[Mendele] Mendele vol. 23.008

Victor Bers victor.bers at yale.edu
Sun Sep 15 08:53:01 EDT 2013

Mendele: Yiddish literature and language


Contents of Vol. 23.008

Sept. 15, 2013

1) Folg mikh/mir a gang (Norman Buder)

2) nayer numer “Yidishe shprakh” (Paul (Hershl) Glasser)

3) mayofes-yid (Eli Rosenblatt)

4) Song lyrics sought “Moyshe moyroshe” (Al Grand)

5) a frage vegn shikh (Susan Ganc)

6) “My Yiddish Mama” (Jane Enkin)

7) vi halt men shoyn bay zey? (Stanley F Levine)

8) IB Singer’s Nobel Prize banquet speech (Shaul Seidler-Feller)

9) Request for Translators for yizker-bukh (Adam Cherson)


Date: July 28

Subject: Folg mikh/mir a gang

 I am not fully convinced by Barnett Zumoff that the correct expression is
Folg MIR a gang rather than Folg MIKH a gang.

 As a Litvak, I know that colloquial Litvak Yiddish does not have the
accusative forms mikh and dikh and uses the dative instead.  It does not
follow that Folg mir a gang is correct standard Yiddish.

1. In their dictionaries, both Uriel Weinreich and Yitskhok Niborski list
Folg MIKH a gang. Alexander Harkavy does indeed list Folg MIR a gang, but
he may have been following his Litvak heritage without considering what the
standard Yiddish should be.

2. Yudl Mark in his Gramatik fun der yidisher klal-shprakh lists folgn as
one of the verbs after which one should use the accusative (page 177).

3. If you search in Google Books for the two alternatives -- in Yiddish
letters (omitting komets and pasekh) -- you get 3970 hits for Folg MIKH a
gang and only 539 hits for Folg MIR a gang.

4. Stutchkoffs Oytser has Folg MIKH a gang (Entry 443).

5. Sholem Aleykhem, Yankl Yakir, and other writers use Folg MIKH a gang.

It is hard to believe that Weinreich, Niborski, Stutchkoff, Yudl Mark, etc.
are all of them mistaken in this matter.

Norman Buder


Date: August 9

Subject: nayer numer “Yidishe shprakh”

S'iz nor vos aroys a nayer numer Yidishe shprakh, der filologisher zhurnal
funem YIVO. In dem numer geyen arayn artiklen fun Mordkhe Shekhter o"h
vegn shprakhiker evolutsye ba yidishe filologn; fun Kalmen Vayzer vegn
aroysred; fun Brukhe Kaplan vegn punktuatsye; fun Shimen Noyberg vegn
mizrekhdike hashpoes inem bikhl “Simkhes-hanefesh”; fun Hershl Glezer vegn
Imanuel Olshvanger; fun Khonen Kiel o”h vegn zayn tshenstekhever yidish; vi
oykh notitsn vegn gramatik, shayles fun di leyeners, briv in redaktsye, Vi
iz af yidish? Un nokh un nokh.

Oyb ir vilt koyfn an ekzemplar, shikt a tshek oysgeshtelt dem YIVO
Institute, 15 W 16 St, New York NY 10011, oder a kredit-kartl af mayn adres
(pglasser at yivo.org). Prayz, porto arayngerekhnt: $25 (Fareynikte shtatn)
oder $30 (oysland).

Paul (Hershl) Glasser


Date: August 14

Subject: mayofes-yid

I am in search for primary Yiddish texts that include the Yiddish term
“MaYafis Yid” (or Mahyafisnik, MayufesYidl.) The term is an appellation for
a Jew who panders to the Polish Landowner. I have heard the term recently
as a kind of frum version of the “Uncle Tom” in the American racial
context. Macy Nulman writes that the term originates in early modern
Poland, where the Polish nobleman would hire Jews to entertain them at

their parties and during their indiscretions. The Jew who flattered the
Polish landlord (poritz), sang the Mah-Yafis niggun in his presence and
flattered him was thus a “Ma Yafis Yid” who did not maintain his dignity
and self-respect as a Jew. Could anyone recommend primary sources where
this term is used in context?

Eli Rosenblatt


Date: August 18

Subject: Song lyrics sought “Moyshe moyroshe”

I would be grateful if anyone can supply me with the full text of the song
that contains this couplet:

Moyshe moyroshe oyf yener velt

Varf mir arop a zekele gelt

Al Grand


Date: July 30

Subject: a frage vegn shikh

1. Tsu shikh vintsht men nisht (meaning you don’t wish the wearer “nuts
gezunterheyt”, etc.)

2. A family member is not allowed/supposed to wear shoes from a deceased
loved one. I realized that these are superstitious beliefs/minhagim. I am
interested to know their origin, since even in a superstitious belief there
in an underlying folklore or historic story or explanation. Thanks again
and Shavua Tov!

These questions were asked of me by a friend, Rabbi Diana Siegal I pass on
the questions to Mendele.

Susan Ganc


Date: July 27

Subject: “A Yiddish Mama”

Does anyone have a transcription of the spoken words on Sophie Tucker's
recording of “A Yiddish Mama”?

many thanks,

Jane Enkin


Date: August 3

Subject: vi halt men shoyn bay zey?

Thanks to Sulema for the very clear explanation.  The only thing that still
bothers me is that it is in the form of a question, not an exclamation.

My best hypothesis, if we keep the interrogative form, would be something
like “Where are we now (how do we stand now) in regards to [finding a
suitable match for] them?”;

OTOH, if anyone can explain why a sentence beginning with “Vi halt men...”
and ending with a question mark should be translated as a wish (“(h)alavai
... !", of "Zol ... !"), please let me know.  The situation
described by a question and by an exclamation may be essentially the same
(“shoyn” can of course add impatience to a question), but form matters
also, and to me there is a difference in POV between impatience and a

Stanley F Levine


Date: August 19

Subject: IB Singer’s Noble Prize banquet speech

With apologies for the lateness of this response to Kalman Weiser's

In addition to the lecture given at the actual Nobel dinner and printed in
the *Nobel Lecture* book cited by Joshua Cappell, IB Singer also spoke the
night before the dinner at a special event held in his honor and captured
in a recording made available online here:


I tried my best about a year ago to transcribe that speech in both Hebrew
and Latin characters and translate it into English for the
Yiddish-interested public and recently posted the transcriptions and
translation online here:


As you can see, I wasn't able to make everything out, so there are still
some gaps in the transcription and translation. If Mendelyaner who read it
and listen to the recording find mistakes and/or have suggestions for
improvement, I would love to hear from them. Thanks so much in advance!

Also, I should note that, unless your reactions to my work are relevant to
the entire Mendele list, I would appreciate it if you sent them directly to
my e-mail address: yiddishwordoftheweek_at_gmail.com.

A dank, nokh a mol,

in foroys!


Shaul Seidler-Feller


Date: July 31

Subject: Request for Translators for yizker-bukh

I was given this email address by Ms.Yael Chaver, who is lending her
translation services to this project. Since I am in need of additional
translators, I asked Yael for help and she provided me with this email

The project is the translation of a Yizkor Book for the shetl Divenishok
(south of Vilna) under the auspices of the JewishGen.org and funded by
charitable contributions. The work in progress is being published
incrementally here:


The book contains articles in both Yiddish and Hebrew and I need
translators for both languages. The original text is imaged and available
online for translation purposes. Articles tend to be about 4-5 pages and
are generally colloquial. Our going rate is $0.05 per target word.

Please reply to adam at cherson.net for details.

I would appreciate if this request for translators could somehow be
circulated to the scholarly community.


Adam Cherson

Project Coordinator


End of Mendele Vol. 23.008

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