DER YIDDISH-VINKL May 21, 2004

A WEEKLY BRIEFING ON THE MOTHER TONGUE

Published May 21, 2004, issue of May 21, 2004.
  • Print
  • Share Share

Over centuries, Passover has had many meanings for many different people. Benjamin Franklin, for instance, proposed that the seal of the United States should be a design depicting the Israelites crossing the Red Sea. One of the most famous Negro spirituals calls upon Moses to “go down to Egypt land and tell old Pharaoh to let my people go.” For many Jews, especially the more Orthodox, the very ritual of Peysakh itself had a meaning all its own. In midspring, the page in the Forverts devoted to “Pearls of Yiddish Poetry” featured several such poems. One of them, entitled Bedikes Khomets, revolves around the search for the last crumb of khomets, or bread, in order to cleanse the house of such trespassers upon the turf of the unleavened Passover matza. The author is Kh. Rosenblat. The transliteration is by Goldie Gold. The English version is by Gus Tyler.

Bdikes Khomets

Ovnt, peysekhdike shtiber

Groyse yidn, berd un hent

Varfn tunkl-groye shotns

Oyf di oysevayste vent.

Oysgeshpreyt di breklekh khomets

In di vinkelekh arum

Ersht tseleygt, un shoyn fargesn

Un men zukht zey umetum.

In der linker hant a lefl

In der rekhter hant a likht

Ot iz nokh a brekl khomets

Opgezukht zikh umgerikht

In dem hilsternem palonik

Falt dos letste shtikl broyt

Trift der letster tropn dales

Fun der vokhediker noyt.

Shloft der letster lefl khomets

In a vinkele fun hoyz

Alts drimlt—-khuts der zeyger

Un di hungerike moyz

Tseylt der zeyger shtil di reyges

Tsvishn vokh un yontef-freyd—

Un di moyz in vinkl grizhet

S’reshtl dales shtilerheyt.

The Search for Khomets

It’s evening in Passover homes

And Jews with giant beards and hands

Do cast their gray and yellow shadows

On walls where every shadow lands.

Unleavened crumbs of bread are spread

In corners scattered here and there

“Farewell,” they say unto the bread

And now forget the places where.

In the left hand there’s a spoon

In the right hand there’s a light

And, yes, they find a piece of bread

And that’s a most unwelcome sight.

Into the wooden spoon is placed

The final little piece of bread

How hard it is to part with it

’Twas earned with sweat on hands and head.

And now the tiny piece of bread

Does sleep somewhere within the house

And all do dream except the clock

Also an ever hungry mouse.

The clock most quietly does tick

Unto tomorrow’s holiday

Meanwhile the little mouse does chew

The remnant of a day’s poor pay.






Find us on Facebook!
  • What can we learn from tragedies like the rampage in suburban Kansas City? For one thing, we must keep our eyes on the real threats that we as Jews face.
  • When is a legume not necessarily a legume? Philologos has the answer.
  • "Sometime in my childhood, I realized that the Exodus wasn’t as remote or as faceless as I thought it was, because I knew a former slave. His name was Hersh Nemes, and he was my grandfather." Share this moving Passover essay!
  • Getting ready for Seder? Chag Sameach! http://jd.fo/q3LO2
  • "We are not so far removed from the tragedies of the past, and as Jews sit down to the Seder meal, this event is a teachable moment of how the hatred of Jews-as-Other is still alive and well. It is not realistic to be complacent."
  • Aperitif Cocktail, Tequila Shot, Tom Collins or Vodka Soda — Which son do you relate to?
  • Elvis craved bacon on tour. Michael Jackson craved matzo ball soup. We've got the recipe.
  • This is the face of hatred.
  • What could be wrong with a bunch of guys kicking back with a steak and a couple of beers and talking about the Seder? Try everything. #ManSeder
  • BREAKING: Smirking killer singled out Jews for death in suburban Kansas City rampage. 3 die in bloody rampage at JCC and retirement home.
  • Real exodus? For Mimi Minsky, it's screaming kids and demanding hubby on way down to Miami, not matzo in the desert.
  • The real heroines of Passover prep aren't even Jewish. But the holiday couldn't happen without them.
  • Is Handel’s ‘Messiah’ an anti-Semitic screed?
  • Meet the Master of the Matzo Ball.
  • Pierre Dulaine wants to do in his hometown of Jaffa what he did for kids in Manhattan: teach them to dance.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?








You may also be interested in our English-language newsletters:













We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.