It seems my little big boy picked up a few things from his friends in Israel, including the use of the word “chutzpan”, but I guess it’s in the air. Chutzpah is the newest catchword, according to this article and Michelle Bachmann. But notice that I wrote “chutzpan”, not chutzpah. The difference is the actor versus the act. In Yiddish, it would be called acting “chutzpahdik”. And there you have my conjugation lesson for today.

It makes a lot of sense that there would be a noun for the person in Hebrew, since I think everyone would agree that you need a lot of chutzpah to live in Israel and manage your way there successfully. You need chutzpah to get through the myriad of lines, of bureaucracy, of living under stressful situations of all kinds. You need chutzpah perhaps most of all to deal with other Israelis. That sabra image, of the tough on the outside, sweet on the inside? Yeah, you need chutzpah to deal with that.

So it’s not surprising that the big boy would pick up that word to sling around, while doing his best to learn to live up to his own sabraness. And, of course, since he’s only 2 3/4, he’s perhaps not using the word as carefully as Michael Wex would like. So he throws it out basically when anyone would dare to do anything to him, even though it’s usually as a result of something that he did to someone else. Like when he was eating a cookie while climbing all over my living room sofa (it’s always just the week before Pesach in my house–a very very big no no!) and I told him to take the cookie and his shoes back to the dining room and so he hit me and said “Chutzpan!”

So he should have said Chutzpanit, first of all, since, I am a girl…

Okay, no more grammar today.  Probably.

At least for now.

So I am by this point laughing at him, which is not the reaction he wants. And only the kids are getting upset, mostly because of the swiping that he’s doing along with the name-calling. But the best moment comes when his older cousin by 5 months says after another incident,

“Chutzpan means kisses.”

That, apparently, is what his father told him.

Don’t you love it?

But here’s an interesting thing–I just found a song by Avishai Cohen called–what else? Chutzpan!

<p><a href=”″>Avishai-Cohen-Chutzpan</a&gt; from <a href=”″>etienne</a&gt; on <a href=””>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>


One response

  1. Pingback: being an introvert in an extremely extroverted world – touchingtoes

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