October 14th, 2005

To Provoke in Yiddish, Try 'How Are You?'

By WILLIAM GRIMES

Most children watching "The Three Stooges" didn't realize it, but an understanding of Yiddish was required to get a lot of the jokes. In one episode, when Larry hears that Moe is heading to a hockshop, he says, "While you're there, hock me a tshaynik." What must have sounded like pure nonsense to most viewers was a Yiddish pun, one that Michael Wex, in his wise, witty and altogether wonderful "Born to Kvetch," lays on the table for analysis. Collapse )