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 seven Gimpel books I've published.

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

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Mirke! The first appearance of a relative! And he's so mean to her! 4-2-1914

This was mysterious. First of all, what about the arrival of Mirke gives him soft hopes of better times?

 Second, this is an interesting use of the word "khametz" to refer to something you don't want to have around. (It's the word for leavened bread products during Passover, when they are forbidden.)

Third, the transliteration of Bayonne New Jersey into Yiddish is fascinating. The first part of the word, though unreadable, looks something like "tshu" making the whole word "Tshu Tshoytshi."

Fourth: this is the first mention, ever, of a relative. If Gimpel has a sister-in-law, then he has either a wife or a brother. Neither has been mentioned before.

April 2, 1914: He receives a guest who gives him soft hopes of better times.
  1. GB: When it's Passover, who thinks about a match? You could stretch out from hunger.
  2. GB: What sort of hideous apparition is this? Go try to be a matchmaker when there are such girls.
  3. Mirke: Yes, I've found you! You're Gimpel Beynish. And can you guess who I am?
  4. GB: Yes, I'm Gimpel Beynish. But who are you? We have enough khamets without adding you!
  5. Mirke: You don't recognize me? I'm your sister-in-law's second cousin from Bayonne, New Jersey.

ער באַקומט אַ גאַסט װאָס גיט איהם שװאַכע האָפֿנונגען אױף בעסערע צײַטען.

גימפּעל בײניש: פֿאַר פּסח – װעמען ליעגט עס איצט אין זינען אַ שידוך. כאָטש שטרעק זיך אױס פֿון הונגער.
גימפּעל בײניש: װאָס איז דאָס פֿאַר אַ פֿאַרזעהעניש? געה זײַ אַ שדכן, אַז עס זײַנען דאָ אַזעלכענע בױדען!
מירקע: יאָ, דאָס זײַט איהר, געטראָפֿען צי ניט? איהר זײַט גימפּעל בײניש. אדרבא טרעפֿט װער איך בין?
גימפּעל בײניש: יאָ, איך בין גימפּעל בײניש. אָבער װער ביזטו? מיר האָבען דאָ גענוג חמץ אָהן דיר אױך!
מירקע: איהר דערקענט מיך ניט? איך בין דאָך אײַער שװעגערין׳ס גליעד-שװעסטער-קינד, פֿון בעיאָן, [?] טשױטשי.

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