Nadirisms 59 & 60: Yiddish and the Classical Languages, & On Loving Thy Neighbor
Our language is not dying like Latin or Greek, ours is much, much more tragic. But there is an upside: if our death is to be more agonizing than Greek or Latin’s, well, then we are to live longer after our death than either of those classical languages. And when they one day exhume our language, then you, Itsik Manger, you will be borne higher on their hands--higher than Homer, believe you me! (From a Letter to Itsik Manger)
Nit vi grikhish un latayn geyt oys undzer shprakh, nor a sakh, a sakh tragisher. Der balzam is: oyb shverer vi grikhish un latayn veln mir untergeyn, veln mir ober nokhn toyt lebn lenger vi yene beyde klasishe shprakhn. Az m’vet amol oysgrobn undzer shprakh, vestu, du Itsik Manger, getrogn vern af di hent--hekher fun Homer’n, gleyb es mir! (Fun a briv tsu Itsik Manger)
If you want to satisfy the proverb “love thy neighbor as thyself,” just stop loving yourself very much at all.
Oyb men vil az der posek “hob lib dayn khaver vi zikh aleyn,” zol mekayem vern, muz men zikh aleyn ufhern tsu shtark lib tsu hobn.