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Saturday, April 30, 2016

Oy, vi es tyokhket! Oh, how it throbs! Concerning love and the yeytser hore

UPDATE: Re-posted to add Instagram 60-second video excerpt:



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The Yiddish word yeytser is sometimes translated mildly denotes lust or desire for - something and yeytser hore is the scolding terminology for wanting sex.

Itzik Zhelonek cited a Pinkhus Sapir recording of this song, noting that it was from the show Der eybiker nar (The Eternal Fool) but I couldn't find that recording.

My transcription is from the singing of the magnificent Betty Koenig / Kenig from her Syrena Grand Records 5286 Es tiochket. Obviously she sang the song from a woman's point of view and, as I am a woman, I chose her lyrics over Sapir's. There is also an Aaron Lebedeff version, "Oy Vie iz Tchurckit," with yet more lyrics.



My translation from the Yiddish:

Note that the grandmother is referred to as an "old maid." Sheva Zucker opined that if an old widow is back on the market, she can be described as a maid again - oys kale, vayter moyd - another possibility being that bobe is sort of an honorific here and the old maid is not really this singer's grandmother.

Ugh, have I got problems. My heart is sad
Girls, it's not worth it to fall in love
I try to sing and dance, to be endlessly happy
Because men have always held sway over my heart

Oh, how it throbs, it throbs and burns!
Oh how it throbs, I don't know what to do!
There's a pack of miseries here
It burns like a homentash at Purim
Oh how it throbs, it throbs and burns!
My heart is forged like an iron bolt
It's baked like a noodle pudding

My granny Sore-Khaye, an old maid 80 years old,
She's constantly crying, "I want to have a man!"
I ask her, "Dear granny, why on earth would you want this?"
I was amazed when she laid her hand on me:

Oh it throbs...
Although you see I'm old, I'm hot, not cold!
My grandchild, don't laugh at me, I'd like to see a bris yet!"

Men, oh you men, who can stand you?
You play with us women like a cat with a mouse
You know well the art of smiling and joking
It sets the Evil Inclination in motion in our hearts...

Oh it throbs...
You're stubborn, you're crazy, you cook us like mamalige (cornmeal porridge)
With you, we have mountains of troubles,
But without you, it's even worse.

When I searched for a picture for this post, I tried "octagenerian bride" but - I should have known - I got pictures of octagenerian MEN with young brides.

For a nice article about mamelige, a traditional Romanian / Bessarabian food, see Tsvey folklor vetsheres. According to this article, mamelige was the local substitute for bread. When it is cold you can cut it with a thread. Like polenta, I guess.

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