During the times when I cannot make myself happy, I resolve to do my best to bring a little happiness to others. I can smile, give a compliment or an inspiring word of Torah. In my effort to uplift others, I benefit myself eventually.
Love Yehuda Lave
Nursing home plan
If you are an older senior citizen and can no longer take care of yourself and need Long-Term Care, but the government says there is no nursing home care available for you, what do you do? You may opt for Medicare Part G. The plan gives anyone 75 or older a gun (Part G) and one bullet. You may then shoot one worthless politician in your district. You'll be sent to prison for the rest of your life where you will receive three meals a day, a roof over your head, central heating and air conditioning, cable TV, a library, and all the health care you need. Need new teeth? No problem. Need glasses? That's great. Need a hearing aid, new hip, knees, kidney, lungs, sex change, or heart? They are all covered! As an added bonus, your kids can come and visit you at least as often as they do now! And, who will be paying for all of this? The same government that just told you they can't afford for you to go into a nursing home And you will get rid of a useless politician while you are at it. And now, because you are a prisoner, you don't have to pay any more income taxes! Is this a great country or what? Now that you have solved your senior Long-Term Care problem, you can start feeling like you won the lottery.
What Is a "Tchotchke"?
Tchotchke (pronounced TZOTZ-keh, TCHOTCH-keh or TCHOTCH-kee) is a Yiddish term that refers to toys, trinkets, or decorations. The word often appears in the diminutive form of tchotchkele (TCHOTCH-keh-leh).
While contemporary style is to have sleek, wide open spaces, a more traditional Eastern-European mode of decoration is to stuff one's living quarters with as many pretty things that the doily-covered surfaces could possibly contain. In Yiddish, all such items would fall under the general rubric of tchotchke. A tchotchke can also be a decorative flourish or engraving.
Since the term can also refer to small toys, it would be perfectly accurate to say that Bubby—proprietor of the abovementioned living room—gave her grandchildren dollar-store tchotchkes and they were so grateful that they made sure not to break any of the tchotchkes in her home.
The term can also be used as a noun, denoting taking delight and pleasure from something. Thus, our Bubby would probably call her friend Selma and tell her how much zee hot zikh getchotchket (she took took pride and delight) from her sweet einiklach (grandkids). Her joy would further be compounded when the little girls were looking tchotchkedik (pretty) with pretty bows and such tchockkevateh in their hair.
How Never to Use This Word
Perhaps because a tchotchke is pretty but generally useless, it has also come to be a pejorative word to describe a female whose doll face is her best asset.
Tchotcke's Hebrew Antecedent?
The word appears to have a fascinating cognate in Hebrew. In Modern Hebrew the term tzaatzua means a toy. Spelled out in Hebrew (צעצוע), this term is remarkably similar to tchotchke (צאצקע). According to the folks at the Academy of the Hebrew Language1 the Hebrew term was coined by the creators of Modern Hebrew (almost all of whom were Yiddish speakers) as an outgrowth of tchotchke.
However, as in many instances, they searched Scripture and the rabbinic works for an ancient peg upon which to hang their modern term. In this case, the word they chose appears but once in scripture. In describing the cherubs that were placed upon the Ark of the Covenant, we are told that the cherubs were tzaatzu'im, which is understood to mean figurines that resembled small children.2
There is something deeply powerful in the fact that the cherubs, the manifestation of G‑d's love for Israel, took the form of a young child. We are forever His children, and our love for Him remains pure, untainted, and undiluted. Furthermore, who are the guardians of our faith, who ensure that the Torah will be studied for all eternity? Not the hoary elders, but the young and innocent children. The kids who are still delighted by the simple pleasure of a tchotchke.