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.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Gimpel falls into Mexican hands and is rescued by his greatest enemy. 5-2-1914, 5-3-1914, 5-4-1914

At first I was kind of horrified by the way Samuel Zagat drew the Mexicans, but Hannah pointed out that his depiction seems identical to the folk images of the bandito created by the Mexicans themselves back in the day.

My uneducated opinion is that Zagat and his editor settled into an agreement about how to treat Gimpel's foray into Mexico: it's more or less identical to his foray into the Catskill farmland the year before, except with bullets. Gimpel had similar adventures among the unsympathetic farmers of New York and he used the same epithets.

The language is casual and vernacular, defusing xenophobic anxiety...

May 2, 1914: The Mexicans certainly don't know how to value him.
  1. GB: Where can one run from the demons? You can hear, they're shooting!
  2. GB: You should go to hell, that's where you should go. Robbers! Gangsters! Loafers!
  3. Mexican: Not so fast, mister! What's a character like you doing in our burg?
  4. Mexican: I believe you. Nevertheless, let's go have a court-martial.
  5. GB: Gevald, have mercy! I'm a matchmaker, not a spy! Let me at least say my prayers before dying!

Maybe somebody could explain to me why he can't say Viduy while tied to a cactus.

May 3, 1914: One couldn't say he'd made an auspicious beginning in Mexico.
  1. GB: Have mercy, Mister Mexican, where are you taking me?
  2. Mexican: You're opening your big yap yet again? Turn here.
  3. Mexican: You'll stand here bound up until early tomorrow morning.
  4. Mexican: And then we'll shoot you.
  5. GB: Shoot? I won't even be able to make my final confession.

May 4, 1914: And now he finally sees who his true friends are.
  1. GB: Well, what's going to come of standing here and waiting until they shoot me?
  2. Moyshe Motl: Well, look who we have here! He's in Mexico too, bless his heart.
  3. Moyshe Motl: Hey, cut-throat, get lost before I perforate your unclean soul!
  4. Moyshe Motl: Now, Reb Gimpel Beinish, excuse yourself and creep out of the rope.
  5. GB: Methuselah's years to you for saving me from the hands of the goyim!

דיא מעקסיקאַנער װײסען גלאַט ניט װיא איהם צו שעצען.

גימפּעל בײניש: װאָהין אַנטלױפֿט מען פֿון דיא רוצחים? סט׳געהערט, מען סהיעסט גאָר!
גימפּעל בײניש: מען האָט אײַך אין דער ערד, האָט מען אײַך, גזלנים! גענגסטער! לױפֿער!
מעקסיקאַנער: כאַפּט-זשע ניט, מיסטער. װאָס טהוט אַזאַ פּאַרשױן װיא איהר אין אונזערע מקומות?
מעקסיקאַנער: איך גלױב אײַך אױפֿ׳ן װאָרט. פֿונדעסטװעגען לאָמיר זיך דורכגעהן צום קריעגס-געריכט.
בימפּעל בײניש: גװאַלד, האָט רחמנות! איך בין אַ שדכן, ניט קײן שפּיאָן! לאָזט מיך כאָטש זאָגען ױדױ.

מען קען ניט זאָגען, ער איז גאַנץ פֿײַן אַרײַנגעפֿאַלען אין מעקסיקאָ.
גימפּעל בײניש: האָט רחמנות, מיסטער מעקסיקאַנער, װאָהין פֿיהרט איהר מיך?
מעקסיקאַנער: האָסט שױן װידער אַ גרױס מױל? נו גיב זיך אַ ריהר.
מעקסיקאַנער: אָט דאָ װעסטו שטעהן צוגעבונדען ביז מאָרגען פֿריה.
מעקסיקאַנער: און מאָרגען גאַנץ פֿריה װעלען מיר דיך דערשיסען.
גימפּעל בײניש: שיסען גאָר? איך׳ל דאָך אפֿילו ױדױ ניט קענען זאָגען.

ערשט איצט זעהט ער װער זײַנע אמת׳ע פֿרײַנד זײַנען.

גימפּעל בײניש: נו, װאָס װעט זײַן דער סוף פֿון שטעהן און װאַרטען ביז מען װעט מיך שיעסען?
משה מאָטעל: זעה נאָר װער עס איז דאָ! ער איז אױך אין מעקסיקאָ. אַ רחמנות אױף איהם.
משה מאָטעל: העי, גאָרגעל-שנײַדער, טראָגט אײַך אָפּ אײדער איך לעכער דורך אײַערע טריפֿה נשמות.
משה מאָטעל: איצט, ר׳ גימפּעל בײניש, זײַט-זשע מוחל און קריכט אַרױס פֿון דיא שטריק.
גימפּעל בײניש: משותלה׳ס יאָהרען זאָלסטו האָבען װאָס דו האָסט מיך געראַטעװעט פֿון גױ׳אישע הענד.

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Blogger Leybke said...

Whilst I'm not sure, I believe that Reb Gimpel cannot "beat his breast" for vidui with his hands tied behind his back. Whilst not entirely necessary, it seems to be the nature in such situations to exaggerate the well-known aspects of the halachah for comedic effect for the reader, or, alternatively, to try and get a better situation in the comic-world. Even more alternatively, and perhaps an unlikely option, it could be that Reb Gimpel has so many sins that he won't be done by morning! - Leybke

February 15, 2016 at 2:41 AM  
Blogger melinama said...

Thanks, Leybke, that makes perfect sense. I love your comments.

February 15, 2016 at 6:39 AM  
Blogger Leybke said...

Thank you! It's a mekhaya to contribute to such an "institution" ;-) - Leybke

February 18, 2016 at 5:32 AM  

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