Publication Date: 2/24/2018
Publisher: Right Whale Press
Page Count: 188
Binding Type: US Trade Paper- Paperback format.
Trim Size: 6″ x 9″ (15.24 x 22.86 cm)
Oy Vey – where do I start with this fascinating book I have been sent to review? Let’s try at the beginning. I was told to read the introduction carefully as it is the key to the whole book.
The first thing we realise is that the author is fluent in Yiddish as opposed to me who learnt a little as a child as my parents spoke it when they didn’t want us children to understand what they were talking about. What is Yiddish? It is a mix of Hebrew and German spoken in the “heim”, (place of origin for Jewish people in the diaspora) or “Heym” as the author spells it, amongst Ashkenazi Jews. There is no correct spelling in Yiddish. It can be spelt using Latin or Hebrew characters. In New York and Israel you can find Yiddish newspapers written in both. It was, and still is, an international language spoken originally in Poland, Russia , Germany etc. i.e. anywhere Jewish people lived. There are still people in Chassidic communities in New York, London and Manchester (UK) who only speak Yiddish. There are many words that are pronounced differently depending on where your grandparents lived. The best example of this is the name given to the dumplings found in real Jewish chicken soup which can be kneidlach or Alkies. Many Yiddish words have come into general English usage e.g. kosher (above board), shlep (drag), gelt (money) and nosh (food) as examples.
Now back to the book which is written in English! You will be pleased to hear that all the Yiddish words and phrases, that are interspersed with English, are translated in brackets. The introduction tells us about the difference between English and Yiddish and how colourful Yiddish is. There are words I know that really don’t have an English translation! I love the typical fable of the man that goes to his Rebbe (Rabbi) to ask for help and the explanation of it and how this is a parody of the Law of Similars. The author then describes Rubrics and the difference between large and small ones really descriptively. How a professional homeopath finds the correct remedy using Nat Mur and grief to show why the remedy might make the patient feel better is discussed. Potentization and Provings are touched on briefly.
“Heymischer Homeopathy focuses on and introduces homeopathic remedies for these frozen in places gripes.” The author is writing about such gripes as “I am going meshugeh (crazy)” and when I look up meshugeh, I find the remedies Hyoscyamus, Alumina and Phosphorus. The author then explains why these remedies have been chosen. There are 3 main sections: Chapter 1 concentrates on craziness states (Meshugass), Chapter 2, befuddlement states (Farmischt) and Chapter 3, states that spell trouble for the sufferer (Tsores).
The Chapters are full of humour and follow a pattern. Each Yiddish kvesch (complaint) is first described in English and also synonyms in Yiddish and English are given. Next comes possible homeopathic remedies followed by a description of why the person may need this remedy according to their complaint e.g Akshn- stubborn as a mule, Silica and Gallium, Dreykopf- a trickster, Cann I and Mercurius, Alter Kocker (I would say Alti Kaker as that is my dialect) an old fart, Carbo An and Polonium!!
Some of the complaints have amusing pen and ink cartoons bringing the Yiddish word even more alive as if it needed to be!! It’s not just the polychrest remedies that are suggested. For example, I found Amniotic Fluid and Luna suggested for a Luftmensch – an airhead, someone with his head in in the clouds. The Imponderables are mentioned and described as a group under Luftmensch.
It is a delightful “dipping into” book – not a reading all the way through one!!! It’s chock full of anecdotes. Looking at each Yiddish word or phrase and reading the remedies that have been associated with it gives a new insight into some of our well known remedies.
Overall I love this book. It will be well appreciated by any homeopath, (or their patients) who has a smattering knowledge of Yiddish.