4

There is a term in Yiddish is גילדני אדער - and the translation as hemorrhoids is given in Harkavy's Yiddish/English/Hebrew dictionary.

The term is mentioned numerous times in the Jewish legal literature with regards to the law of Niddah, the Jewish laws pertaining to a menstruate woman. The discussions revolves around blood that is found in the vaginal area that might be attributed to the aforesaid condition called the 'golden vein'.

Is there any reason that hemorrhoids would be described as golden?

  • 2
    At least one other person agrees with you: books.google.com/… – MCM Jul 10 '15 at 0:19
  • Please edit to include a precise example where you came across this usage. – Double AA Jul 10 '15 at 4:30
4

Likely, the reference is to the story in I Samuel 5-6 where the Philistines captured the Ark of the Covenant in battle, and were stricken with hemorrhoids and rats whilst they held on to it. After 7 months, they returned the Ark to the Jews along with an offering of 5 Golden Hemorrhoids and 5 Golden Rats from the 5 Philistine cities.

It's not unusual for Biblical allusions like that to make it into Yiddish and/or Jewish usage, particularly euphemistically.

(I note that euphemistic usage in this regard has a long tradition as even in the verses cited above a more polite word than "hemorrhoid" is used.)

  • 1
    Very good. I hadn't even thought in that direction - but now that you mention the source in Shmuel it fits like a glove! (BTW, when to you have time to be so knowledgeable when you're so active on SE?) – Reinstate Monica Jul 10 '15 at 6:16

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .