“Bin ikh mir a shnayderl” Performed by M. M. Shaffir

Bin ikh mir a shnayderl / I Am a Little Tailor
Song composed and sung by M. M. Shaffir, recorded in the Bronx 1974 by Itzik Gottesman

Commentary by Itzik Gottesman

This song by the Montreal Yiddish poet M. M. Shaffir was recorded the same evening as previously posted “A badekns” and “Doina“. The much longer original poem and music were published in his poetry collection Ikh kum aheym (1963). Those pages are attached at the bottom of this post. 

Shaffir Reciting

Picture of a program honoring M. M. Shafir at the Sholem Aleichem Cultural Center, Bronx 1974. From the right: Mordkhe Schaechter, M. M. Shaffir, Saul Goodman, Moyshe Steingart. (photo by Itzik Gottesman)

The refrain “Udom yesoydo meofer, vesoyfoy leyofer” means “Man’s origin is from dust and his end is dust.” can be found in the Rosh-Hashone and Yom-kippur prayer “unsane toykef.” The irony in the song is that even a lowly “little tailor” can sing such a profound message and get the attention of the whole street.

In descriptions of shtetl life and in Yiddish literature, the tailor and, more often, the youth working in his/her tailor workshop, sang many songs while working.

TRANSLITERATION

Bin ikh mir a shnayderl
mit gildene tsen finger
Zing ikh mir a lidele –
arbet zikh mir gringer.

Zing ikh mir a lidele
leybedik in minter –
Makht di nudl din-din-din,
in di sher helft inter. 

Udom, udom oy, oy, oy, yesoydo meofor,
vesoyfoy, vesoyfoy oy, oy, oy
vesoyfoy leyofor.
vesoyfoy vesoyfoy oy oy, oy
vesoyfoy leyofor.. 

Greyt tsu tish, neshomenyu,
Dos harts iz mir farkhalesht.
I’nishtu keyn broyt in shtib –
meygsti greytn khales.

Iz keyn khale oykh nishto
meygsti greytn tortn.
Eyn mul leybt men narele,
vi se zugt zikh dortn.

Udom, udom oy, oy, oy, yesoydo meofor,
vesoyfoy, vesoyfoy oy, oy, oy
vesoyfoy leyofor.
vesoyfoy vesoyfoy oy oy, oy
vesoyfoy leyofor.

Ikh ney mitn neydele
in pres mir mitn presl
Un az ikh zing a lidele
hert dos gantse gesl.

Ikh paykl mitn fingerhit,
un klap mit di shtrumentn.
Me shteyt shoyn bay di fentserlekh –
A gite zakh derkent’n.

Udom, udom oy, oy, oy, yesoydo meofor,
vesoyfoy, vesoyfoy oy, oy, oy
vesoyfoy leyofor.
vesoyfoy vesoyfoy oy oy, oy
vesoyfoy leyofor.

In drosn geyt a regndl,
in shtibl iz a royekh.
Lo’mikh zeyn a shmeykhele
khotsh di bist fartroyert.

Ikh bin a shnayderl,
pushetlekh un prostlekh,
in zing mir tsi a lidele –
ot, kol-zman se lozt zikh…

Udom, udom oy, oy, oy, yesoydo meofor,
vesoyfoy, vesoyfoy oy, oy, oy
vesoyfoy leyofor.
vesoyfoy vesoyfoy oy oy, oy
vesoyfoy leyofor.

TRANSLATION

I am a little tailor
with ten fingers of gold.
When I sing a song,
I work with greater ease.

I sing a little song,
lively and
The needle makes the sound of din-din-din
and the scissor helps it along. 

“Man’s origin is from dust,
and his end is dust.”

Prepare the table, my dear.
My heart is fainting.
If there’s no bread at home,
then you can serve khale.

If there is also no khale,
then serve cakes.
You only live once, silly thing,
as it is written somewhere.

“Man’s origin is from dust,
and his end is dust.”

I sew with the needle
and iron with the iron.
and when I sing a song,
the whole street hears it.

I drum along with the thimble,
and bang on the instruments.
People are standing at the windows –
They recognize a good thing.

Outside it’s raining,
inside there’s smoke.
Let us see a smile
though you are saddened.

I am a little tailor
simple and plain.
and sing me a little song
as long as I can.

“Man’s origin is from dust,
and his end is dust.”

As published in M. M. Shaffir’s book Ikh kum aheym (1963):
shnaydrl1

shnaydrl2

shnaydrl3

shnaydrl4shnaydrlmus

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: