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.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Gimpel performs two mitsves (mitzvot) and receives one in return. 11-16-1914, 11-17-1914, 11-18-1914

This was the Warheit front page headline on November 16, 1914:

Germans come into Warsaw again
Russians to Kenigsberg

Meanwhile things with Gimpel took an uncharacteristically tender turn. First he gives his food to a starving family, then he takes in a stray dog. And the next day a German soldier shares his sandwich with Gimpel, so what goes around comes around -- at least for three days...

He calls this little family a "bontsh" - a bunch. And I like how the young German soldier in the third strip respectfully calls him porits'l - little nobelman.

November 16, 1914: Finally he earns something: a mitzvah.
  1. May their lives be as hard as it was for me to get this food.
  2. What kind of bunch of folks is this? As long as they're not soldiers.
  3. Do you want something to eat, littl girl? Take it, eat it in good health.
  4. Since you are hungry, why be ashamed? Take it all.
  5. When there are no matches to be made, at least let me have a mitzva.

November 17, 1914: He saved something in the war.
  1. Go to hell, swinish hound. That's all I need, to add you to my troubles.
  2. A pretty thank you - I don't want anything to do with dogs.
  3. Why are you giving me your comedian's shtick? It won't do you any good.
  4. And yet perhaps - who knows - even a dog knows who Gimpel Beynish is.
  5. Come with me, little brother, I like you better than the soldiers.

November 18, 1914: Finally he gets a bit of good out of the war.
  1. A new misfortune. A soldier again already. Heaven and earth and soldiers.
  2. I can't even hide from them. He's coming right this way.
  3. If I had a siddur I'd say my final confession.
  4. Little nobleman, friend, I'm Gimpel Beynish, not a spy, God forbid.
  5. You're sharing your food with me? You deserve a bride, I swear.

ענדליך פֿערדיענט ער דאָך עפּעס – אַ מצוה.

זאָל זײ אַזױ באַקומען דאָס לעבען װיא מיר באַקומט דאָס עסען.
װאָס פֿאַר אַ באָנטש װײַזט זיך דאָרטען? אַבי ניט קײן סאָלדאַטען.
װילסט עפּעס עסען, מײדעלע? נאַ, עס געזונדערהײט.
אַז איהר זײַט הונגעריג װאָס שעהמט איהר זיך? נאַט אײַך אַלעס.
אַז קײן שידוכים ניט, לאָמיך כאָטש האָבען אַ מצוה.

עפּעס האָט ער דאָך אָפּגעשפּאַרט אין דער מלחמה.

געה אין דער ערד, חזיר׳שער הונט. נאָך דוא פֿעהלסט מיר צו מײַנע צרות.
אַ שעהנעם דאַנק דיר – איך װיל ניט האָבען צו טהאָן מיט הינט.
װאָס מאַכסטו מיר דאָ פֿאַר קאָמעדיאַנטסקע שטיק? ס׳װעט דיר גאָר ניט העלפֿען.
און אפֿשר – איך װײס – אפֿילו אַ הונט װײסט װער גימפּעל בײניש איז.
קום מיט מיר, ברודערקע. ביזט מיר ליעבער װיא דיא סאָלדאַטען.

ענדליך האָט ער פֿאָרט אַ שטיקעל נוץ פֿון דער מלחמה.

אַ נײַע אָנשיקעניש. שױן װידער אַ סאָלדאַט. הימעל און ערד און סאָלדאַטען.
אפֿילו בעהאַלטען זיך פֿון זײ קען מען ניט. ער געהט גלײַך אַהער.
װען איך האָב בײַ מיר אַ סידור װאָלט איך געזאָגט ױדױ.
פּריץ׳ל, טאַטעלע, איך בין גימפּעל בײניש, ניט קײן שפּיאָן, חלילה.
טהײלסט זיך מיט מיר מיט׳ן עסען? ביסט כ׳לעבען װערטה אַ כּלה.

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