We are now in the Three Weeks leading up to the fast of the Ninth of Av. Erica's book  In the Narrow Places  provides you with a daily reading to transform these somber days of remembrance into a period of introspection and spiritual growth.


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Weekly Jewish Wisdom

JuLY 27, 2017

Long Suffering

“Men zol nit gepruft verren tsu vos me ken gevoint verren.”
Pray that you may never have to endure all that you can learn to bear.
— Yiddish Expression

I learned the painful but true saying above from a collection of sayings called Yiddish Wisdom, produced by Chronicle Books. I also learned how to say, "You can't sit on two horses with one behind" and "If your grandmother had a beard, she's be your grandfather" in Yiddish but haven't figured out the right context in which to use them.
I turned to this small collection because Yiddish has a rich and creative vocabulary for expressing pain. There is something appealingly inelegant about it that feels authentic to the way real people live and think. This is in contrast to many biblical texts that we read this season in a liturgical context to mark the Three Weeks of mourning over the loss of the two holy Temples and other tragedies of Jewish history commemorated during these days of ancient heartbreak. The prophets offered us their literary prose, their complicated metaphors and their daring antics to get the attention of a misbehaving people. Yiddish gives us a simple "OY."

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