Extempore Effusions on the Comlpletion of Masechet Ketubot (Prakim 3-4)

Perek 3: אלו נערות

These are women for whom there’s no fine
If you force them to bed (not a kind
Thing to do): the one taken
Captive, then forsaken
The convert, the slave for a time.

Shimon Hatimni announced
If a woman could not be one’s spouse
Because she’s forbidden,
Then, though one was smitten,
There’s no fine (but one’s still a louse).

Jacob said to his sons: Be on guard
Against hot and cold winds, they are hard
To withstand. And beware
Thieves and lions that tear
Human flesh. I don’t want my boys scarred.

When the Temple stood tall, one could be
Killed in four ways, unmercifully.
We today don’t burn, kill
Stone or hang. But we will
Wait for these fates to come naturally.

If on shabbos an arrow is thrown
And it lands on some silk that you own
And the silk then gets ripped —
Though the thrower has slipped.
Is it two sins, or one sin alone?

If a man steals some cattle but ere
He has taken the beast anywhere
There’s a blow to the head
It drops suddenly dead.
Is thief guilty? He’s not. (Is that fair?)

Ulla said: If a man should get lashed
For his crime, and pay also in cash
It’s enough just to pay
We do not also say:
Beat the guy ’til his bones are all smashed!

Rabbi Yochanan said: If one beats
His friend – just a small tap on his feet.
There is not much to pay
So instead, should we say:
Give him lashes? How much would be meet?

For the pleasure of sex, one who rapes
And gets caught for it ere he escapes
Must pay dad fifty zuz
That’s not all he must lose:
Shame and damage. Whip him into shape!

If a man steals an ox that was slated
For stoning (this ox was ill-fated)
He drowns ox. Can he say:
“For soon-dead ox, why pay?”
He’s still punished and incriminated.

If you cook on Shabbat by mistake
When the food’s finished, can you partake?
Need you wait ’til Shabbat
Ends, or do you need not?
Can you dig in right now to your cake?

If a man drops dead leaving a cow
He had borrowed to his sons, so now
It’s the sons’ loan. It dies
Now the brothers surmise:
Is it our fault? Need we pay? And how?

The Torah lists these side-by-side:
Killing beasts, killing men. Both we chide.
Does this mean then that we
Rule both absolutely?
Do we care ’bout intent? How they died?

If a wombless girl gets raped one day
There’s no fine for the rapist to pay
For it’s only a lass
One can’t rape. She can’t pass
For one. She won’t mature though she’s gray.

Until what age can orphans refuse
To wed the young men fathers choose?
Until she has two hairs
Or more black than white there—
What makes women mature, for the Jews?

A girl about whom people tell
Lots of rumors, about what befell
Her. A rapist might get her
But like a forged letter
We don’t collect charges. Oh well.

A prostitute turns upside down
After she has been sleeping around
A form of abortion
This strange, strange contortion
Lest she bear sons to the whole town.

If a man has been sentenced to die
Slay him right at the neck (do not try
Methods experimental.
Though you can’t be gentle
Still, please try to feel for the guy.)

A woman’s engaged. Ere the time
Comes to wed, she’s divorced in her prime.
Does she get any cash
Does it go to her stash
Does her father instead say, “All mine!”?

Does a person mature once he’s dead
Do we freeze age, or add years instead
Do we say: He was five
When he last was alive
But he’d now have white hairs on his head.

Three women may use birth control
One still nursing (for this takes its toll)
One’s who’s pregnant already
One young and not ready
For babies. They’re not quite her goal.

The first time a woman has sex
She feels pain – but not as you’d expect.
Abayey’s mom quips
“Like when warm water drips
On a bald man’s head.” (Yes, we’re perplexed.)

How much is the payment for shame?
It depends on the one who’s defamed.
A slave who threads pearls
Will get more than the girls
Who do needlework simple and plain.

A girl’s earnings go to her dad.
We know this from a reason quite sad.
If she’s sold as a maid
He’s the one who gets paid.
(‘Twould be different if she were a lad. )

Says a man “I’ve seduced your dear daughter
She looked to me great, so I caught her.”
He pays “shame” for his deed
Although he doesn’t need
To pay fines — he admitted he sought her.

Do not keep a dog in your house
(It could bite off the head of your spouse)
Or a rickety ladder
(It might slip and shatter
And injure much more than a mouse.)

Perek R’vi’i: נערה שנתפתתה

“You’ve seduced my ‘lil girl,” yells a dad,
“It’s the first time she’s ever been had.
And now for your crime
Please hand over the fine.”
“But I did no such thing!” balks the cad.

If the dad drops dead before the time
He’s collected the rapist’s full fine
Who receives all the funds–
The poor girl, or his sons?
This took twenty-four years to divine.

If a girl with no dad and no spouse
Lives out her sad days in the house
Of her brothers. Do they
Get to take all her pay
May she tuck it away like a mouse?

If a woman’s had husbands die twice
We suspect her of some sort of vice
For if both husbands die
We can’t help asking why
(Is it poison she puts in their rice?)

If a convert’s young girl goes astray
Then we strangle the girl right away.
Since her dad’s not a Jew
There is no reason to
Stone her out in her father’s doorway.

If an orphan is falsely accused
Of seducing a man, he won’t lose
Any coins that he had
For she hasn’t a dad
And it’s fathers who get paid these dues.

If your body begins to change form
After you commit sin, is the norm
That your punishment’s changed
Is a new death arranged
Do we take what was once by a storm?

“May God save us from that which you think!”
Rabbi Elah said, making a stink.
Said Chananya, “I see
Things quite contrarily:
May God save us from that which YOU think!”

If a man says, “I vow half my worth”
Does he mean half his length? Half his girth?
He refers to his brain
Or his heart, something main–
It’s like all that he’s got on this earth.

A father’s entitled to all
That his daughter finds, every windfall.
He may cancel her vows
Bring her Get to their house
Wed her off to a man dark and tall.

A young girl who works for spare cash
Must turn over all of her stash
To her dad, who we learn
Could have sold her to earn
Quite a hefty lump sum — in a flash!

Every wife is entitled to three
Things. Her husband must these guarantee:
She has food she can eat
Clothes to wear in the street
And great sex with him regularly.

Says a man: “I can’t get in the mood
To have sex when my wife’s in the nude
Like the Persians, unless
We are both fully dressed
I don’t want her.” He’s out of here, dude.

The messengers sent by the groom
Travel with the bride from her dad’s room
After she has walked out
Not yet there, but en route
She is in the domain then of whom?

Daughters quite young will still need
Someone else who can help them to feed
But their dad’s not required
Until he’s expired
To give them their food, we’ve decreed.

In Usha they fixed that a man
Must feed daughters who live from his hand
If even crows care
For their young, we should share
In the burden, those rabbis command.

The Torah is learned at age six
At ten you get your Mishnah fix
At thirteen you fast
And then once you move past
That age, you can do all sorts of tricks.

If your son’s sent to school when too young
He will find that the place is no fun:
His classmates will chase
Him right out of the place
But worse still is the one who gets stung.

Rav Himnuna said: Just as the guys
Don’t inherit land when their dad dies
So the girls can’t partake.
How the whole earth did shake
When he said that, for all were surprised.

A virgin’s ketubah must be
At least two hundred zuz, standardly.
If he got her for less
Then the rabbis profess
That he took her promiscuously.

If a woman is taken by force
By a man who is cruel, harsh and coarse.
If she brings to him bread
Does that mean she was led
To sleep close to him without remorse?

I won’t sleep with him, is one wife’s vow
If her husband does not disallow
He puts fingers inside
Her teeth. Can he then chide
If she bites? No, he can’t have a cow.

A father should dress his girl well
So a suitor will think she looks swell
He will glance at her rump
And then up he will jump:
“I must marry her! Please, will you sell?”

Rav Yehuda of Big Teeth: Don’t go
To inheritance meetings. You know
It is not good to be
There when much property
Is passed on, dad to son, with a row.

She inherits until she’s engaged
That is, ’til the day she comes of age
If no man takes her hand
Sucks for her! Understand
She can’t feed off her dad at that stage.

A widow who colors her face
With make-up, and dresses in lace
She no longer merits
The right to inherit
She wants a new man in his place.

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