Wednesday, January 23, 2008

"Baruch Hashem" Usage at Epidemic Levels, Baruch Hashem

(forwarded to me by someone else)

BROOKLYN, NEW YORK - [] Pyschologists and rabbinic leaders are warning about the prevalence of Honorifics and Frum Idiom Confusion Syndrome in the Jewish community, bli ayin hara.

Over the past several years the number of honorifics and superstitous idioms added to the frum vocabulary has been increasing exponentially, k'niyna hara. This has caused some confusion to occur, baruch Hashem, especially to those with more simple minds, kein yirbu.

Typically the syndrome starts with overuse of the terms, b'chasdei Hashem, then quickly turns to usage of the terms in the completely wrong place, shlita. In more advanced cases, nisht auf Shabbos geret, idioms foreign to the frum world, l'havdil elef havdalos, are used as well, praise the L-rd.

In addition to the number of such terms, zy gezunt, the prevalence of usage of such terms has increased exponentially as well, yasher koach. For example, 20 years ago, mamesh, the term "baruch Hashem", was limited to a portion of Maariv that most people did not say, gezundheit. Today it constitutes 23% of a typical frum male's spoken word and 27% of a typical frum female's, im yirtzeh Hashem by you. It has been added to most kosher menus, thank you - come again, and has replaced "all of the above" on standardized tests given to yeshiva bochrim, lo aleinu.

Family and friends of those afflicted with this disease, chas v'shalom, are advised to use caution when asking simple questions such as "How are you?" This may cause the afflicted person, zt"l, to reply with a stream of unrelated frum idioms that usually have nothing to do with how they are doing, may Allah strike you down with the strength of 1000 elephants. The best option, in the opinion of the professionals, Hashem yinakem damam, is to stick a tehillim in front of them, ad meah v'esrim. This should keep their mouths busy until such time as a permanent cure is found. (David Friedman)

[David Friedman used to play with the margins to make his articles longer. This is more fun.]

© 2007 All rights reserved. This material may be published, broadcast or redistributed as long as all the content remain intact, including this paragraph.

(as requested in the final note, all typos in the above humorous article are the original author's/website's)

A few times I've responded to someone's having answered the question "how are you?" with barukh Hashem by saying ...le‘olam, amein ve’amein, I know — but how are you?

Some more popular responses, attributed to R' Elie Silverberg, R' Dr. Chaim Brovender, and/or R' Yehuda Parnes, are variations on I didn't ask how frum you are, I asked how you're doing!


Blogger The back of the hill said...

Heaven forfend, bli neder. But of course IY"H by you, it's a blessing, thank heavens far from us. As long as you're happy, that's all that counts, lehavdil.

1/23/2008 7:09 PM  
Blogger Abacaxi Mamao said...

Hah hah hah! This brought a smile to my face--possibly even a chuckle--which ain't easy after a long day of work in January. It's so nice to read good "Purim Torah" when it isn't Purim.

Thank you!

1/23/2008 7:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

One of my roshei yeshiva last year said to say Baruch Hashem if you mean it- for the seemingly good and bad. Otherwise, it seems like you only want Hashem when you perceive things to be good/going well in your life.

We can't stick to one language in a sentence anymore, let alone a conversation!

1/23/2008 10:36 PM  
Blogger rivkayael said...

I love your response ;) shall try it with classmates.

1/24/2008 8:59 AM  
Blogger Phillip Minden said...

I saw that the other day, and just loved "quickly turns to usage of the terms in the completely wrong place, shlita."

I didn't ask how frum you are, I asked how you're doing!

More pointedly: I didn't ask how frum you are, I asked how you are.
Or: I asked "How are you?", not "How frum are you?"

But still, it seems to irritate people if you don't feel well and answer "Bad, borcheshem." I know it's counter-intuitive, but why would "boruch hashem" not be applicable then, chas vesholem (and shlite)?

It's better than the usual plain Boruch hashem with a they-give-me-six-months-but-I'm-brave face.

1/24/2008 11:23 AM  
Blogger Michael Koplow said...

Very nice.

And speaking of which, let's not, chas vesholem, forget "very nice," which is frumloshen for "what-EVVV-err." As in these two conversations that I've takeh heard:

(1) "I got condo'd out, so I'm moving down the block to an apartment just like my old one."

"Very nice."

(2) "Why are you sponsoring kiddush?"

"It's for my mother's yortzait."

"Very nice."

1/24/2008 1:51 PM  
Blogger rabbi neil fleischmann said...

I wonder if "Baruch HaShem" is any better or worse than "Fine." The whole "how are you?" exchange is often just words, so what's the big difference what the response is?

1/28/2008 12:24 AM  
Blogger therapydoc said...

Gam zu.

1/28/2008 4:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Knish looks totally different now.

1/28/2008 8:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

But still, it seems to irritate people if you don't feel well and answer "Bad, borcheshem."

Isn't the expression "Borecheshem shleçt" pretty conventional as a response to "How are you"? I have definitely heard it from Yekkes other than you.

1/29/2008 9:30 AM  
Blogger Phillip Minden said...

Indeed? I can't recall ever hearing this.

Anyway, here's the old joke (sorry, won't work in English) about the lawyer who runs into a friend:

Friend: "Wie geht es Ihnen, Herr Cohn?"

Lawyer: "Danke, Herr Levy, schlecht, ich kann nicht klagen."

1/29/2008 11:50 AM  
Blogger The back of the hill said...

That's like Indian English:
"How are you I hope?"
"Not good due to your kindness"
Odd. But intelligible.

1/29/2008 2:08 PM  
Blogger Gila said...

"may Allah strike you down with the strength of 1000 elephants"


Yeah, frumspeak is mamash epidemic here in Israel. B'ezrat Hashem is also popular.


2/02/2008 4:09 AM  
Blogger Michael Sedley said...

My favorite response to someone who answers the question "how are you" with "Baruch HaShem" is "Baruch HaShem Great, or Baruch HaShem Lousy"

After all, theree is a mitzva to Praise HaShem even for the bad, so Baruch HaShem doesn't really tell me ANYTHING about how the person is.

2/18/2008 1:00 PM  
Blogger B.BarNavi said...

"This may cause the afflicted person, zt"l,"

'cause they're pretty much dead inside anyway. :P

7/27/2008 2:32 PM  

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