Yiddish for Yeshivah Bachurim/Introduction

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Intended audience[edit]

Though the Yiddish language took a heavy toll during the Holocaust, when most of its speakers were lost, the language is still commonly used to give shiurim or mussar shmuessn in yeshivos. Unfortunately, many English-speaking yeshivah-students, though they already know many Yiddish words, and even incorporate them into their English, are unable to understand a full shiur given in Yiddish.

The purpose of this guide is to teach enough vocabulary and grammar to understand a Yiddish shiur.

Because of this intended purpose, this booklet differs from typical Yiddish lessons in two ways. First of all, it is assumed that the reader is already familiar with the large number of Yiddish words that most yeshivah bachurim already know. If you understand the following sentence, you should be okay: The Rambam holds that it’s a machlokes hasugyos, but other rishonim are meyasheiv the stirah.

The other difference between this book and others is the type of Yiddish that is taught. The goal of this kuntres is to enable the reader to listen to a shiur in Yiddish, not to buy a washing machine in Meah Shearim. If you want to learn the more everyday words of Yiddish, consider reading the other Yiddish Wikibook.

That being said, the grammar and much of the vocabulary presented here would be useful to anyone learning Yiddish. At the time of writing, the regular Yiddish Wikibook has very little content and this book may serve as a temporary substitute.

Sections[edit]

The book is divided into two sections. The first section is about some basic grammar rules. It avoids going into any boring details that are unnecessary for someone whose sole purpose is to understand Yiddish, not to speak it. The second section is a list of words, divided into categories, which are commonly used in Yeshivos, together with examples.

The two sections are more or less independent of each other. You can read either section first, or both at the same time. If you are already more familiar with the vocabulary (as is common with people who have been learning in Yeshivah for a long time), you may want to concentrate more on the grammar section. If you already know the basic grammar (which is, in any case, similar to English and easy to pick up), you may wish to concentrate on the vocabulary section. One suggested reader order is first to read the Reading Yiddish section, followed by the section about Some very common words, followed by the rest of the grammar section, and finally the remainder of the vocabulary section.


The book may be freely copied and distributed. Please be mezakeh the rabim by doing so. Yiddish for Yeshivah Bachurim/Bottombar