In an apparent attempt to gain popularity in our times of 20-second attention, the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research (founded as the yidisher visenshaftlekher institut — Yiddish Scientific Institute) recently presented its email subscribers with a short list of Yiddish folk-sayings. Though lacking the academic credentials of YIVO-niks, The Vortsman dares to make corrections, in parentheses and italics, in those quoted below. Ripostes from academia are welcome.
Trinkn (trinken) zoln im piavkes.
Leeches should suck him dry.
Gey (lig) in drerd un bak beygl.
Go (lay) in the ground (below ground: in the basement)* and bake bagels (beygl).
Zol dayn leber kumen aroys (aroyskumen) in shtiker (shtikervayz) fun dayn noz.
Your liver should come out piece by piece through your nose.
*A play on words and social comment: beygl bakeries in Eastern European cities were usually in the basement, below the location where finer baked goods were created and sold. Beygl baking was considered an inferior craft.
Finally, a shame-faced correction.
Our last column referred to Israeli-Yiddish folksinger Chava Alberstam. The Vortsman is an admirer (we even share a birthday) and should have known that her last name is Alberstein. (Thanks to Miryam Bachrach for the correction.)