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10 Yiddish Proverbs That Will Make You Smile

by Omer Feb 21, 2017

Yiddish, a historical language that originated in Central Europe during the 9th century, has been used by the Jewish community for hundreds of years. Today, it’s mainly spoken by Orthodox Jews and elders — over 40% of Yiddish speakers in the US are over 65 years old!

Through the years Yiddish has produced some fine proverbs such as:

1.Az men krigt zikh miten rov, muz men sholem zein miten shainker.” — If you’re at odds with your rabbi, make peace with your bartender.

2.Zol er aropshlingen a shirem un s’zol zikh im efenen in boykh!” — May you swallow an umbrella and may it open in your belly!

3.Vahksin zuls du vi a tsibeleh, mitten kup in drerd!” — May you grow like an onion, with your head in the ground.

4.Zey hobn zikh beyde lib: er zikh un zi zikh.” — They are both in love: he with himself and she with herself.

5.A behaimeh hot a langen tsung un ken nisht reden; der mentsh hot a kurtseh un tor nisht reden.” — Animals have long tongues but can’t speak; men have short tongues and shouldn’t speak.

6.Az me shveigt iz men a halber nar; az me redt iz men a gantser nar.” — He who keeps quiet is half a fool; he who talks is a complete fool.

7.A groys gesheft zol er hobn mit shroyre: vus er hot, zol men bay im nit fregn, un vos men fregt zol er nisht hobn.” — You should have a large store, and whatever people ask for you shouldn’t have, and what you do have shouldn’t be requested.

8.Im hayu samim et hamo’ach shelcha betoch tsipor, hi hayta matchila la’uf achora!” — Had they put your brain inside a bird, it would have started flying backwards!

9.Im hatimtoon haya tippa, ata hayita okianoos!” — If dumbness was a drop of water, you would have been an ocean!

10.Az me shloft mit hint shtait men oif mit flai.” — If you lie down with the dogs, you get up with the fleas.

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