Ah, summer vacation.
A time for introspection, reflection, and contemplation.
A time to ponder some of life’s deepest mysteries – most of which pertain to being the Anglo parent of Israeli offspring.
For instance, consider these unfathomable enigmas:
1) “Even Niyar U’Misparayim” (literally, “Rock, Paper, and Scissors”) is the Hebrew equivalent of, well, “Rock, Paper, Scissors.” (Sorry, but no word on how to say, “lizard, Spock”… :-))
But here’s the strange part.
You see, traditionally, the game begins with a sing-song recitation of the following:
.אבן נייר ומספרים
.המנצח בין השנים
.אחת, שתים, שלוש
Translation: Rock, paper, and scissors./ The winner of the two./ One, two, three. (No, it doesn’t sound any better in the original…)
Which is - needless to say - long, cumbersome, and unwieldy.
And thus, ever resourceful, Israeli kids came up with a shortened version:
Yes, the literal translation of “even juk" IS “rock cockroach,” and no, I have absolutely no idea what’s the kesher. (Loose translation for the Heblish-impaired: What do cockroaches have to do with anything?)
In fact, I even tried turning to the experts - i.e. a couple of the Shiputzim kids – for help.
However, they simply shrugged and said that they “don’t know but it’s just a kitzur (abbreviation).”
Which, IMNSHO, was less of an explanation and more of a restatement of the question, but in a situation like this, one takes what one can get…
2) As if the whole jukim-as-shorthand thing is not perplexing enough, it turns out that
the world the country the adolescent segment of the population is divided into two groups:
- Those who run on over to Misrad HaPnim (the Interior Ministry) on the very day that they turn 16, in order to receive their teudot zehut (identity cards).
- Those who don’t get around to taking care of this uniquely-Israeli rite of passage until their tzav rishon (army induction paper) arrives and/or until their parents nag them enough and finally force them out the door…
Do YOU know the answer to either of these baffling riddles of Israeli life?