A Test of Endurance!
Yiddish is a rich and expressive language, filled with maxims and humor, bearing linguistic marks of the history and culture of Ashkenazi Jews. While many Yiddish words and phrases have leaked into our modern vernacular: some useful (shlep), some coarse (shmok), some can end up misused and mangled (think choot•spa).
Now, a Yiddish word peppering conversation is one thing, but as time goes on these words and phrases, stripped of their home language, start to lose their creative power and stop transmitting their original sense.
Quite the opposite from English’s sticks and stones having the power to break bones, but words being unable to harm, Yiddish holds that a patsh (oder a klap) fargeyt, a vort beshteyt — a punch you can get over, but a word endures.
We at Yiddishkayt would like to see Yiddish words endure and so we proudly announce our first flash fiction Context Contest
Every month, Yiddishkayt will post a pithy Yiddish proverb, expression, or classic piece of wisdom. It is up to you to write a brilliant piece of microfiction (500 words or fewer) that ends with the proverb, expression, or classic piece of wisdom we give and which provides the most apt use of it. Entries may be posted below on our website in Yiddish or English but may not exceed 500 words (including the provided phrase). Points are awarded for aptness, sharpness, and creativity. You can also send it in to email@example.com. Participants agree to have their work published or republished by Yiddishkayt.
Winners will be announced a month later, sent a Yiddishkayt prize, and given the title of Mayor of Yiddishland. Play fair, good luck and let the games begin!
The phrase of the month:
When the peacock looks at his feathers, he swells with pride. When he looks at his feet, he cries.