A Complaint About The Terms 'Frei' & 'Shiksa'
- This topic has 56 replies, 33 voices, and was last updated 8 years, 3 months ago by Avi Gordon.
February 1, 2013 3:53 pm at 3:53 pm #608038Yserbius123Participant
This is something my father would always be upset at us about, if we would call a non-frum person “frei” or if we called a goyishe woman a “shiksa”.
They are not “frei”, they have no Torah. Calling them that implies that we are avodim and they are somehow “better off”.
“Shikas” is a horrible derogatory term to call another human being. It’s insulting and implies all the evil things that anti-Semites say Jews feel.February 1, 2013 4:16 pm at 4:16 pm #1049027
“Frei” is the Yiddish word meaning “secular” and is a quite proper way to refer to non-Orthodox Jews, and was used by themselves back when there were secular Jews speaking Yiddish as a first language. It is not a perjorative. The literal Hebrew translation, “Hofshi” is used in polite company, and is even in the zionist/Israeli anthem.
“Shiksa”, which is actually a Yiddish version of the Hebrew word for a “worm” (an “Av Tumah”) has strong sexual connotations, as does the masculine equivalent (“Shaggetz”) , and probably should not be used in polite company. Its widespread use is because the Yiddish spoken by most pre-war (meaning, before the holocaust refugees arrived and hareidi Jews became common in the USA), was not “polite”. YWN probably should block posting with the word. The correct way for a Ben or Bas Torah to refer to a non-Jews in Yiddish or Hebrew is as a “Goyah” or a “Nachrit” or an “Annenah Yehudit”. If you need to refer to a female worm, one should use the correct Hebrew term pronounced as it is in Lashon Kodesh.February 1, 2013 6:18 pm at 6:18 pm #1049028BTGuyParticipant
Of course there is a valid perspective that intellectualizes those words so they seem harmless adjectives.
On the other side of the coin, they are lowly words for anyone to use, once they think about it.
Frei is used, in reality, with only negative connotations. It assumes the person is holding “zero” in yiddishkeit, and gives a feeling of exclusion, which is not right. It also throws into the garbage all the other concepts we should hold to such as dan l’chaf zcheus, tinok shenisba, only Hashem can take someone’s cheszbin, etc…etc. And, almost 100% of the time, when someone inquires if someone is frum or frei, upon hearing they are frei, all interest goes out the window.
Shiksa is also used as a lowly, degrading term.
Arent we suppose to try to avoid speaking about people, even out-and-out bad people, in a lowly, arrogant manner?
Was not Pharoah afforded some degree of humanity? Did not Hashem prefer to speak about “non-pure” animals as a way to teach us to try to elevate how we refer to things rather than denegrate?February 1, 2013 6:40 pm at 6:40 pm #1049029
BTGuy, if someone is a rashah, he is a rashah. “Only HaShem can…” – is a false shittah.February 1, 2013 7:15 pm at 7:15 pm #1049031Torah613TorahParticipant
These are both derogatory terms that do not reflect a sense of kavod habriyos.February 1, 2013 7:27 pm at 7:27 pm #1049032ConfuciousMember
mdd hit the nail on the head.February 1, 2013 7:53 pm at 7:53 pm #1049034OneOfManyParticipant
Hello, BTGuy! Long time no see!February 1, 2013 8:33 pm at 8:33 pm #1049035YehudahTzviParticipant
Frei means “free” in German. Never understood why someone off the derech would be considered “free.” As opposed to us frum Yidden who are shackled?
All my extended family members are intermarried. Gottfried is one of my family names. I always considered it (tongue in cheek) as meaning “free of G-d.”February 1, 2013 8:46 pm at 8:46 pm #1049036popa_bar_abbaParticipant
Oh, we are not nice to them. We are so mean to them.
Maybe after we gas 6 million of those shkotzim it will be even, and then we’ll start being nice.
Go take your retardedness elsewhere.
(Sorry, I’m drunk)February 1, 2013 9:12 pm at 9:12 pm #1049037zahavasdadParticipant
Frei means “free” in German. Never understood why someone off the derech would be considered “free.” As opposed to us frum Yidden who are shackled?
There are word direct meaning and idomatic meanings, which might be different. Many words understood meaning is different than the dictionary meaning.
A simple example is a synonym for the word Happy, Nobody uses that word to mean happy, it means something elseFebruary 1, 2013 9:49 pm at 9:49 pm #1049038HaKatanParticipant
I believe the historical reason for the use of shiktza and sheigetz was not to insult non-Jews (it’s actually a pretty pathetic insult if you’re past pre-school), but rather to reinforce to the Jews that they should not intermarry, etc. with non-Jews.
It’s somewhat like if you’re on a diet and you pass a bakery. To avoid the temptation of breaking your diet, you tell yourself the bakery’s products are poison or something like that. Are they really poison? Obviously not. But if it helps you avoid it, then it’s a tactic.February 2, 2013 1:59 pm at 1:59 pm #1049039
Frei really makes no sense – but like that word for happy, that is what it now means, and so be it.
I actually use shygetz (purposely pronounced that way as in Shygetz Aross, which clearly refers to lowlifes of Jewish origin) and shiksa as synonyms for hooligan and pritza – to describe Jews who have fallen to the point that they are abominations. “Er iz a rosho, a shygetz..” is how I describe, say, Moishe Aryeh Friedman.February 2, 2013 5:10 pm at 5:10 pm #1049040NechomahParticipant
Hey BTGuy – good to see you back! Hope you’ll be posting more. We missed you!February 2, 2013 8:59 pm at 8:59 pm #1049041
pba- so your a ‘shika’.February 2, 2013 11:21 pm at 11:21 pm #1049042ChortkovParticipant
BTGuy, if someone is a rashah, he is a rashah. “Only HaShem can…” – is a false shittah.
This may be an argument between R’ Moshe Feinstien zt”l and the Brisker Rov zt”l — R’ Moshe says one can use a tinok shenishba for a minyan (although apikorsim cannot be used), whereas the Brisker Rav says that “A nebecha apikores is still an apikores”.
Actually, I think both of them will agree that he is not a rashah if he is a tinok shenishba.February 3, 2013 12:35 am at 12:35 am #1049043
Among good frum Jews in Europe and America the words “Shiksa” and “Shaygetz” were rude ways of referring to goyim or to Jews who act like goyim. Among the secular Yiddish speakers who lived in America in the latge 19th and 20th century (before the holocaust refugees arrived, which for the first time in America including many frum Jews), the words had a much stronger sexual overtone. The terms are well known to many Americans from the frei Jewish usage, and that usage is one that is not proper for frum Jews to use. A correct translation of the word, as used in secular Yiddish, and therefore American English, would not be allowed on YWN.
An interesting analogy is when Alphonse D’Amato wanted to both insult Charles Schumer (then running for D’Amato’s Senate seat) and used a phrase that based on the usage he had heard (from secular Jews) was mildly rude – and in fact in was (in the Yiddish of the frum Jews whose support he was seeking) extremely vulgar and obsence. Unfortunatley, there is some evidence that choice of word is why Schumer is today a leading Senator.February 3, 2013 3:20 am at 3:20 am #1049044
Yekke2, not every fellow who is not frum is a tinok she’nishba.February 3, 2013 3:36 am at 3:36 am #1049045
Aha. So now Frei is the new Goy, Sheygetz… and is too insulting or derogatory? What’s next, Litvak?February 3, 2013 3:52 am at 3:52 am #1049046WIYMember
I was told that Rav Moshe held that bizman hazeh there is no longer such a thing as tinok shenishbah so basically they are all meizidim of some degree. They know they are Jewish and they know that there is such a thing as being an Orthodox Jew and they have an obligation to pursue their heritage.February 3, 2013 4:23 am at 4:23 am #1049047
Akuperma, What in the world…?
WIY, somebody born, raised and living in the Soviet Union was a tinok she’nishba according to everybody.February 3, 2013 4:24 am at 4:24 am #1049048yytzParticipant
I don’t like the word “frei” either. Freedom has such positive connotations. Calling the non-observant frei sounds self-hating. What is Yiddish for “missing out”? Or “poor, poor deprived souls”?
Shiksa is no good either. “Non-Jew” is the only adjective that sounds neutral.February 3, 2013 7:22 am at 7:22 am #1049049
i think the point of the word frei is the irony shebo. they think their detachment fom torah and mitzvos makes them frei, while in reality they live mishubad to taavos and the times. so we call them frei to make fun.February 3, 2013 7:35 am at 7:35 am #1049051☕ DaasYochid ☕Participant
Toi, I don’t know the history of it, but it’s possible that the term was first used by porkei ol.February 3, 2013 4:46 pm at 4:46 pm #1049052
Truth is, I prefer pay tzadik (not the actual word, but said as written) to shygetz, and pritza or zayin-vav-nun-hay to shiksa :). I think the only time I use the word Shygetz is together with the word Aross (or as part of my blogger name, Der Shygetz, a parody of Der Yid, the title of the Zalmanite Satmar newspaper) :).
I also use “shtick dreck” to describe lowlives of any origin.February 3, 2013 4:47 pm at 4:47 pm #1049053
porkei ol..and of course this phrase is why chozzer fleisch is called pork.February 3, 2013 5:07 pm at 5:07 pm #1049055
I have been in the homes of gedolim, and have not heard them refer to no-Jewish women as “shiksas” and have heard them tell their children not to use such language.
Because uncultured Baal ha-Battim use rude language does not make it right.February 3, 2013 5:14 pm at 5:14 pm #1049056
Oh, and yes, the porkys did use the term frei with pride – they had newspapers with names like Der Morgen Freiheit (ironic – that one was practically a Communist paper, from the Lower East Side).February 3, 2013 5:32 pm at 5:32 pm #1049057
Yeah, but Porkei Ol sounds like we have an Ol and are oppressed. No good. How about Poshei Yisroel? Is that too derogatory? It shouldn’t be. It’s just a description of behavior. Maybe, Ozvim would work. That sounds moderate enough — until it gets used, which by definition makes it a derogatory term.
In a few years we won’t be able to say Special, Challenged, Color or any other new word given to replace the old used out word.May 13, 2013 6:45 pm at 6:45 pm #1049059BTGuyParticipant
mdd, I hear your well-meaning response. It is understood. But “a rasha is a rasha” an argument in and of itself, is outside the scope of the terms “frei” and “shiksa”, unless you mean all such terms should have blunt, simplistic, and negative connotations, which I dont agree with. BUT….your point has been duly noted.May 13, 2013 7:22 pm at 7:22 pm #1049060Derech HaMelechMember
I am with Toi on “frei”. I always thought that “arbeit macht frei” was written with a spark of true nevuah. The non-frum thought that they were frei when really only “arbeit [fur Gott] macht frei”.
I think of shiktaz the way HaKatan describes it. As a way of subconsciously brain-washing myself to the idea that their ways are lowly. I don’t use the other word.
I heard similar to WIY regarding tinok shenishba, that today its not so poshut for someone to be that. Still “ein HKB”H bo b’tyronia im biryosav”.May 13, 2013 11:05 pm at 11:05 pm #1049061writersoulParticipant
The thing is, once a word has acquired negative connotations, it becomes an idiom and it really doesn’t matter what people think it means. It’s like when you have curse words, and then you have people who say “oh schnitzel” and “darn it”: what’s the difference? It’s just words! The thing is that when you say one over the other people know what you mean- either you’re deliberately being vulgar or you’re pretending to be vulgar. The fact that everyone knows what “darn it” really means doesn’t make a difference, cuz we all know you’re not cursing.May 13, 2013 11:50 pm at 11:50 pm #1049062
writer- i disagree. your point is only valid if the person says something that sounds close to the bad word. like fudge. but if i stub my toe and yell fiddlesticks, im pretty sure im not covering for something else.May 14, 2013 10:20 am at 10:20 am #1049063
“Happy” in Yiddish is “fray” (pronounced like the English word). “Frei” (pronounced like “fry”) means “free” and was used by the non-observant to mean that they considered themselves free from the mitzvot.May 14, 2013 11:45 am at 11:45 am #1049064
I was reading Zahava dad post above and it made me very angry, I also once wrote something that the Mods didn’t agree with and they also added bold and deleted parts. I understand this, but it is truly wrong to embarrass that User in a public website even if we don’t know his/her identity. I think you should delete the bold or rewrite it in a nicer way or just delete her post!
It is against the Torah to embarrass another Jew whether its on the Internet or real life.you should not lash out at her or him like that. When the mod whom did something similar to me did it, I wrote a post just like this and got an apology. We aren’t sure which mod you are but we would appreciate if you could please delete or change or do something and pass this message and example on to all Mods.
I’m not trying to embarress you, if you don’t feel comfortable posting this, you don’t have to, but I would like to see some change
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please contact me for details or to joinMay 14, 2013 1:13 pm at 1:13 pm #1049065147Participant
Since the Benediction I recite every morning states “Shelo Ossoni Nochri” it is hence appropriate to speak in the manner I pray, and hence refer to a non Yehudi, as a Nochri, or in the feminine:- Take your pick:- a Nochris or Nochrit or Nochriyoh.May 14, 2013 1:34 pm at 1:34 pm #1049066
In my nusach it is “Goy”. This is technically more appropriate as a general nusach as “nochri” means “foreigner” and outside Israel we are the foreigners.May 14, 2013 7:07 pm at 7:07 pm #1049067writersoulParticipant
toi: True to an extent. But really we’re very subservient to popular opinion in our language- it all depends on what people think we mean. If someone thinks that any word starting with the same letter as or rhyming with or sounding similar to a curse is instead of a curse, then people WILL think so.
The way that I think this ties into shiksa and frei is that it’s all in OTHER PEOPLE’S connotations. Unfortunately, language is one of those areas where you’re a lot more dependent on what other people mean than on what YOU mean, because they’re the ones listening to and interpreting your words. No matter what the origins of the words are, the important part Is to know whether what you say will insult those you say it to.May 16, 2013 8:17 pm at 8:17 pm #1049068
writer- i suppose i hear, but bh im far enough removed from secular jewish culture that i didnt even know those words are used to mean anything other then what they really do.May 17, 2013 2:05 am at 2:05 am #1049069popa_bar_abbaParticipant
In yesterday’s daf, Rabban Gamliel referred to a tzeduki as ?????, “the abominable one”.
I think there’s good precedent for these terms.
(eruvin 68b)May 17, 2013 3:10 pm at 3:10 pm #1049070
Writer makes an excellent point. I had the sentiments, and came to realize that any stuffing used as anger words which have no meaning, are taking the place of words we would never utter. Your sentence is not any richer when you say, “I can’t get this stupid can open”, then have you said, “I can’t get this can open.”May 17, 2013 3:34 pm at 3:34 pm #1049072HealthParticipant
WIY -“I was told that Rav Moshe held that bizman hazeh there is no longer such a thing as tinok shenishbah so basically they are all meizidim of some degree. They know they are Jewish and they know that there is such a thing as being an Orthodox Jew and they have an obligation to pursue their heritage.”
That’s Not what I heard. I heard he held this about s/o growing up in the NY area. So anywhere else -it would depend on how much Judaism the person was exposed to.May 17, 2013 5:18 pm at 5:18 pm #1049076
And I heard in the name of the Chazon Ish, the exact opposite. He said, these days, even someone growing up in a Frum neighborhood can be a Tinok Shenishba, since there is so much animosity and misunderstanding all around. He might have seen but didn’t know what he was seeing.May 19, 2013 4:05 pm at 4:05 pm #1049077
Hey someone took the comment off! Was that you 73?
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yesMay 19, 2013 5:08 pm at 5:08 pm #1049078WIYMember
Anyone in Israel knows what a Chareidi is so they are not tinokos shenishbu.May 19, 2013 5:13 pm at 5:13 pm #1049079
thanks mod-73May 19, 2013 5:38 pm at 5:38 pm #1049080
I heard that Rav Scheinberg said that today the koach of tuma is so strong that eevn a yeshiva bachur who goes OTD can be consdidered a tinok shenishba. Rav Kook compared the spirit of the times to an evil temptress (Sanhedrin 26b Tosafot d”h hechashud) in a letter to a rav whose sons became Communists.The Chazon Ish was also of the opinion that today’s non-observant Jews are tinokot shenishbu and this is also the opinion of Rav Asher Weiss.May 19, 2013 7:57 pm at 7:57 pm #1049081Charles ShortMember
er cough; so if the children of a rav go otd, they are like tinokot shenishbu. what happened to the kvod ha rav?December 18, 2014 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm #1049082secretagentyidMember
They were stolen by the communists.
I ate a shabbo meal by a family once, and the baalas habayis told me a story about when her sister moved to israel in the early day if he state. She had already bee. Living here for a while(they were raised frum) and her sister had to live on a kibbutz for two months before joining society. When the time came for her sister to leave, this woman went to pick her sister up. Her sister is sill in he middle of a meeting, so hes standing outside the room, and she hears them telling her sister “these religious people are all crazy, by now you should uderstand that! How can you go rejoin this ridiculous outdated religion, when we hve a state?”
So she barge into the room, and screams at the person telling her sister this “You say I am crazy? You say your grandparents were crazy?” And she takes her sister and they leave. She said it took a fee weeks to normalize her sister from the two months worth of brainwashing she had experienced, but, if her sister had c’v not staye frum after that, would you not call her a tinok shenishba?December 18, 2014 2:49 pm at 2:49 pm #1049083SayIDidIt™Participant
(I did not read the thread)
I was called a Shaggetz recently! I was walking down the street holding my “treif” phone and some kid called out Shaggetz…December 18, 2014 9:37 pm at 9:37 pm #1049084oomisParticipant
SIDI, that is appalling, and it is not the first time I have heard such a thing. Children in certain religious groups, need to have better derech eretz. Certainly it is obnoxious for them to call out “Sheigetz!” to a frum Yid who has a different hashkafa from their own (but who is nonetheless unquestionably frum).
And I will be even more controversial here, and say it is also appalling for them to direct that remark to a non-frum Yid. No Yid is a sheigetz, and the expression is meant to be disparaging.
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