Chasidim that think you don't know yiddish

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    Ever had any interesting encounters with chasidim that think you don’t know yiddish? Yiddish isn’t my 1st language but I am pretty well versed in it. Anyway I was speaking to a chasidshe rav who wanted to mention something to me in the Chovos Halevavos he introduced it by saying in english, “It says in, not more and not less, the Chovos Halevavos….”. I was rolling my eyes (to myself) since ‘nisht mer nisht venig’ doesn’t translate well into english.


    its annoying but you know wat if you were talking a language u didnt know well you would also do a literal translation

    and it doesnt always sound so good

    or maybe you just dont talk languages that you dont know so well


    I was once helping out in a chassidish school, and the kids were talking about me in my face in yidish which they thought i dont understand. I was too amused to be insulted!! Later on a girl was trying to ask me something and didnt know the word in english so she said it out loud in yiddish hoping one of her classmates would translate it for her, and i had a huge smirk and translated the word for her haha ive never seen such a shocked bunch of girls it was really really funny!!

    Feif Un

    I’ve heard chassidish kids insulting non-Jewish people who lived down the block from the shul. I used to daven at an early minyan on Shabbos (7:00), and I’d pass the kids outside the shul from the main minyan (9:00) on my way home. They said some pretty nasty things about the neighbors in Yiddish.


    Sure, happened to me plenty. Most assume anyone who isn’t frum from birth (which I am not) doesn’t speak Yiddish. I however, learned German already as a child. Knowing German and Hebrew fluently, the jump to Yiddish isn’t all that difficult.


    Once I was on a trip in Israel with some friends from yeshiva, and we went jeeping.

    Well, the people who arranged the trip had told the jeeping company when they booked it that we were looking to have fun–not to go touring and look at old stuff. But, that is what the trip was–driving slowly and looking at old stuff. So we were kind of bored and kind of annoyed and had been up all night on a bus from yerushalayim to tzefat.

    The driver was speaking to us in Hebrew even though we were obviously all American, so we assumed he didn’t speak much english. So we were making fun of the driver in English, saying some pretty mean things which are NSFYW (Not Safe For Yeshiva World).

    And then we felt kind of stupid and guilty when he started speaking to us in perfect English some time later.

    But not too guilty–he was driving like a girl and making out trip as boring as he could.


    my cousin grew up yeshivish but got a little more modern as a teenager. He once got a job in a shop in a yiddish neighborhood and a kid asked his father, right in front of my cousin, “Is er a yid?” Of course my cousin understood and took off his koppel to show the kid

    Ken Zayn

    not more and not less, the chovos halevavos… ‘nisht mer nisht venig’ doesn’t translate well into english

    How about ‘it was written by no less than the chovos halevavos’?

    Agav, have you ever tried speaking Yiddish to Gerrer chassidim in Israel? They look at you as if you have fallen off the moon! (Agav, is agav Yiddish or Hebrew?)


    gerrer chassidim dont speak yiddish. but thats not really a kasha, they do alot of weird things noone else does.


    agav is aramaic, i believe


    Agav is aramaic!

    Ken Zayn

    Interesting. I thought yiddish was only german with a little hebrew. Which other languages are mixed in? Please give examples. I suppose the word kasha, or actually kushya, is also aramaic and I did not even realise. Any others?


    “Agav, have you ever tried speaking Yiddish to Gerrer chassidim in Israel? They look at you as if you have fallen off the moon! (Agav, is agav Yiddish or Hebrew?)”

    I tried. And failed. (The older ones do speak it, by the way.)

    It’s sort of funny. I wonder how they themselves feel about it.

    Anyway, most Litvishe people in EY don’t speak Yiddish either. Only a small minority do – specific ‘hardcore’ groups around some yeshivos, and the Brisk/Yerushalmi Litvaks. From my experience, 90% of Bnei Brak Litvaks don’t speak any Yiddish. (Though it has been quite a few years since I lived there.)


    Some of you change this post into a post about people speaking infront of someone they thought didn’t understand them. That wasn’t the point of the thread.

    I noticed the Gerrer Chasisdim and yiddish thing 22 yrs ago when I was in EI.


    Once a meshulach outside a frum grocery started his spiel on me in Hebrew, and I would have told him right away that I didn’t understand a word he was saying (actually, I did understand maybe two) except I couldn’t get a word in edgewise. So I just stood there and smiled politely and finally he stopped and said, “You don’t speak Hebrew, do you?” I said, “Not a word!” So then he started over in English… Then he looked annoyed when I said I didn’t have any cash, and I said, “I’m sorry… do you accept credit cards??”

    Feif Un

    koillel101: The Menahel of my high school was once driving, and stopped in New Square to daven Mincha. He walked into the shul and asked a kid where the siddurim are. The kid hands him a siddur, opened up to Mincha, and says, “We’re going to say Ashrei. Then, after kaddish, we’ll say shemoneh esrei.” He really thought the menahel didn’t know how to daven mincha!

    Some guys once asked the Rosh Yeshiva about spending Shabbos in chassidish communities. He replied, “Their hachnosas orchim as amazing. They really make you feel like a king! They think you’re a sheigitz, but they still treat you like a king!”


    How do Gerrers in EY speak Yiddish differently than Satmar chasidim in EY or differently than Gerrers in the US for that matter?


    @hershi – they * do not * speak it…. 🙂

    @Ken Zayn: Yiddish is 95% German. Me, being a – ok, not fluent, but quite good – German and Hebrew speaker, I have little difficulty following Yiddish. The number of words in Yiddish that are *not* German, Hebrew or Aramaic is extremely small.

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