Express It In Yiddish:
someone walking around idle, unemployed, a loafer that doesn't do much work nor does he look for work, do-nothing, good-for-nothing, deadbeat, lazybones, dud, failure, has-been
ער דרייט זיך אַרום ווי אַ שוחט אין די נײַן טעג
er dreyt zikh arum vi a shoykhet in di nayn teg
he mills around like a slaughterer in the nine days*
הוא מסתובב כמו שוחט בתשעת הימים
שכנא, דריי זיך אַרום, וועט מען מיינען דו האַנדעלסט
(האָט די פרוי געזאָגט צו איר מאַן, שכנא, דעם שלימזל)
Shakhne, dry zikh arum, vet men meynen du handelst
(hot di froy gezogt tsu ir man, Shakhne, dem shlimazl)
Shachne, come and go about, they'll think your doing business
(said the woman to her unsuccessful husband)
שכנא, תסתובב, יחשבו שאתה עושה עסקים
(האשה אמרה לבעלה הביש מזל )
*The Nine Daysis a religious observance in Judaism that takes place during the first nine days of the Jewish mont hofAv (corresponding to July/August). The Nine Days begin on Rosh Chodesh Av ("First of Av") and culminate on the public fast day of Tisha B'Av ("Ninth of Av").
The Nine Days are part of a larger period of time known as The Three Weeks, which begin with the public fast day of the Seventeenth of Tammuz— commemorated in Judaism for the time when the forces of NebuchadnezzarofBabyloniafinally broke through the defensive walls surrounding Jerusalem, generally accepted as happening in 586 BCE — and end with the public fast day of Tisha B'Av — when the Babylonians finally destroyed theFirst Temple in 597 BC and when theSecond Temple was destroyed by the Romans in 70 AD. During the entire Three Weeks, certain activities are forbidden to Jews by Jewish lawin order to decrease joy and inspire mourning over the destruction of Temple.
The Talmud says, "When the month of Av begins, we [i.e. Jews] reduce our joy. The Nine Days inaugurates an even greater level of communal and personal mourning in recognition of the many tragedies and calamities that befell the Jewish people at this time.These tragedies include the destruction of both Temples, the expulsion of the Jews from Spainon Tisha B'Av 1492, and the outbreak of World War I on Tisha B'Av 1914, which overturned many Jewish communities. The Nine Days are considered an inauspicious time, fraught with danger even in our day and age.
Rather than view the Three Weeks and the Nine Days as times of punishment and self-mortification, religious Jews see them as opportunities to mourn the destruction of property, and forge a closer relationship with God.The Talmud states that all who mourn the destruction of Jerusalem will merit to rejoice in its rebuilding.The Sages also teach that theJewish Messiahwas born on Tisha B'Av.It is that promise of redemption which makes this period one of hope and anticipation.
The mourning observances during the Three Weeks are divided into four levels, increasing in intensity:
- From theSeventeenth of Tammuzuntil the end ofTammuz
- From Rosh Chodesh Av until the week in which Tisha B'Av falls
- The week in which Tisha B'Av falls
- Tisha B'Av itself
During the entire Three Weeks,Ashkenazi Jewsrefrain from making weddings, playing or listening to music, and shaving or taking haircuts.Sephardi Jewsbegin these mourning observances on Rosh Chodesh Av, although Sephardi Jews generally do not hold weddings at all during the Three Weeks because they are an inauspicious time. Engagements are permitted. The custom is also to avoid making a major purchase such as a new home or car.
During the Nine Days, these additional activities are forbidden by Jewish law because they bring one to joy:
- Home improvements, painting and new construction
- Planting trees, flowers or grass
- Laundering clothes, towels, tablecloths and bed linens
- Wearing new or freshly laundered clothing
- Making or buying new clothes, towels, tablecloths and bed linens
- Eating meat or poultry
- Drinking wine or grape juice
- Bathing for pleasure (i.e., one may not take a hot shower or bath, but may use cold water to remove dirt and sweat)
- Swimming for health or exercise
On Tisha B'Av itself, these additional prohibitions are in force:
- Eating and drinking
- Applying oils or perfumes
- Wearing leather shoes
- Marital relations
- Learning Torah
- Greeting people
- Sitting on a chair (until midday)
The restrictions against eating meat and drinking wine, besides reducing a person's pleasure, recall the cessation of theKorban Tamid(daily animal sacrifice) and theNesach Hayayin(wine libations) on the Temple Altar with the destruction of the Temple.
Many kosher meat restaurants alter their menus during The Nine Days, replacing meat and chicken dishes with fish and vegetarian options in order to remain open while the meat prohibition is in place.
Children, pregnant or nursing women, and old or sick people who must eat meat for health reasons are allowed to. It is advisable, however, for them to eat poultry or meat derivatives.
On Shabes, all forms of mourning are suspended. Therefore, observant Jews eat meat at their Shabes meals and drink wine or grape juice forKiddushas usual. Whereas during the rest of the Nine Days, one may not take a hot shower, this too is permitted on Friday in honor of Shabes. Similarly, while during the rest of the week one cannot wear freshly laundered clothes, on Shabes, this is allowed.
Yiddish is rich with expressions. In fact, sometimes the same phrase can be said in a number of different ways. I try to bring the unique ones, where it is is not obvious from the literal translation what the expression means.