Thursday, September 17, 2015

Yiddish Expressions 3.1 (New Year)

Master the Yiddish Language!! 
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Express It In Yiddish:

A description of someone big and tall, towering, colossal

בן אדם גדול, ענקי, כביר, אדיר, רב גבוה

גרויס ווי עוג מלך הבשן

groys vi oyg melekh haboshon

As big as Og the King of Bashan*

גדול כמו עוג מלך הבשן

*Og according to The Torah, was an Amorite king of Bashan who, along with his army, was slain by Moses and his men at the battle of Edrei.
Og is mentioned in Jewish literature as being alive from the time of Noah up until the time of his death in battle with the Israelites. It is also written in the Midrash that he had a special compartment in Noah's Ark just for him. Aggadah suggests an alternative to this; that he sat upon the top of the ark, riding out the flood for the duration of the storm from this location.
Og is introduced in the Book of Numbers. Like his neighbor Sihon of Heshbon, whom Moses had previously conquered at the battle of Jahaz he was anAmorite king, the ruler of Bashan, which contained sixty walled cities and many unwalled towns, with his capital at Ashtaroth (probably modern Tell Ashareh, where there still exists a 70-foot mound).
The Book of Numbers, Chapter 21, and Deuteronomy, Chapter 3, continues:
"Next we turned and went up along the road toward Bashan, and Og king of Bashan with his whole army marched out to meet us in battle at Edrei." Moses speaks: "The LORD said to me, "Do not be afraid of him, for I have handed him over to you with his whole army and his land. Do to him what you did to Sihon king of the Amorites, who reigned in Heshbon ... So the LORD our God also gave into our hands Og king of Bashan and all his army. We struck them down, leaving no survivors." ... "At that time we took all his cities, there was not one of the sixty cities that we did not take from them—the whole region of Argob, Og's kingdom in Bashan ... destroying every city, men, women and children ... But all the livestock and the plunder from their cities we carried off for ourselves."
Og's destruction is told in Psalms 135:11 and 136:20 as one of many great victories for the nation of Israel, and the book of Amos2:9 may refer to Og as "the Amorite" whose height was like the height of the cedars and whose strength was like the oaks.

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


  1. In our family we used to say: azoy ve "ashmodai". Was he a giant. Do you know the background?

    1. That is interesting. I have never heard that expression used in that context. By us the expression "azoy vi ashmeday" was used when the kids were wild or when we were disheveled the expression was "du bist tseploshet vi ashmeday.