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Just Say Nu Extracts

Just Say Nu extract #1: Hot Stuff in Yiddish

Kh’zits in es zakh doos harts oop, in vart meer, I’m sitting here eating my heart out
Vart biz a koKHAnik klingt on. Waiting for a lover to call
OONgeDRAYT toyznt NImern shoyn, hob ikh I’ve tried about a thousand numbers,
RakhMOOnes afn teleFON. I feel sorry for the telephone.

Kh’zikh meer Epes FLAYshiks, zol meer zein YONtef. I’m looking for some flayshiks, let it be yontef,
Darf ikh Epes FLAYshiks, ketsl, hei nakht, I need something flayshik, baby, tonight,
Kh’vil Epes FLAYshiks, zol meer zein YONtef I want something flayshik, let it be yontef
Darf ikh Epes FLAYshiks, I need something flayshik,
Ersht bin ikh fin MIKveh aROYS. I’ve just come out of the ritual bath.
Kh’darf meer FLAYshiks I need something flayshik
Kh’vil Epes FLAYshiks I want something flayshik
Kh’darf Epes FLAYshiks. I need something flayshik.

Kh’zikh meer a koKHAnik voos zikht koKHANkeh, I’m looking for a lover who wants a lover,
Nokh a nakht aLAYN vil ikh nisht. Don’t want another night alone
Kh’vil mesSHAmesh zein haMEEteh vee a KAleh, I want to use my bed like a bride does,
Nisht tsim shlufn nor tse vern geKISHT. Not for sleeping but for being kissed.

Kh’zikh meer Epes FLAYshiks, zol meer zein YONtef. I’m looking for some flayshiks, let it be yontef,
Darf ikh Epes FLAYshiks, ketsl, hei nakht, I need something flayshik, baby, tonight,
Kh’vil Epes FLAYshiks, zol meer zein YONtef I want something flayshik, let it be yontef
Darf ikh Epes FLAYshiks, I need something flayshik
Ersht bin ikh fin MIKveh aROYS. I’ve just come from the ritual bath.
Kh’darf meer FLAYshiks I need something flayshik
Kh’vil Epes FLAYshiks I want something flayshik
Kh’darf Epes FLAYshiks. I need something flayshik.

Kh’zits in es zakh doos harts imZIST oop, I sit and eat my heart out for nothing,
Nokh a nakht aLAYN vil ikh nisht. Don’t want another night alone.
OONgeDRAYT a HINdert NImern shoyn, ketsl, I’ve dialed about a hundred numbers, baby,Kayner est meer nokh nisht dem knish. But there’s still nobody eating my knish.

Kh’zikh meer Epes FLAYshiks, zol meer zein YONtef. I’m looking for some flayshiks, let it be yontef,
Darf ikh Epes FLAYshiks, ketsl, hei nakht, I need something flayshik, baby, tonight,
Kh’vil Epes FLAYshiks, zol meer zein YONtef I want something flayshik, let it be yontef
Darf ikh Epes FLAYshiks, I need something flayshik,
Ersht bin ikh fin MIKveh aROYS. I’ve just come out of the ritual bath.
Kh’darf meer FLAYshiks I need something flayshik
Kh’vil Epes FLAYshiks I want something flayshik
Kh’darf Epes FLAYshiks. I need something flayshik.

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Just Say Nu: Yiddish for Every Occasion (When English Just Won't Do)

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Just Say Nu extract #2: why Judaism isn't Buddhism

Most Jews are not Buddhists, let alone students of Zen. While virtually any Yiddish-speaker would subscribe to the first of the Buddha’s Four Noble Truths–the idea that to live is to suffer–they would differ with him on the final cause of that suffering.

ME' KEN LAIBM,

as we'll see later in this book; life in the fullest sense of the word is indeed possible in this sublunary, material world:

ME KEN LAIBM, Ober MEH LOZT NISHT
You could live if they let you

It isn’t life that’s to blame, it’s the living. Just about all of them. There are a lot of them, they’re all out to get you–and worse, as far as they’re concerned, it’s your fault...

Just Say Nu extract #3: nakhes

Nakhes, often spelled “nachos” in English, is probably the best-known of all Yiddish words having to do with pleasure. If a phrase like

NAkhes FIN KINder
pleasure that you get from your children

hasn’t yet entered English, it isn’t for want of trying. Nakhes pops up often enough on T.V. and in movies to suggest that even people who keep Christmas are familiar with it. It means “delight, pleasure,” but it means so much more than “delight” or “pleasure.” Uriel Weinreich glosses it as “(spiritual) pleasure,” by which he means only that you can’t get any nakhes from a body rub (though the rub itself can be a mekheiyeh). The pleasure to which nakhes refers is intangible, unquantifiable; it takes place in the mind, rather than the body, and is entirely a matter of disposition or point of view: graduation ceremony means nothing to you until a child of yours is one of the graduates.

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