The classic example of chutzpah, the Yiddish word for brazen gall, is that of a man who, after being convicted for killing both his parents, throws himself on the mercy of the court on the grounds that he’s an orphan. Everyone in every culture in the world has experienced chutzpah, but to my knowledge, only Yiddish nails it so precisely. The beauty of so many Yiddish words is that you don’t have to actually know what they mean to understand them completely when used. Yiddish is one of the most emotionally onomatopoetic languages ever invented.
Another example of chutzpah that rivals even the archetypal parricide is that of the Chassidic Jews in Brooklyn who’ve recently gotten into a snit because “scantily clad” women ride their bicycles on the bike routes along the bike paths on the streets running through the South Williamsburg area:Â [Read more…]