© Copyright to Kathryn Hellerstein, 2003, all rights reserved.
The photo of Miriam Ulinover is from publisher, Mosad Harav Kook.
Translated by Kathryn Hellerstein
Everyone drinks from the Havdolah cup,
So I sip a drop of wine, too.
Fondly, earnestly, Grandmother says:
Dear child, I'm warning you
That drinking from the Havdolah cup
Will give a girl a beard—
That's what is written down
In the shelf of Holy Books there.
I collapse in terror,
I touch the tip of my chin:
Thank God!... Still soft and girlish...
But sharp, pointed in fear.
Sometimes, when an infection
Appears on a girl's eye,
My grandmother picks from her Makhzor
A wondrous stalk of remedy:
When hunger staggers the city,
Dear child, protect your eyes
By feeding barley to a doe
To keep you safe from sties.
Grandmother, do you maybe have
More remedies in your book of prayers?
Perhaps you can protect my eyes
From big, hot tears?
ver es foylt zikh flekhten khales,
flekhten vet a groyen tsop--
yogt di bobe mikh tsum multer,
khap ikh shtil zikh farn kop:
un dos gele beker-meydel?
khales yede vokh -- a boyd --
un gebliben alte moyd!
Whoever is lazy twisting hallahs,
Will twist a gray braid—
My grandmother chases me to the trough,
I silently grab for my head:
And the gold-haired baker-girl?
Each week—a wagonload
Of loaves she's braided perfectly—
She's still an old maid!