Researching Yiddish penny songs (tenement song broadsides of theater and variety show songs, 1895-1925)
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Sunday, October 23, 2016

Got un zayn mishpet iz gerekht (Gott un sein mishpet iz gerecht) - sung by Solomon Smulewitz

This 1903 Yiddish song by Louis Gilrod and David Meyerowitz was a big hit from the show Di gebrokhene hertser (The Broken Hearts). You can read the whole plot of this tearjerking drama, as summarized by Neil W. Levin for the Milken Archive, here. Levin's post includes the second and third verses, transliteration and translation. For the original Yiddish lyrics see below.

The melody was used for the Yiddish Penny Song Dem arbeter's trer. (The Worker's Tear.)

Editorial note: As a modern human, and the mother of a child who was struck with cancer when he was only 12 years old, I find the moral of this song completely unacceptable.

Below, the 1905 recording of the original song. Singer is Solomon Small (Smulewitz), later better known as a composer. He sang only the first verse and two choruses.

Lyrics and translation (and full songsheet) after the jump.

Der yid hot in zayn lebn a treyst vort af zayn brokh
Un dos hot im gegebn zayn alter zeyde nokh
Un vos far a shlekhts es treft dem yidn
Vos zol im nit geshen
Trogt er durkh alts shtil un tsufridn glaykh vi gor nit geven
Zayn ponim vert blas, zayne oygn vern nas
Zayn harts vert fargosn mit blut
Tsu shtiln zayn shmerts un tsu shtarkn zayn herts
Nemt er zikh treystn dermit

Got un zayn mishpet iz gerekht
Men tor keyn mol nit zogn Got iz shlekht
Got veys vos er tut, umzist shtroft er keynem nit
Got un zayn mishpent iz gerekht

The Jew has, in his life, a consoling word in times of misfortune.
It was given to him by his old grandfather.
And whatever bad times the Jew meets up with, whatever takes place,
He carries it with him quietly and with pleasure, just as if nothing had happened
His face becomes pale, his eyes tear up, his heart pours out blood.
To quiet his heartache and to make his heart strong
He consoles himself with this:

God is correct in his judgement.
One must not say God is bad.
God knows what he's doing, he doesn't punish anyone for no reason
God is correct in his judgement.

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