I’m a Nachas-ist. Yep. You read right. I’m addicted to “nachas.” Now, nachas – (pronounced nakh-es) according to the dictionary is Yiddish for joy or blessings,pride especially from one’s children and grandchildren.
The truth is that there is no English word or phrase that captures the exact nuance of what nachas is. Not one of the words – joy, pride, blessed feeling – conveys the true meaning of what we know to be “nachas.”
Nachas is so unique to the Jewish culture with the stereotypical grandmother/Bubby or Mom who kvells (there goes another non-translatable Yiddish word) about her progeny.
So back to being a Nachassist, I believe that I spend most of my existence as a grandmother kvelling (loosely translated as inner boasting, bragging) about the little and not-so-little-anymore boys who were born from my children- otherwise known as grandsons.
Cute ones. Adorable ones. Smart. Talented. Athletic. Perceptive. Kind.
Oh and handsome and charming too.
And did I mention that I am absolutely NOT prejudiced or biased at all? I mean anyone will attest to the above claims.
So how am I a nachassist? You see, I thrive on nachas. (See above descriptions. We’re showing, not telling here.)
Nachas is what keeps me going. And nachas is what also keeps me distracted from doing what I have to do as in when I tell my 5-year old (irresistible) grandson, “Will you just stop being so cute? I can’t stand it anymore and I can’t get anything done with you around. Go away, okay?”
And he smiles back at me, in that knowing way. He gets it. He knows that I don’t have patience for too much cuteness. Then I tell my daughter-in-law (his mother) that they should make it illegal to be so cute.
The last few weeks, I agonized at how little I wrote, blogged, read or did anything of significance with my brain because all I could do is kvell.
And you know, kvelling and accomplishing just don’t go together.
Now, in case you think that Nachassists are similar to Narcissists in that they have a personality disorder, think again.
Nachassists are not bad or selfish or damaged. They are simply human and they are just doing what comes naturally when good things come our way in life.
You see, even if you don’t have grandchildren, you can display a healthy dose of nachassism with regard to anything good in your life.
For example, if you have a child who is accepted to an Ivy League university, you have joy and pride in what the child has accomplished. That’s “nachas.” (if you’re not Jewish you call it something else, but you get my drift).
And if you worked really hard to play a Beethoven Sonata on the piano and then you perform it perfectly (or almost perfectly) in front of a large audience, you have nachas from yourself.
Nachas is that good old-fashioned, cuddly feeling you get when you or someone you love gets or earns something really good and worthy of pride.
Now, sometimes “nachassism” can veer into dangerous territory and perhaps earn a not so nice reputation like its cousin “narcissism.”
How? When a Nachassist gets an urge to post a picture of his or her progeny on Facebook, it can cause some issues. For example, if the nachassist forgets to ask permission from the parents of the cute, adorable and irresistible kids. That can pose a problem of privacy being invaded into the young family’s territory, a feeling of being intruded upon.
And that’s when nachassism gets a little sticky.
The simple way for a nachassist to prevent any problems is to ask permission. Then, the parents of said children can either say yes or no. (hopefully they say yes, right?)
If yes is the response, the nachassist is free to post that photo for all his/her facebook friends to ooh and ahh over said child.
Never mind that each of those facebook friends who are admiring, liking, reacting and otherwise stroking the Nachassist’s ego on Facebook is secretly thinking, “My grandchild is much cuter. Hmph.” It doesn’t matter if each one is eagerly waiting to post his or her own nachas about his or her own life, it doesn’t matter.
Because that just proves how powerful the Nachassist phenomenon is. Later on, the likers, reactors, and strokers can post their one Nachas on Facebook for all to see.
You see, it’s all just a Nachas game, played by nachassists who want to
brag and boast, share about their good events in life and/or grandchildren.
And that’s not so terrible, is it?
So the next time something good comes your way, go ahead and share it. Post it. Be proud of it. We are all here to read and share in your happiness.
And just so you know, we begrudge you the good fortune. In Yiddish – that’s called “Farginning.”
Oh, yeah, it’s hard to translate exactly into English. But you get my drift, don’t you?
May all grandmothers, grandfathers, parents and children have nachas from each other and themselves! Amen!