Yiddish Curiosities: a library of wonderful but forgotten Yiddish songs from the late 1920s and after (includes Polish Jewish Cabaret). Have a listen!

1. Link to list of posts on this site
2. Link to songs for sale
3. Click here for our music videos of Yiddish songs with English subtitles (mainly post-1925)
4. List of the still lost songs. Do you know any of them?
5. Warszawa zumerkurs song links


Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Beser iz tsu blaybn a moyd (A yor nokh mayn khasene) - it's better to stay an unmarried woman...

When I looked this song up online by the first title above (the title which is on the sheet music), I didn't find it and figured it fit within my "Yiddish rarities" category. However, after I'd already arranged it, Sheva Zucker pointed out it was famous under the second title, which is the first line of the song (A year after my wedding), in fact it's even been recorded by the St. Olaf's choir! However, I was already most of the way there so here it is anyway. The terrible transcription is "Besser iz zu bleiben a moid."

It's also found in the Penny Song collection at Hebrew Union College under the name Libersht iz tsu blaybn a moyd and the notation: "To be sung to the Rebe's nigele from חכמת נשים (Wisdom of Women)" which I presume was a show.

The sheet music claims the words are by J. Reingold and the tune by the inescapable M. Rumshisky (Rumshinsky).

I guess this song has survived because its proto-feminist sentiment still resonates on some bitter level!

I wrote out the song with chords and you can buy the sheet music, with transliteration and translation, here:

Here's my translation:

Just a year after my wedding and see how I look! complained a young wife, sobbing hard.
Oh my good, dear sisters, I'm telling you my secret: A husband is just a pain in the neck.
I used to be a happy, bold girl, I played around with the young people.
But now I'm a married woman, weak and melancholy,
And all because I wanted a husband.
All he has to do is make a living!
And me, what don't I have to do in the house?
I'm a wife, a servant, a nurse-maid, everything is really hard.
It's no little thing, I swear to you on the Sefer-Torah:
It's better to stay unmarried.

What happiness do I have? Why was I in such a hurry?
I dreamed of mine being the next wedding, I hoped for good luck.
I got a husband that I'd only wish on my enemies.
It's too bad I can't undo what I did.
Of course I thought my dear one loved me,
I didn't cause him much trouble.
"I'll live happier and more freely after my wedding!"
In the end, it all came to nothing.
Even before I had time to look around, I can't go outside any more,
God blessed me with a premature baby as big as an onion,
This little soul is killing me.
A cold, a cough, he cries, pressing on my breast,
It's better to stay unmarried.

My husband gets ready to go out, what does he care how I suffer?
He eats up his dinner and turns away.
I tell him my troubles, but even at the bris he wouldn't take the child on his lap.
He's always going to the theater, he buys an expensive ticket,
but of course he doesn't want to take me with him.
He says I was created to wash and scour, to cook and bring everything to the table.
As soon as I shout that he isn't leaving without me,
He throws it back at me, I'm just flapping my gums
He grabs his hat and cane and leaves me with the little kid
I sing the sad song that just comes to me
The little kid cries and screams, nothing helps at all
It's better to stay unmarried

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

I could not refrain from commenting. Exceptionally well written!

June 27, 2017 at 12:09 AM  

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