The word LEITSAN appears in my research of a Dutch Askenazi family. It is 
suggested that it means Clown. Early Dutch Yiddish did have a special 
vocabulary. Has anyone come across this word as an entertainer of some 

Aubrey Jacobus

Date: May 17, 2011
Subject: Der eybeshter iz der mekhutn or mazl-tov

Perhaps the song can be found here:

Dafna Sheinwald

Date: May 16, 2011
Subject: Yiddish in the writings of Rav Hutner

Abraham was the first Jew by choice; his son, the first to be born a Jew; 
Jacob--from him onward, Jewishness could not be revoked.

Gershon Freidlin

Date: May 16, 2011
Subject: Yiddish proverb

Re:  "Der khazer zol hobn herner, volt di velt keyn kiem nit gehat." 
(Ignaz Bernstein, "Juedische Sprichwoerter und Redensarten").

"Ven a khazer zol hobn herner, volt er ibergekert di velt." (Israel 
Furman, "Yidishe shprikhverter un rednsartn)

I believe it is meant as derisive response to somebody expressing 
malicious intentions, but not having - thanks God - any means to fulfill 
them. It has exact counterparts - or very similar ones - in Slavic 
languages, like: "Ne dal bog svin'e rogov - a bodushcha byla!"

Lyubov Dukker

Date:  May 17, 2011
Subject: Jerusalem Zoo

Hi all, "The Economist" magazine claims, a few weeks ago now, that the 
Jerusalem zoo  hasput up a sign in Yiddish on the cage of some animal that 
looks like a pig but isn't (peccary, I think) saying "dos iz nisht a 
khazer." Since this is not good Yiddish, I was wondering whether the story 
is just a typical Israeli joke that the reporter took to be a fact.

Alex Manaster Ramer

Date: May 17, 2011
Subject: shlepe-bobe

"Shlepe-bobe" is the Yiddish pronunciation of the Polish "Slepa Baba," a 
game called  "Blind Man's Buff" in English and "Colin Maillard" in French. 
"Slepa" means "Blind" in Polish and "Baba" is "Bubbe" or "Bobe" according 
to the various Yiddish pronunciations.

A grys fyn Pariz,
Mekhl Zlotowski

Date: May 16, 2011
Subject: shlepe-bobe

Perla Sneh asks about a children's game in the geto called shlepe-bobe. 
In this case, I think shlepe is the Polish word Blepa [blind].   It's a 
game where you put a blindfold on a person and spin him/her around. The 
person then tries to catch one of the other players while blindfolded. 
I've also heard the game called blinde ku (blind cow).

P. Teitelbaum

Date: May 23
Subject: Rivka Basman Ben-Haim

Please announce to the list-serve the appearance of a blog on the 
prize-winning Israeli poet, Rivka Basman Ben-Hayim.  There one can hear 
the poet reciting her own poetry.  (Comments and/or suggestions can be 
left at the site or addressed to me at
zelda.newman at lehman.cuny.edu) The blog can be found at:

Thank you,
Zelda Kahan Newman

Date: May 16
Subject: Matla

Alexander Beider, in his Dictionary of Ashkenazic Given Names, correlates 
Matla to the name Meyte, which derives ultimately to Meytin, meaning 
"maiden" or "girl." In addition, he writes, "The forms starting with Mat- 
could also be influenced by the existence of the common German Christian 
name Mathilda or its Czech and Polish forms,
Matylda. "

Zachary M. Baker

Date: May 14
Subject: tsugl

Maybe you can assist me in this odd query.

A friend asked me the other day if I know the meaning of the Yiddish word 
"tsuggle" (the transliteration is questionable). I did not know its 
meaning and the friend said it means fellatio. My first attempt was to 
determine if there is a Yiddish word for fellatio and I was not 
successful. Then I tried to find a meaning for tsuggle also without 

I hope that you can assist me in this odd query.

Very truly yours,

Irwin Mortman

End of Mendele Vol. 20.020

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