Extempore Effusions on the Completion of Masechet Bava Kama פרק ד’: שור שנגח

Must a Tanna flesh everything out?
Can he summarize, speak thereabouts?
Or like peddlers, repeat
What they hear; it’s not meet
For a Tanna, who’s someone with clout.

The villain Chanan dealt a blow
To a poor guy. Rav Huna said, “Go
Pay him half of a zuz.”
Counterfeit! He refused
So Chanan hit again. “Here you go.”

There are oxen who gore when they hear
Shofars sounded. Yup. Oxen are queer.
If they post-blast gore thrice
(Two times will not suffice)
They are muad for shofars, I fear.

If a non-Jew learns Torah, his fate
Is like that of a high-priest: first-rate!
But the Jews stand to earn
More for all that they learn;
They’re commanded! Chanina relates.

Sent the Romans two soldiers to study
Some Torah. (Each learned with a buddy.)
They said: “Torah’s OK
Except: ‘No Jew must pay
If his ox gores a non-Jew’s.’ That’s nutty!”

Hate the Moabites. Yup, that is fine.
But do not wipe out all of their line
Because then the sad truth
Is: We’d be without Ruth
With whom our nation’s fate is entwined.

Do a mitzvah forthwith! Do not wait!
Be the first, like Lot’s eldest; her fate
When she slept with her dad
Was to bring forth this lad:
David’s grandpa. And hence: Procreate!

An arena ox trained for the fight
Can gore all that he wants; it’s all right
Those who own him don’t pay—
He would gore anyway.
He is trained thus. A sorrowful plight.

The Amazon Shimon would teach
“Every ‘et’ is a reason to preach.”
Except one. We refrain
From that “et,” not in vain
There is merit to gain from the breach.

Said Akiva: I’ll preach on that “Et.”
I have something to say! Will you let
Me? We honor, yes, God;
But we also must nod
In respect to each sage – don’t forget!

A fisherman casts out his net
He will take all the fish he can get.
If he gets lots of big
Fish, he’ll still hold his rig
Out for little ones too. You can bet!

If an ox kills a girl or a boy
This is sad. We cry out with an “Oy.”
And we hold it as bad
As if rather it had
Killed a woman or man (not a Goy).

An ox prone to kill human life
Will cause people a whole lot of strife.
Such an ox can’t be watched
For the job will be botched
You can keep it safe just with a knife!

You may hold it an obvious matter
Still we say: Keep no rickety ladder
In the place where you live
For you will not forgive
Yourself when it falls down with a splatter.

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