Sholem Aleichem-isms

It should never happen to you!

Master of the universe, what have I done to deserve all this? 

Some people have all the luck! 

I swear, I wouldn’t wish it on a dog! 

What happened? What happened shouldn’t have happened to a soul. 

God reward you a hundred times over.

I wish you a long life and one you won’t wish was any shorter. 

When God decides to punish a man, He begins by removing his brains. 

No place on earth is bad enough to deserve him. 

You should try her pudding or her poppy cake—then you would know what heaven on earth is really like.

What’s a wife for, if not to put a man in his place? 

May your mouth be up against His ears. 

I swear by all that’s holy—may God strike me down if I try any monkey business! 

May all my bad dreams come true for my enemies!

May she speak no ill of us in heaven.

The more man plans, the harder God laughs.

Wisdom and second thoughts are two things that always come too late. 

How I wish I had never heard that name! 

It shouldn’t happen to my worst enemy!

May her life be a long one.

He’s as honest as the day is long.

You should live to be one hundred and twenty.

All my arguments did as much good as last winter’s snow.

Dying from sheer happiness.

God rot his soul! 

Like death warmed over.

Why are you making such a production of this? 

Money can dig a man’s grave faster than a shovel.

You never know where the Angel of Death will make a date with you….

I’m still the same old schlimazel.

It should never happen to you.

It shouldn’t happen to a living soul!

Damn his soul.

She listened to me the way a dead man listens in the  grave.

There’s no arguing with God, and you can’t tell Him how to run this world of His.

Anyone can be a goy, but a Jew must be born one. 

–from Sholem Aleichem, Tevye the Dairyman
Translated by Hillel Halkin

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