A Glezele Yash

A Glass of Booze
אַ גלעזעלע יש

Text by the Soviet-Yiddish writer Yoysef Kerler, music by V. Shainsky. Kerler is the poet who was finally allowed to leave the Soviet Union after repeated public applications. He emigrated to Israel in 1971. His poems, which are an outright protest and denunciation of the Soviet Union’s treatment of the Jews, reached the United States and were published in the Jewish Daily Forward on September 20, 1970. This song is in the repertoire of the contemporary Soviet-Yiddish singer Nekhama Lifshitz, who settled in Israel in 1969.

Illustration of musical notes from the books


When I take a little drink, oy-oy,
everything sparkles and shines;
I throw away the empty bottle, oy-oy,
and I start dancing.

Oy, oy, sweet as sugar
take me by the hand
let your legs braid and bend
my soul is on fire.

Who cares about my mother-in-law, my wife, oy-oy
I know they are a nuisance!
With the first little tumbler of wine, oy-oy
they float away.

Oy, oy, sweet as sugar
btothers join the dance
lets show our troubles and woes
what a poor person can do!

What are wories and cares to me, oy-oy,
Don’t punish me for saying so,
Lend me, dear God, oy-oy
even a little drop of joy.

Oy, Daddy, sugar-sweet,
the dancing circle turns.
All it costs is your worries, next to nothing,
so hop until you until you drop.

When I take a little drink, oy-oy,
I am not the same,
I throw away the empty bottle, oy-oy,
and I dance a sher.

Ven ikh nem a bisele yash, oy-oy,
Finklt alts un glantst;
Kh’gib a vorf di puste flash, oy-oy.
Un ikh gey a tants.

Oy, oy, tsuker-zis
Halt mir bay di hent;
Flekhtn beygelekh di fis,
Di neshome brent!

Vos mir shviger, ver mir vayb, oy-oy,
Veys ikh zey di shlek!
Mitn ershtn kelishik vayn, oy-oy,
Shvimen zey avek.

Oy, oy, tsuker-zis
Brider, kumt in kon,
Lomir vayzn vind un vist
Vos a kabtsn kon!

Vos mir dayges, ver mir zorg, oy-oy,
Shtrof nit far di reyd,
Gib mir, gotenyu, af borg, oy-oy.
Khotsh a tropn freyd.

Oy, tate, tsuker-zis,
S’redele zikh dreyt,
S’kostn tsores halb um zist,
Shpringt tsezetsterheyt!

Ven ikh nem a bisele yash, oy-oy,
Bin ikh gornit der,
Kh’gib a vorf di puste flash, oy-oy,
Un ikh gey a sher.

װען איך נעם אַ ביסעלע יש, אױ–אױ,
פֿינקלט אַלץ און גלאַנצט;
כ’גיב א װאָרף די פּוסטע פֿלאַש, אױ-אױ,
און איך גײ אַ טאנץ.

אױ, אױ, צוקער-זיס
האַלט מיר בײַ די הענט;
פֿלעכטן בײגעלעך די פֿיס,
די נשמה ברענט!

װאָס מיר שװיגער, װוער מיר װײַב, אױ-אױ,
װײס איך זײ — די שלעק!
מיטן ערשטן קעלישיק װײַן, אױ-אױ,
שװימען זײ אַװעק.

אױ, אױ, צוקער-זיס
ברידער, קומט אין קאָן,
לאָמיר װײַזן װינד און װיסט
װאָס א קבצן קאַן!

װאָס מיר דאגות, װער מיר זאָרג, אױ-אױ,
שטראָף ניט פֿאַר די רײד,
גיב מיר, גאָטעניו, אױף באָרג, אױ-אױ,
כאַטש אַ טראָפּן פֿרײד.

אױ, טאַטע, צוקער-זיס,
ס’רעדעלע זיך דרײט
ס’קאָסטן צרות האַלב אומזיסט,
שפּרינגט צעזעצטערהײט!

װען איך נעם אַ ביסעלע יש, אױ-או,
בין איך גאָרניט דער,
כ’גיב אַ װאָרף די פּוסטע פֿלאַש, אױ-אױ,
און איך גײ אַ שער.

Song Title: A Glezele Yash

Composer: V. Shainsky
Composer’s Yiddish Name: װ. שאַיִנסקי
Lyricist: Yoysef Kerler
Lyricist’s Yiddish Name: יוסף קערלער
Time Period:20th century

This Song is Part of a Collection

Mir Trogn Song Book Cover with Illustrations

Mir Trogn A Gezang: Favorite Yiddish Songs

First published in 1972, Mir Trogn A Gezang: Favorite Yiddish Songs was reprinted six more times (in 1977, 1982, 1985, 1987, 1988, 2000) due to popular demand. The songs in this anthology represent a sampling of beloved folk and well-known Yiddish songs, many of which are scattered in various song collections; some appear in very rare and inaccessible collections; and some were never before published. Folk songs comprise about a third of this volume and were selected mainly on the basis of popularity and sometimes for their historic significance. Needless to say, they are only representative of the vast, rich treasure of Yiddish folk material. The selection was made not only on the basis of personal preference, but in the knowledge they are favorites of many who sing these songs. Most of the songs represent the repertoire that was sung at Yiddish summer camps, May 1st demonstrations and at social gatherings. Many songs were introduced to American Jewry by Jewish immigrants who came to the United States after World War II, for whom these songs had been favorites in Poland and other East European communities destroyed by the Nazis.

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