Last Updated on December 8, 2022
Sholom Aleichem was a master of words, using his talent for storytelling to entertain and educate readers about the complexities of Jewish life. His works, which include novels, plays, and short stories, have been translated into numerous languages and continue to be enjoyed by readers around the world.
In honor of his legacy, here are 30 of the best Sholom Aleichem quotes that showcase his wit, wisdom, and insight.
Who Was Sholom Aleichem?
Sholom Aleichem was a Russian-Jewish author who is widely regarded as one of the greatest writers of Yiddish literature. Born in 1859 in Ukraine, Aleichem (which means “peace be with you” in Hebrew) was the pen name of Solomon Rabinovich. He grew up in a poor but devout Jewish household and received a traditional Jewish education.
Aleichem began his writing career at a young age, publishing his first story in a Hebrew-language newspaper when he was just 16 years old.
He later moved to Kiev, where he worked as a Hebrew and Yiddish teacher. However, he found greater success as a writer, and he began publishing stories, novels, and plays in Yiddish, the language of Ashkenazi Jews.
One of Aleichem’s most famous works is his series of stories about the fictional town of Kasrilevke and its inhabitants.
These stories, which were published in Yiddish newspapers, were later collected and translated into many languages, including English. The stories are known for their humor and their portrayal of Jewish life in the shtetl, or small town.
In addition to his fiction, Aleichem also wrote essays, plays, and memoirs. He was a vocal critic of the Czarist regime and its treatment of Jews, and he often used his writing to express his political views.
He also wrote about the cultural changes taking place in the Jewish community at the time, as more and more Jews were moving to the cities and abandoning traditional ways of life.
Despite his literary success, Aleichem struggled financially throughout his life. He was forced to move his family to Switzerland in 1891 due to debt, and they later moved to New York City. In New York, Aleichem continued to write and publish, but he struggled to make ends meet. He died in 1916 at the age of 57.
Today, Sholom Aleichem is remembered as one of the foremost writers of Yiddish literature. His stories and characters, such as the lovable scoundrel Tevye, have been adapted into plays, films, and musicals, including the popular Broadway show “Fiddler on the Roof.”
His writing remains an important part of Jewish culture and literature, and continues to be read and enjoyed by people around the world.
Let’s now look at some of his best quotes that will help you to know more about his thoughts.
Sholom Aleichem Quotes
1. “You see how it is, my dear friends. There’s no pleasing everyone. It’s hopeless to even try, and the more you play the peacemaker, the less peaceful things become.” – Sholom Aleichem
2. “Life is a dream for the wise, a game for the fool, a comedy for the rich, a tragedy for the poor.” – Sholom Aleichem
3. “No matter how bad things get, you’ve got to go on living, even if it kills you.” – Sholom Aleichem
4. “When the heart is full it runs out of the eyes.” – Sholom Aleichem
6. “To make people laugh was almost a sickness with me.” – Sholom Aleichem
7. “A bachelor is a man who comes to work each morning from a different direction.” – Sholom Aleichem
8. “And books — she swallows like dumplings.” – Sholom Aleichem
9. “There is nothing in the world, I tell you, so maddening as a person who doesn’t answer when you abuse him. You shout and you scold, you are ready to burst a gut, and he stands there and smiles….” – Sholom Aleichem
10. “Like they say: you stew up your troubles and eat a hearty meal.” – Sholom Aleichem
11. “Who could guess he’d have a tooth pulled by Shmelke the healer and lie down the next morning and die? It’s as my mother says: “Tomorrow is another day—but whose?” – Sholom Aleichem
12. “And lawyers are just like doctors. Whatever one says, the other says just the opposite. But they all take money and give advice. Each of them, different advice.” – Sholom Aleichem
13. “When you get down to it, isn’t the truth better than alibis, flim-flam, or makeshift excuses?” – Sholom Aleichem
14. “I never turn down a drink. Among friend’s it’s always appropriate. A man is only a man as they say but brandy is still brandy. You’ll find that in the Talmud too.”
16. “First of all, I’m over sixty. And second of all, I’m the sort of fellow to whom life and death are the same.” – Sholom Aleichem
17. “If somebody tells you you have ears like a donkey, pay no attention. But if two people tell you, buy yourself a saddle.” – Sholom Aleichem
18. “Barking dogs don’t bite, but they themselves don’t know it.” – Sholom Aleichem
19. “If you listen carefully, you get to hear everything you didn’t want to hear in the first place.” – Sholom Aleichem“If you listen carefully, you get to hear everything you didn’t want to hear in the first place.” Click To Tweet
20. “A wise word is not a substitute for a piece of herring.” – Sholom Aleichem
21. “Love is a taste of paradise.” – Sholom Aleichem
22. “The worm in the radish doesn’t think there is anything sweeter.” – Sholom Aleichem
23. “A real pleasure is a pleasure that one enjoys by one’s self, without a companion, and without a single argument.” – Sholom Aleichem
24. “I will never permit myself to give in to American taste and lower the standards of art.” – Sholom Aleichem
25. “I never turn down a drink. Among friends it’s always appropriate. A man is only a man as they say, but brandy is still brandy. You’ll find that in the Talmud too.” – Sholom Aleichem
26. “It is an old custom amongst Jewish children, to become war-like on the ‘L’ag Beomer.’ They arm themselves from head to foot with wooden swords, pop-guns and bows and arrows. They take food with them, and go off to wage war.” – Sholom Aleichem
27. “They say that children become men, and men become children. Many generations have grown up, become men, and gone hence.” – Sholom Aleichem
29. “The Bible tells us to get along with our neighbor. So our commentator Rashi says—but if his dog barks, muzzle him.” – Sholom Aleichem“The Bible tells us to get along with our neighbor. So our commentator Rashi says—but if his dog barks, muzzle him.” Click To Tweet
30. “A bank hates to rush —it takes its time.” – Sholom Aleichem