Gimpel Beynish the Matchmaker
(Gimpl Beynish der Shadkhn)
Yiddish Comics of the early 20th century

Translation and commentary by Jane Peppler
Click here to read about and order the six Gimpel books I've published.

Comics read right to left. Click on any comic strip for larger view.

Saturday, November 28, 2015

In which I learn some meanings of the lovely word "kolboynik." 3-29-1914

I learned a new work from this comic strip: כּל־בו (kolboy)
Derived from the book of prayers containing the liturgy for the whole year, it usually means "factotum, handy-man; catchall" . But in the typical snide Yiddish way it can be used sarcastically:
אין אים איז כּל־בו ‪‬
"he has every defect, he is full of faults"
Tacking a Slavic ending on this Hebrew epithet, Gimpel calls his competitor Moyshe Motel a kolboynik which means "know-it-all, rascal, jack of all trades" but could also, I expect, mean "full of faults." I guess you have to take your pick.


March 29, 1914: One must concede that his competitor conducts business on a grander scale than he does.
  1. GB: What's this? Moyshe Motel is standing with a woman. Again he has a match.
  2. GB: I have to go stick a foot in the cholent. Maybe there'll be some money for me to make.
  3. Moyshe Motl: Hello, Mr. Gimpel Beynish! How's it going? Do you already have wine for the "four cups" of Passover?
  4. Moyshe Motl: Say, chauffeur, come here; take us to Bronzeville - he lives there, you know.
  5. GB: Well, what can you say about this know-it-all? He's used to no less than automobiles.

3-29-1914
מען מוז צוגעבען אַז זײַן קאָנקורענט פֿיהרט דיא ביזנעס אױף אַ העצרען ״סקײל״ װיא ער.

1
גימפּעל בײניש: װאָס איז דאָס? משה מאָטעל שטעהט עפּעס מיט אַ מױד. שױן װידער אַ שידוך.
2
גימפּעל בײניש: איך מוז געהן אַרײַנשטעלען אַ פֿוס אין טשאָלענט. אפֿשר װעל איך אױך עפּעס מאַכען.
3
משה מאָטעל: העללאָו, מיסטער גימפּעל בײניש! װי געהטס? האָט איהר שױן ארבע כּוסות אױף פּסח?
4
משה מאָטעל: סעי, שאָפֿער, קום נאָר אַהער; נעהם אונז קײן בראָנזװיל – דאָרט װאױנט ער, יו נו.
5
גימפּעל בײניש: נו, װאָס זאָגט מען ניט אױף דעמ כּל בו׳ניק? אַנדערש ניט געװאױנט װיא אוטאָמאָבילס.

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