Der Tshaynik – A Yiddish Folktale (part 4)

When I began working on Der Tshaynik (The Tea Kettle), I imagined the process would be similar to that of The Tale of the Silent Woman which I wrote and illustrated during the 100dayproject back in 2018. Each day, I produced a single page, not knowing what would follow on from there.

‘Der Tshaynik’ has been a whole other kettle of fish! The space available for text on each page is relatively limited and so I find I am working on the story in blocks of 8 or so pages. I am writing first in English, translating as best I can into Yiddish, and then running my translations by my wonderful Yiddish tutor, Katerina Kuznetzova. Next, I am writing out the Yiddish and English text in the book. And, finally, doing the illustrations. In addition, each set of pages seems to have it’s own colour palette!

The end result is, this project is turning out to have its very own time frame – definitely not as swift as ‘a page a day’! I am enjoying the process tremendously and I am very happy to settle in for the ride. I hope you will enjoy it too.

And so, my friends, it is my pleasure to continue ‘Der Tshaynik’ with ‘The Talmudist’s Tale’. (And an homage to Yentl — one of my favourite movies ever.)

New to the story? You can catch up on everything that has happened so far here.

When I was a girl, it was my dream to become a Talmudic scholar.

װען איך בין געװען אַ מײדל, איז מײַן טרוים געװען צו װערן אַ תּלמודיסט. 

Ven ikh bin geven a meydl, iz mayn troym geven tsu vern a talmudist.

But I was expected only to get married and raise children.

אָבער מען האָט דערװאַרט פֿון מיר אַז איך װעל נאָר חתונה האָבן און אױפֿציִען קינדער.

Ober men hot dervart fun mir az ikh vel nor khasene hobn un oyftsien kinder.

Dressed as a boy, I ran away and enrolled in a Yeshiva far from home.

אָנגעטאָן װי אַ ייִנגל, בין איך אַנטלױפֿן און פֿאַרשרײַבט זיך אין אַ ישיבֿה װײַט פֿון דער הײם.

Ongeton vi a yingl, bin ikh antloyfn un farshraybt zikh in a yeshive vayt fun der heym.

Oh! Those blessed days of studying! The sweetest that I ever had!

אַ מחיה! יענע געבענטשטע טעג פֿון לערנען! די זיסעסטע װאָס איך האָב בכלל געהאַט!

A mekhaye! Yene gebentshte teg fun lernen! Di ziseste vos ikh hob bikhlal gehat!

But after a short time I was discovered and kicked out in disgrace. 

אָבער נאָך אַ קורצער צײַט האָט מען מיך אױסגעפֿונען און אַרױסגעװאָרפֿן בחרפּה.

Ober nokh a kortser tsayt hot men mikh oysgefunen un aroysgevorfn bikharpe.

I wandered aimlessly, full of longing for the words in the holy books.

איך האָב זיך אַרומגעבלאָנדזשעט, פֿול מיט בענקשאַפֿט פֿאַר די װערטער אין די הײליקע ספֿרים.

Ikh hob zikh arumgeblondzhet, ful mit benkshaft far di verter in di heylike sforim.

One night, I fell to my knees and sent out a prayer from the bottom of my heart. 

אײן נאַכט, האָב איך זיך אַראָפּגעלאָזט אויף די קני און אַרויסגעזאָגט אַ תּפֿילה פֿון טיפֿן האַרצן.

Eyn nakht, hob ikh zikh aropgelozt af di kni un aroysgezogt a tfile fun tifn hartsn.

I never expected my prayer to receive such an answer …

קײן מאָל האָב איך נישט דערװאַרט אַז מײַן תּפֿילה װעט באַקומען אַזאַ ענטפֿער

Keyn mol hob ikh nisht dervart az mayn tfile vet bakumen aza entfer…

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