chapter  XV
5 Pages

PROVERBS AND MAXIMS

JEWISH Folklore, whether recorded in Hebrew or in Yiddish, is rich in proverbs and maxims. The Jew has not only a suitable blessing for every event in life, good

or bad, for personal joys and sufferings-more often the latter -but he also invents a proverb, a maxim or a saying which mirrors the Jewish soul, its striving and yearning, its suffering and sorrow, and, above all, its trust in God. Some of these proverbs and maxims are quotations from Bible and Talmud, whilst others have sprung up spontaneously among the folk in their century-long exile. Jewish proverbs, too, like Jewish folktales, are distinguished from those of other nations not only by their ethical colouring, but also by particularly Jewish characteristics, viz., sadness and self-irony coupled with optimism.