February 15, 2012 5:27 pm at 5:27 pm #602071
The Yiddish language used to be the glue that bound ALL (askenazi) Jews from around the world. If you were Jewish, religious or not, you spoke Yiddish.
Nowadays, it’s another ingredient that’s helping the division of us Jews.
Why do people still think it’s important to keep holding to this ancient relic? Why are people so defensive of this so called “Jewish language”?
If you ask me, it’s not a Jewish concept (philosophically-not reality) to spread a machloikes-inducing language. To me, English and Hebrew(!) are more “Jewish” for this exact reason.February 15, 2012 6:04 pm at 6:04 pm #851761Yankie DoodleMember
Yiddish today is a glue that binds many Yidden from around the world to a common language whereas they otherwise speak different languages (English, French, Ivrit, Dutch, etc.) that they wouldnt understand each other with. B’H for Yiddish. It serves the same purpose it has served Yidden for 1,000 years.February 15, 2012 6:09 pm at 6:09 pm #851762
Actually more jews probably speak English than any other language (Including Yiddish)February 15, 2012 6:17 pm at 6:17 pm #851763
“a machloikes-inducing language”
And Yiddish leads the pack in this race? Ahead of English and Ivrit?
Can you prove this, or is it just your impression?February 15, 2012 6:27 pm at 6:27 pm #851764yungerman1Participant
uneeq- What in the world are you talking about?
“a machloikes-inducing language” HUH??February 15, 2012 6:30 pm at 6:30 pm #851765chocandpatienceMember
uneeq: I’m curious – do you understand Yiddish?February 15, 2012 6:32 pm at 6:32 pm #851766
Sephardim dont speak yiddish, How does speaking yiddish connect us to Sephardic jews?February 15, 2012 6:34 pm at 6:34 pm #851767mytakeMember
“a machloikes-inducing language”
???February 15, 2012 6:42 pm at 6:42 pm #851768Sam2Participant
All languages are Machlokes-inducing because all people naturally get along better with people of the same language. What I think the OP meant is that Yiddish has an added element that some people (very few of them B”H) unfortunately think that you are only a “real Jew” (not my words, it’s what’s been said to me in the past) if you speak Yiddish.February 15, 2012 6:56 pm at 6:56 pm #851769
” do you understand Yiddish? “
From the OP’s choice of spelling,”mach LIO kes” (as opposed to mach LO kes), I’d say Yiddish speaking is a pretty sure thing for the OP.February 15, 2012 7:37 pm at 7:37 pm #851771
Let the dead language rest in pieces (considering all of the dialects).February 15, 2012 7:38 pm at 7:38 pm #851772
bpt:From the OP’s choice of spelling,”mach LIO kes” (as opposed to mach LO kes), I’d say Yiddish speaking is a pretty sure thing for the OP.
I didn’t spell it mach LIO kes rather mach LOI kes. And not as opposed to to machlokes, rather machloket like I would pronounce in real life. You should know, I truly speak little yiddish, my vocabulary is limited to the yeshivish and popular words like shlepp and vaytar.February 15, 2012 7:45 pm at 7:45 pm #851773Yankie DoodleMember
Rav Shach told American educators to have the yeshivos teach in Yiddish, not English.February 15, 2012 8:39 pm at 8:39 pm #851775
The true language of machlokes is “Ivrit” which is an artificial, invented language.
Yiddish came to be by itself in the German-speaking world, exactly the same way that “Yeshivish” came about in the English-speaking world. It was not invented or made by anyone.
‘Ivrit’ on the other hand was invented by humans for political reasons.
However, the real language of machlokes is that of uneeq:
“this ancient relic”
“this so called “Jewish language” “
” a machloikes-inducing language”
And you talk about machlokes?!February 15, 2012 9:14 pm at 9:14 pm #851776
Very well said Gatesheader.February 15, 2012 9:14 pm at 9:14 pm #851777
mach LIO kes
mach LOI kes
Tomato, tomahto, regardless how you pronounce it, its the same thing.
But to create a post about strife? Its your perogative, but I’d focus on ideas of how to build bridges, not barriers.February 15, 2012 9:42 pm at 9:42 pm #851778bp27Participant
“machloikes-inducing language” – Translation: I don’t understand Yiddish and I feel uncomfortable hearing people speak Yiddish since I don’t understand it, so everyone please stop speaking Yiddish.February 15, 2012 10:04 pm at 10:04 pm #851779
bpt:But to create a post about strife? Its your perogative, but I’d focus on ideas of how to build bridges, not barriers.
I referenced to this in my post above that “Also, in a meta kinda way, the debate of whether Yiddish is (still) a true Jewish language has people arguing for a while already.”
However, I believe that by facing issues and debating them in the proper places, it would be considered building bridges and not barriers.February 15, 2012 10:08 pm at 10:08 pm #851780
“Rav Shach told American educators to have the yeshivos teach in Yiddish, not English. “
Is this published anywhere?February 15, 2012 10:17 pm at 10:17 pm #851781koillel101Member
not understanding yiddish in a place where it is a common language-like BP or willi- can be catastrophic once the kids pick up on this.February 15, 2012 10:18 pm at 10:18 pm #851782
Translation: I don’t understand Yiddish and I feel uncomfortable hearing people speak Yiddish since I don’t understand it, so everyone please stop speaking Yiddish.
I find it funny that those that agree with me most likely don’t speak Yiddish, while those that disagree, I’m sure all speak Yiddish fluently. At least based on stereotypical assumptions. (Chassidish Gatehead, Boro Parkers, and Hershi’s screen names give off this very yiddeshe feeling)
Hence my point that I mentioned before “Thirdly, I believe the condescending attitude of Yiddish speakers when trying to emphasize the importance of Yiddish and the worthlessness of other languages, only widens the divide between US and THEM.”
Until Yiddish speakers start to think about how others might feel from this condescending attitude, there will always be a certain disconnect between US and THEM.February 15, 2012 10:19 pm at 10:19 pm #851783
yiddish is better to learn in. I speak english yiddish and ivrit. You cannot come close in terms of clarity when saying a vort in english or ivrit. Also, as far as made up, ivrit is the only one of the three that the rishonim and achronim couldnt possibly have spoken, as it didnt exist. so if avi k means ancient refering to its longevity as opose to ivrit, well then hes bang on.February 15, 2012 10:38 pm at 10:38 pm #851784
“ivrit is the only one of the three that the rishonim and achronim couldnt possibly have spoken”
How about French? We clearly know that Rashi taught (and still teaches) in French.February 15, 2012 10:55 pm at 10:55 pm #851785
@uneeq: actually I wasn’t born frum and I don’t really know Yiddish all that well, I just manage to follow it (reading things such as Der Yid, Der Blatt and seforim, and listening) without any problems and can speak it quite good as well, but that’s only because I learned German as a child already, and since I pick up languages quite easily I can adapt to (PROPER) Yiddish without much of a problem.
I do get a bit annoyed at “American Yiddish” which is totally strange, such as the above “farshteist” – it’s “farshteit”, without the last s (original German: “versteht” – the only difference is instead of “versteht” which is pronounced, for Americans, as “vershtate”, we pronounce it as “vershteit”). Or people writing “um” instead of “un” (we discussed that recently). Proper Yiddishe sforim don’t write like that. I have “Dibros Kodesh” of Satmar right here next to me and it doesn’t write that anywhere. For example, “ours” is ???????, not ???????. Also Yidden is written properly: ????? – from German “Juden”. It is NOT ????? or anything like that.
Those who write such things simply don’t know the language properly…. we saw these words a while ago:
Proper spelling would be:
And indeed you find Google results for that also from hebrewbooks.org, from others who do indeed know how to write it correctly.
The fact that modern-day American (and even E”Y) Yiddish-speakers don’t know how to write Yiddish properly doesn’t change that… unfortunately.February 15, 2012 11:03 pm at 11:03 pm #851786
mdg- brilliant. in a comparison between 3 languages french was the obvious choice.February 15, 2012 11:09 pm at 11:09 pm #851787
” whether Yiddish is (still) a true Jewish language “
As long as there are gedolim who still speak it, I’d say its still a language that is distinctly Yiddish. And by the same token, English, when used to convey a Torah concept, is also (in a manner of speaking) a “Yiddish” language. This was the approach of R’ Yaakov Culi, in his M’eam Loez, so I would imagine it applies to the language spoken today, whatever it may be.
As far as feeling uncomfortable in the presence of a conversation when the language is one not understood by all present, that’s how I feel when I hear fluent Ivrit. If they want to include me, we either switch to Yiddish (Yerushalmis speak it) or English (most everyone else speaks that)
For the handful of folks that speak neither, we struggle along in my loshon koidesh / piecemeal Ivrit.
The point is, communication. Sometimes its easy, sometimes not as easy. But we get the job done, because we have a common objective.
Of course, I don’t have the same opinion about the Yiddish spoken in the Yiddish Theater, or by “Yiddish-ists”February 16, 2012 12:23 am at 12:23 am #851788
Uneeq, I have some news for you. No one speaks Yiddish to create machloikes. We speak it to keep our old world alive in the new world and we are very happy when someone wants to learn it.
Most Yiddish speakers would be very happy if you asked them to help you understand Yiddish. No one except the occasional bad apple you might encounter in any bunch is looking to divide or to be condescending. If anything some Yiddish speakers would love to have one more person to pass the language on to.
Start by following along with the lyrics as you listen to a Lipa Schmeltzer song like Gelt, unless you davka want to learn only Litvish Yiddish – in that case get the old Avraham Fried Yiddishe Oitzros albums with the lyric books. If you want to hear what people in the street are saying, Lipa-lushen is best because today, mostly Hungarian and Polish Chassidim speak Yiddish on a daily basis. Lipa’s Americanized Yiddish is only a slight exaggeration of the way people speak today; Michoel Schnitzler and Yonason Schvartz sing very clearly as well and I would say they are singing in exactly the same Yiddish most people speak today.
Once you feel ready, find a shiur given in Yiddish and you will catch on very fast. Usually, you find someone who davka wants to help you keep up with the shiur and that person will help you if you even look puzzled when the magid shiur is speaking.
The Chumash Beis Yehuda helps you learn to read Yiddish.
And then, you can tell the occasional condescending menivel “Shygetz Aross” (or is that really Hungarian? :)))February 16, 2012 1:25 am at 1:25 am #851789
The Maom Loez wrote in Ladino which is also a Jewish language but instead of a German based language that is yiddish, its a spanish based language that Sephardim spokrFebruary 16, 2012 1:37 am at 1:37 am #851790
“yiddish is better to learn in. I speak english yiddish and ivrit. You cannot come close in terms of clarity when saying a vort in english or ivrit.”
My point about French was that for learning you like Yiddish the best, but that’s your preference based on your experience. If you want to talk about Rishonim and Aharonim, then you have to look at what they spoke. If they are your bellwether, then consider them as they were, not as you would like them to be. How do you know that Rashi would understand Yiddish? At that point in history, Yiddish was different, and clearly Rashi did not consider it lingua franca.February 16, 2012 1:52 am at 1:52 am #851791
Because the lingua “franca” is obviously French. OTOH, Yiddish is the lingua “yiddishkeit”.February 16, 2012 1:55 am at 1:55 am #851792
The Rambam , Ramban , Ibn Ezra certainly did NOT speak yiddishFebruary 16, 2012 2:01 am at 2:01 am #851793
The Chofetz Chaim certainly did.February 16, 2012 2:24 am at 2:24 am #851794
The Rambam, Ramban and Ibn Ezra certainly did not speak what is known today as Ivrit.
They probably spoke something close to the Judeo-Arabic that Moroccan Jews spoke until recent generations. (I think Ladino came later but that is another possibility.) That was their “Yiddish.”
Our ancestors all spoke Aramaic as a common tongue at one time. That would be the best solution – renew it as a daily language among frum Yidden, keep Yiddish as long as people want to keep it, and make it clear that Ivrit has no kedusha and should be considered as a last resort for shiurim, even below the local language.February 16, 2012 2:36 am at 2:36 am #851795
Toi, maybe the problem is with your vorts.February 16, 2012 2:45 am at 2:45 am #851796hakohen53Participant
I think you may all be missing the point. My Rav explained to me that throughout history, the jews had a ‘yiddish language’. in other words, a language that was unique to the ‘Yidden’. As jews went into Golus, they would adopt the new host country’s language, but they would bastardize it by adding and changing words[sorry commentator, you can change that word if you can think of anaother one], and write it only in aleph beis – as opposed to A, B, C. The aramaic of the Gemara is like that, the French of Rashi, the Spanish of Ladino and the German of yiddish, are all examples of this. Even the names of the citys were changed, such as ‘Vermeiza’ for the city of Worms, or Satmar for Satu Mare. No ‘Arami” wouli understand the Gemara, no Spaniard would understand Ladino and no German could understand yiddish. Also, who could ever consider writing yiddish with A, B, C? Yiddish creates neither machloikes nor machlokes. Only those who don’t know yiddish criticize it and/or call it a ghetto language. It is a language that identifies us as jews and unites, at least a portion, of Klal Yisroel. People refer to Ladino with reverence, and the same should apply to yiddish.February 16, 2012 2:54 am at 2:54 am #851797moi aussiMember
The Chassidishe Gatesheader writes:
I do get a bit annoyed at “American Yiddish” which is totally strange, such as the above “farshteist” – it’s “farshteit”, without the last s (original German: “versteht” – the only difference is instead of “versteht” which is pronounced, for Americans, as “vershtate”, we pronounce it as “vershteit”).
In German we ask “verstehst du?”, so the Yiddish version “farshteist?” (with s) is not strange at all.
(My mother tongue is Yiddish, and I’m fluent in German too)February 16, 2012 3:00 am at 3:00 am #851798
One of the reasons many of us hate yiddish is because when we were young our parents and grandparents used to speak yiddish on purpose so that us kids would not understand like it was such a terrible thing they were speaking about.February 16, 2012 3:00 am at 3:00 am #851799DoswinMember
Well said hakohen53, and absolutely correct.February 16, 2012 3:19 am at 3:19 am #851800
The reality is in the olden days people rarely travelled and rarely communicated with people outside their immediate area.
You did not need to communicate with many people outside your immediate location
Today the world is much closer and people need to communicate. Because of the internet which was developed in the US and that US and Great Britain were the main business countries so english became the language is business, sort of by default English has become the worlds language.
Airline pilots and traffic controllers are ONLY allowed to speak in english while on the job (So there is no miscommunicaton in the airlines)February 16, 2012 3:29 am at 3:29 am #851801
Those parents and grandparents who did not want to pass Yiddish on were the assimilationists and compromisers – even among the frum – in EY and the US.
My friends’ parents and grandparents lament how badly the generation after us will speak the language that they held on to even in Communist times when the Jewish Commies tried to remove any kedusha from it.
However, as Lipa becomes more popular and others like Beri Weber start singing in simple, Americanized Yiddish, a new Yiddish revival may take place.
Regardless of what the world speaks, we Jews have our language(s). Ivrit is a misbegotten and deformed child that may die out due to English being a necessity for anyone in the medine to succeed. Some type of Yiddish will always be around.February 16, 2012 3:47 am at 3:47 am #851802moi aussiMember
I never heard of people “hating” Yiddish, most people love it.February 16, 2012 4:07 am at 4:07 am #851803moreMember
moi aussie-“most people love it.”
that’s your opinion, my friend. the yiddish language, which is based on the german language puts shivers down my spine!
personally I think because the European generation is dieing out, and most of the jewish population today converse in English as a mother tounge, there has to be a new yiddish composed based on the ENGLISH language! I can see why people would dislike the yiddish language as it has alot of german words and pronounciations that is a turn off to pple that have a comprehensive global understanding of what that nation did to our people.February 16, 2012 4:09 am at 4:09 am #851804moreMember
“One of the reasons many of us hate yiddish is because when we were young our parents and grandparents used to speak yiddish on purpose so that us kids would not understand like it was such a terrible thing they were speaking about.”
like moi Aussie pointed out, that is your personal expirience with the language. It doesn’t nes mean many others share the same view.February 16, 2012 6:52 am at 6:52 am #851805
Hakohen: My Rav explained to me that throughout history, the jews had a ‘yiddish language’. in other words, a language that was unique to the ‘Yidden’. As jews went into Golus, they would adopt the new host country’s language
It for this exact reason that Yiddish is not for today. It is for sure not in the top 2 languages spoken by jews today. Yes, you can look back at it with respect like they do for other old-time languages such as ladino, but it should be phased out as a current language.
I responded above to most of the claims that Yiddish isn’t machlokes inducing. However everyone keeps on bringing up that Yiddish speakers are not condescending towards non-yiddish ones.
I believe this is false, for as long as speakers refer it as the “jewish” language, they are subtly reminding others that the language has a certain kedusha in it that only yiddish speakers can obtain. As if one is naturally somewhat holier just by speaking a dying-out once-popular-by-jews dialect of german.
Being that yiddish is not the top current “jewish” language, the “jewish” language claims have to be eliminated. I am sure I am not the only one who feels insulted from these type of remarks. I don’t have to say that anyone can speak as they please, but I believe the yeshivas have to move on with the times, like our ancestors have with Aramaic, ladino, arabic, old french, and I’m sure a bunch of other languages.February 16, 2012 8:18 am at 8:18 am #851806
CG, Ivrit is a living language, developing language. Many new words were indeed “invented” by scholars (their religious levels here are as irrelevant as the fact that the Ford Motor Company was founded by one of the more dastardly anti-Semites in American history). So too are all modern European languages as they contain words which were coined by scientists as they made discoveries (generally from Greek). English is a mix of French and German for historical reasons. Yiddish is a mix of Germanic and Slavic with some Hebrew as well as borrowings from other local languages (hence “American Yiddish”).
Moi aussi, I neither hate nor love Yiddish. It is for me a quaint relic to be dusted off when the great-aunt who gave it visits and then put back in the closet.February 16, 2012 8:18 am at 8:18 am #851807tahiniMember
Spanish Portuguese Jews developed Ladino which was taken after the inquisition over to Morocco, Babylonian Jews from Iraq use a type of Judeo-Arabic unique to Jews of that area.
Jerusalemites from old established families spoke Yiddish alongside Hebrew and Ladino, my own roots are from Yemin Moshe and my grandparents were sephardim who spoke Yiddish fluently. Post 1945 it was a way of making survivors feel welcome. Yiddish is a warm golden language which is part of our heritage, but must say German to my ears always sounds horrificFebruary 16, 2012 8:20 am at 8:20 am #851808
MDG- what i said was that ivrit was the only language not in existance when rashi lived, and therefore, the only one he couldnt possibly have spoken. i wasnt saying he spoke yiidish.
Avi k- ive heard many choshuve roshei yeshivos give shiur in english and hebrew, and they frequently switch to yiddish to say the crux of a vort. interestingly, a friend of mine in kby (gasp) told me the same thing, and constantly uses yiddish to better make a point while learning. i think you just have an agenda.
zdad- uhu.February 16, 2012 8:26 am at 8:26 am #851809babygooseParticipant
bp27 – i feel uncomfortable when the spanish in the grocery are speaking spanish, so STOP SPEAKING SPANISH! what a joke. yes i speak 5 languages well, but i don’t understand 65 ohter languages in the world. so there. they havta stop using it? whatever for.
and just a suggestion, learn yiddish. i learnt it at the age of 14, and it’s very useful and easy to learn!February 16, 2012 8:55 am at 8:55 am #851810
@moi aussi –
“In German we ask “verstehst du?”, so the Yiddish version “farshteist?” (with s) is not strange at all.
(My mother tongue is Yiddish, and I’m fluent in German too)”
Sorry, it was 1 AM or so and I was half asleep. Don’t know how I could be so stupid. Of course farshteist is from verstehst…. 🙂 (And I only slept 4-5 hours, so expect more similar goofs from me today. And anyone who cannot handle people with a bad temper, stay awaaaaay from me today.)February 16, 2012 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm #851811NechomahParticipant
As a BT who never even heard of Yiddish, I grew up with my Sephardi parents speaking Ladino to each other so that the children wouldn’t understand what they were talking about. I knew of nothing other than that and English during my childhood years. I was actually very insulted when a friend in my 20s called Yiddish the “Jewish language” as if Ladino was worthless. I think it was just a matter of lack of exposure to the other.
As my life changed, I had no idea that I would end up having all of my children go to Yiddish-speaking schools. When the oldest was about to start, I decided that I’d better do something about learning the language a bit just so that I’d at least be able to understand what my kid was learning. I found a class and went to it for a few months and it really helped. I definitely don’t speak like my kids do, but I was able to understand most of the school play my daughter was in recently and even a shiur given by the principal as well.
I think the rabbeim who speak in Yiddish do so to avoid speaking in loshon kodoesh, and do so instead of speaking in Aramaic, which no one does at all these days. They won’t speak in Ivrit because of its problematic origins.
What’s the problem with people speaking the language that they feel comfortable speaking in? Do you have a problem with those from France speaking in French? Are they allowed to teach it to their children even though they don’t go to French schools? Can I teach my children English even though we live in EY? If you want to find problems, then you’ll be busy pointing fingers. Do what was suggested above and learn a bit of the language and you’ll find that you feel less uncomfortable, it worked for me as well.
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