Oyfn Pripetchik… – In the Fireplace…

It snowed overnight, after most of the snow and ice on the ground had just about melted away…

This morning's view from my apartment window...

This morning’s view from my apartment window…

Oyfn pripetchik brent a fayerl
Un in shtub is heys.
Un der rebbe lernt kleyne kinderlekh
Dem alef-beys.

A fire is burning in the fireplace
and its warm in the house,
as the Rabbi is teaching little children
the aleph-beys.

Street view…

It’s cold and Shabbos is coming and as we recharge our batteries from the week’s harsh realities, or we contemplate on the week’s successes, there is that special Shabbos food to warm us, to comfort us. Cholent, kugel (whether potato or lokshen – noodles) and more.

As we sing Shabbos zmiros, as we tell over divrey Torah there is a warmth that permeates the heart’s own hearth – the tiny inner pripetchik where the pintele yid is always burning, always reminding one who and what he or she is. Regardless of the weather outside, whether cold, freezing, warm or hot, the heart’s temperature is perfect, as the mind feels uplifted by the niggunim, by the words of ancient wisdom, by the stories that touch one’s soul and the body enjoys those special flavors of the Shabbos food (the same food, prepared the exact same way, just tastes so different during the week).

[..]Gliklekh iz der yid vos lernt toyre,
Vos darfn mir nokh mer?

Happy is the Jew who learns Torah
What more do we need?

(Oyfn Pripetchik Old Yiddish song)

Talking about the special taste of Shabbos food, I came across this easy recipe, on The Food Network, by Joan Nathan, it is different and very good:

Vegetable and Fruit Kugel Cupcakes


  • 2 apples, grated
  • 1 large sweet potato, grated
  • 4 carrots, grated
  • 1 cup matzoh meal
  • 1 stick pareve margarine, melted
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 24 paper muffin cups
  • 2 (12) cavity muffin tins


  1. In a large mixing bowl, combine all ingredients.
  2. Place the paper muffin cups in the muffin tins.
  3. Pour the batter into the cups. They should be two-thirds full.
  4. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until done in a preheated 350 degree oven.

A gutten Shabbos – Shabbat shalom umevorach, gentle reader.


2 Responses to “Oyfn Pripetchik… – In the Fireplace…”

  1. 1 Leivy Yitzchok (Lewis Harrison)
    January 23, 2011 at 11:26 am

    I write this with tears, tears mixed with guilt, gratitude and happiness. Let me explain, I grew up in chassidische household, steeped in learning (I am a direct descendant of Rashi) and filled with tradition. Shabbos was always a feast for heart, body, mind and soul.

    My intended was killed during WWII (and with her my dreams) as was everyone in my family including my parents, grandparents, siblings, their spouses, my nieces, my nephews… Only I was inexplicably left, perhaps just to painfully carry the memories.

    I came to New York in 1950 at 21, young, broken and with no dreams. I buried myself in work and by the 60′s I built a sizable fortune. But my heart was filled with anger, anger because so many innocents close to me and my people had been killed for no apparent reason other than to satify a murderer’s caprice. How could a merciful God have allowed it? So I Americanized my name, intent on cutting every memory of Judaism from my heart, from my mind.

    I decided I would never step in to a synagogue or a place of learning, I’d never willingly eat kosher again, I’d break every command I could and if He wanted to punish me and take me away from this horrible place, fine! The sooner the better!

    Over the years I built myself a cultured facade, my house is filled with objets d’art and thousands of books but none of it satisfies me. I can just as easily get into a learned discussion of Kant as I can discuss Kandinsky. But like Hesse’s Steppenwolf, who needed all the bourgeois comforts in spite of being intellectually opposed to them, I was longing for that Jewish warmth I forswore. I continued to deny my natural inclinations I trampled on my needs, my anger at the Almighty could not be so easily appeased.

    Occasionally, I’d pass by a shull and stop for a few seconds or even a few minutes in front of it, yet every time I resisted the urge to step in and walked on. Then, this past Friday afternoon, a few minutes before Shabbes, I somehow came across this page. I suddenly remembered this song Oyfn Pripetchik – from my youth, from my childhood. I could not fight it anymore, I went to a nearby shull on Friday eve and again on Shabbes day and mincha and maariv. For the first time since the beginning of the war in Poland (1939) I davvened, the tears flowed freely but I didn’t care! The Rabbi invited me to his home for the Shabbes meal, a feast for all my senses and more.

    Today, I bought two pairs of tzitzes and a yarmulkah. I’m home again, after you helped relight the pripetchik in my heart.

    Thank you, thank you, thank you

    Liked by 1 person

  2. 2 Shuli
    January 24, 2011 at 2:34 pm

    Chaim, this post was one of your more outstanding, in a blog that always entertains and informs. We never know what our efforts and vibes we put out there will touch in other’s hearts, minds and souls… and it’s times like this we can revel in the knowledge that we are all cogs in one big wheel of life, never know who we can help, or when, with our efforts. Leivy Yitzchok (Lewis Harrison),a much as I cry for your losses and suffering, I smile that you beat your opressors.. you lived, you thrived, you flourished, and now allowing yourself to open up to your soul, that buried inner spark, nitzutz yehudi, you have the opportunity to bring light into your life, and with the successes and blessings you have had, to bring light into the lives of many others, rejoining our people, our nation, our colletive soul.
    Blessings to and from both Chaim and Leivy Lewis, and to us all.

    Liked by 1 person

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