Dos Lid Fun Der Ayznban

The Train
דאָס ליד פֿון דער אײַזנבאַן

A humorous song from the Period of Enlightenment, commenting upon the shocked reaction of the Hassidim to the monstrous invention of the train. Text published in 1901 by S. Ginzburg and P. Marek, melodic variants in Ost und West, in 1907 and by A.Z. ldelsohn.

A longer version of ten stanzas is brought by Dr. Israel Taglicht in 1929, who heard the song about fifty years earlier, i.e. about 1879. Some of the other stanzas are: “How foolish the world has become to think that one can travel on a wagon without horses. Some one in Paris or Vienna, a Litvak smart aleck (sheygets) thinks up some kind of a machine, takes a lot of money and puts it in the ground. Wouldn’t it have been better to give this money to the poor! Any reasonable man will admit that this was done with pure witchcraft. The Apikorsim (heretics) are in league with devils. Do you think it possible to travel a few hundred miles daily? I saw with my own eyes that an evil spirit sits there. He eats as much as a hundred horses on the shortest trip. When his stomach is empty he stands still. With one bite he eats six feet of wood.” In some versions the song starts with a stanza about going to the Rabbi after the Sabbath to tell him of the train.

Illustration of musical notes from the books


Who has seen
and who has heart (of such a thing),
that fire and water
can drive like a horse?

Oh, it has a whistle
with the strength of iron
water pours out below
and smoke gushes out above!

Hot coals
are delicacies for it,
and boiling water
is like chicken soup for it!

Master of the Universe,
cut it’s life short (lit. take away its years),
so it will not be able to whistle
and not be able to run!

Ver hot dos gezen
Un ver hot dos gehert,
Az fayer mit vaser
Zoln firn vi a ferd?

Oy, hot er a fayfer
Mit an ayzernem koyekh,
Fun untn gist zikh vaser,
Fun oybn shpart a roykh!

Heyse koyln
lz bay im a maykhl,
Kokhedik vaser
lz bay im a yaykhl!

Reboyne shel oylem,
Nem im tsu di yorn,
Er zol nit kenen fayfn
Un zol nit kenen torn!

װער האָט דאָס געזען
און װער האָט דאָס געהערט,
אַז פֿײַער מיט װאַסער
זאָלן פֿירן װי אַ פֿערד?

אױ, האָט ער א פֿײַפֿער
מיט אַן אײַזערנעם כּוח,
פֿון אונטן גיסט זיך װאַסער,
פֿון אױבן שפּאַרט אַ רױך!

הײסע קױלן
איז בײַ אים א מאכל,
קאָכעדיק װאַסער
איז בײַ אים א יײַכל!

רבונו של עולם,
נעם אים צו די יאָרן,
ער זאָל ניט קענען פֿײַפֿן
און זאָל ניט קענען פֿאָרן!

Song Title: Dos Lid Fun Der Ayznban

Composer: Unknown
Composer’s Yiddish Name: Unknown
Lyricist: Unknown
Lyricist’s Yiddish Name: Unknown
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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