Tuesday, August 24, 2004
Don't call me zaydee!
There's an old guy in our shul, who's a little crotchety. Ok, he's a world-class grump. Never smiles. Mutters complaints. You know the type. But sometimes, the grump makes an interesting point.
We, old-timers of the neighborhood, have learned to steer clear of the old man. Yesterday, at maariv, a newcomer went on the fool's errand of trying to cheer him up.
"How are you?" asked the newbie.
"How are your grandchildren?"
"They'll be here next week."
"Oh, how nice." said the newbie, "I'm sure they're looking forward to spending time with their zaydee."
"What did you call me?" snarled the old man.
"Um... zaydee?" the puzzled newbie replied.
Why would you call me that?! Every day, you pray three times for the zaydees to be destroyed!"
"um... I do? Wha?," said the newbie, wondering if, perhaps, he'd been speaking with a mental patient.
"Don't you daven? V'lamalshinim al tehi tikva," recited the old man as he stood up, and went towards the door,"... v'ha'ZAYDIM mehara sekar u'sishaber, u'simager v'sachniah b'mihayra v'yomenu!" (1)
Lesson learned. I doubt the well meaning newcomer will bother the grump again.
* * * * * * * * * * * * *
(1) The old man is punning the word Zayd. In yiddish, Zaydee is a grandfather. In Hebrew, Zaydim are wanton sinners. As he ended the conversation, the old man recited a passage from the Amidah, or Shmoneh Esray, the prayer recited (with some variations) morning, afternoon and evening every day. This passage asks God to destroy the enemies of the Jewish people, and to humble wanton sinners.
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