A Reflection on Trump In Six Yiddish Sayings

A Reflection on Trump In Six Yiddish Sayings

2016-12-12T11:25:13-08:00Yiddish Wisdom|

לאָז אַרײַן אַ חזיר אין שטוב, קריכט ער אויפֿן טיש. Loz arayn a khazer in shtub, krikht er afn tish. Let a pig in the house, and he’ll crawl on the table.


Who can read this Yiddish proverb and not immediately think of Donald Trump? The President-Elect tours the country gloating in front of his supporters while refusing intelligence briefings (because he’s “a very smart person”) and rage-tweeting at comedians and teenage girls who criticize him, while gleefully accepting commendations from anyone who will offer them, whether it destabilizes relations with China or emboldens overseas tyrants like Putin or not. ער האָט אַזוי פֿיל שׂכל ווי אין קלויסטער מזוּזות. Er hot azoy fil seykhl vi in kloyster mezuzes. He has as much sense as a church has mezuzahs.

Will he actually do the horrible things he has promised to do? It’s hard to say, since as the saying goes- זײַן וואָרט זאָל זײַן אַ שטעקן, וואָלט מען זיך ניט געטאָרט אָנשפּאַרן. Zayn vort zol zayn a shtekn, volt men zikh nit getort onshparn- If his word were a stick, you couldn’t lean on it. It is impossible to get over the sight of Trump- incompetent, narcissistic, ignorant, entitled, a pathological liar, sexual predator, and ally of white nationalists- and think, “President of the USA.” Those who took to the streets with signs reading “Not My President” are surely on the right side of history. After all, טו אָן אַ חזיר אַ שטרײַמל, וועט ער ווערן רבֿ. Tu on a khazer a shtrayml, vet er vern rov? If you put a Hasidic hat on a pig, does that make him a Rabbi?

That said, the Trump administration is terrifying. Between Bannon, a white nationalist, as chief strategist, Pruitt, an opponent of environmental regulation, to head the EPA, Flynn, an islamophobe and conspiracy theorist who believed Pizzagate, as national security advisor, one can’t help but worry, ?װאָס קען װערן פֿון די שאָף אַז דער װאָלף איז דער ריכטער Vos ken vern fun di shof az der volf iz der rikhter? What will become of the sheep if the wolf is the judge?

What is truly amazing are those who think that the office itself will bring dignity and common sense to Trump’s head, or that he will suddenly wake up with a conscience. All I can say to that is, אױב די באָבע װאָלט געהאַט אַ באָרד, װאָלט זי געװען אַ זײדע. Oyb di bobe volt gehat a bord, volt zi geven a zeyde. If grandma had a beard, she would be a grandpa.

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