Song: Pretty Fly For A Rabbi
Running Time: 3:03
Download/Listen: AOL Music
Forum: Forum Discussion Page
- The song contains many references to Jewish culture, but despite common belief, Al is not Jewish; he's a lifelong observant Christian.
- The lyrics employ several Yiddish words and phrases; Yiddish is a Germanic language closely related to German and Hebrew that was the main language of the Jewish diaspora until the Zionist movement began reviving Hebrew as a spoken language. Many Yiddish words and phrases were introduced overtime into the general English lexicon, especially in the United States.
- The original song's "uno, dos, tres, cuatro, cinco, cinco, seis" is parodied as "mekka lekka hi, mekka hiney hiney ho", which isn't Yiddish; it's an incantation said by the character Jambi the Genie from Pee-wee's Playhouse.
- The song was released as a single in Australia, but no video was filmed; a clip of the song from "Weird Al" Yankovic Live! was used as one.
- Al originally wanted Fran Drescher, one of his co-stars from UHF, to record the female backup vocals ("How ya doin', Bernie?"), but she was unavailable. He then hired voice actress Mary Kay Bergman to record in the voice of her South Park character Shiela Broflovski, but this was scrapped due to worries that using the voice would get her in trouble with South Park's network Comedy Central. Finally, Al called in Tress MacNeille, who had previously voiced Lucille Ball in his song "Ricky", to record her Fran Drescher impression.
- Mary Kay Bergman eventually ended up recording the high-pitched "for a rabbi" vocal.
|Word or phrase||Meaning||Notes|
|Vern zol fun dir a blintshik||"May you turn into a blintz"||Half of a traditional Yiddish curse; the full curse is "Vern zol fun dir a blintshik, un di kats zol dikh khapn"; "May you turn into a blintz and be snatched by a cat."|
|Oy vey!||"Oh, woe!"||A common Yiddish phrase, short for "Oy vey iz mir" ("Oh, woe is me").|
|Goyim||Gentiles (non-Jews)||Literally means "nation" in Hebrew, but has long been used to refer to non-Jewish peoples in general.|
|Nudnik||A nuisance; an annoying or boring person||From the Yiddish verb "nudyen"; "to bore".|
|Kosher||In line wish Jewish dietary law; or more generally, something suitable or allowable|
|Schtick||Routine; characteristic skill||Literally means "piece" in Yiddish. Often used to refer to a comedian or performer's particular persona or gimmick.|
|How's by you?||How are you? What do you think?||A direct translation of the Yiddish "Vi geyts bay dir?"|
|Torah||The main Jewish holy scripture||Refers specifically to the first five books of the Hebrew Bible.|
|Synagogue||A Jewish temple or church|
|Schmear||Smear; spread||Refers to a condiment spread on bagels, often cream cheese.|
|Yarmulke||A cap worn by religious Jewish males, usually during prayer||Called a "kippah" in Hebrew and more generally a "skullcap" in English.|
|Meshuge||Crazy or irrational|
|Schlemiel||A foolish or clumsy person|
|Mazel tov||Good luck||A common expression of celebration/congratulations, often heard at weddings.|
|Macher||An important person; a doer||Literally means "maker" in Yiddish.|
|Tuchis||Butt||Commonly spelled "tuckus" in English.|
|Shul||Synagogue; temple||Cognate with the German word for "school"; emphasizes the temple as a place of study.|
|High holy days||Important Jewish holidays||Also called high holidays, usually refers to Rosh Hashanah (Jewish new year) and Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement, the most important Jewish holiday).|
|Bar mitzvah||Male coming-of-age ceremony||A ceremony usually held on or around a Jewish boy's 13th birthday to celebrate his entrance into adulthood.|
|Schlep||To go||From the Yiddish word for "to drag".|
|Bris||Circumcision||A ceremonial circumcision traditionally performed on the eighth day of a boy's life.|
|Chutzpah||Gall; audacity; self-confidence||Literally means "insolence".|
|Mohel||One who performs a bris|
|Kvell||To be delighted; to boast|
|Yente||A female matchmaker||Can more generally refer to a gossip or busybody.|
|Shiksa||A young non-Jewish woman/girl||Comes from the Hebrew word for "abomination".|
|Shalom||"Hello"; literally "peace"||A standard Hebrew greeting.|
|Oy gevalt||"Oh my lord!"|
|Plotz||To faint||From the Yiddish for "to crack or explode"|
|Hanukkah||Eight-day long Jewish holiday usually taking place close to Christmas|