Aphorisms in Passing

The next time you’re in South Tyrol, consider dropping in on Pension Remichofin St. Josef am See. And when you do, make sure to have a look at the Schaukasten, which features a regular series of aphorisms, this year from German-language aphorist Elazar Benyoetz.

Rosmarie Maran, who runs Pension Remichoff, didn’t plan to have an aphorism showcase at the entrance to her hotel. But when that part of the house was renovated some years ago, the Schaukasten was installed, too. At first, it just featured advertising information about the hotel. “But it soon lost its appeal for us to always say more or less the same thing about our house,” Maran says. “So we thought about a new way to use this little advertising area. And this is what came out.”

“Aphorisms,” Maran admits, “are not at the center of my private interests. I do not really look out for them excessively, and do not try to produce some myself, because too many aphorisms in series always have a somewhat demotivating and paralyzing effect on my mind, even making me a bit sick, like too much chocolate at once.” Still, Maran finds the aphorism postings rewarding: “It really takes time and attention to always find something that is interesting, astonishing, thought-provoking, or at least makes our passers-by smile for a moment.” Guests find it rewarding, too; some regulars make the Schaukasten their first stop on arrival.

Individual aphorisms remain on display for at least one week, sometimes two, before being replaced by a new one. This year, Elazar Benyoetz was the showcased aphorist. Choosing him was not an easy thing, Maran says, “because he is not really funny and many of his aphorisms are deeply philosophical, even religious. He is a real addict of the German language and it is often more the language itself he brings to speech rather than making use of it to express his thoughts.”

You can read a selection below of some of the Benyoetz aphorisms Maran has posted recently. Or better yet, head down to Pension Remichhof and see for yourself…

You have the choice you make. (Man hat die Wahl, die man trifft.)

Your world is only as large as the window you open onto it. (Deine Welt ist nur so groß wie das Fenster, das du ihr aufreißt.)

The time we have is just enough for the moment. (Unsere Zeit reicht für den Augenblick genau aus.)

All understanding is understood correctly, all misunderstanding misunderstood correctly. (Alles Verstehen ist richtig verstanden, alles Missverstehen richtig missverstanden.)

Don’t waste the opportunity your weaknesses offer. (Verscherze dir nicht die Gunst deiner Schwächen.)

You can take any place, but fill only one. (Du kannst jeden Platz einnehmen, nur einen einzigen ausfüllen.)

Thanks to Ursula Sautter, who stayed at Pension Remichoff and told me about the aphorism Schaukasten, who translated the Benyoetz aphorisms in this post, and who also translated from German, Italian, and Spanish for Geary’s Guide.