Extempore Effusions on the Completion of Masechet Bava Batra Perek Bet: לא יחפור

A person may not dig a pit
Near his neighbor’s – don’t get close to it.
Or a cave or a trench
Or a thing that makes stench
Keep it far, lest your friend have a fit.

Must the damager stay far away
If he fails, is it he who must pay?
Or is he who’s alarmed
By how much he is harmed
Is it he who has not been okay?

Can you pee on your neighbor’s own wall?
Can your neighbor respond with a brawl?
If it’s only your pee
Go ahead. But stand three
Tfachim off if you’re pouring for all.

A window’s made smaller in size
When a thing on the windowsill lies.
What’s impure, like the dead,
Through blocked windows won’t spread
Blocked with non-Jews or chickens in ties.

If your friend’s storehouse rests right on top
Of the place where you open a shop
Don’t do baking or dying
Your friend will be crying
“The smoke and the stench! Have him shot!”

“I can’t sleep ‘cause your baby’s so loud
And your hammering hurts, I avow!
And I’m losing my mind
From that millstone you grind”–
Is his neighbor’s behavior allowed?

Yehoshua ben Gamla made schools
So that kids would be students, not fools.
From age six or age seven
They study, thank heaven
With schools in each town, and strict rules.

When scholars are jealous they learn
Better. Jealousy’s not to be spurned.
If a teacher knows more
Then it’s he we want for
Our kids’ teacher. So give him his turn.

A storekeeper may not give out
Roasted nuts to kids running about.
For he’s surely predicted
Those kids get addicted
Then parents must buy more, no doubt.

Ezra ruled: All those peddlers, they may
Wander hawking their wares in the day
Selling jewels to the city
So girls will look pretty
We want our girls pretty, he’d say.

Rav Dimi bought dates from abroad
To sell them. His plan, though, was flawed.
For Rava, discerning
He lacked in his learning
Said: Dimi, your sales are outlawed.

A dovecote may not be built near
Any town. It’s the doves that we fear.
They might up, fly the coop
And above our fields swoop
Eating seeds from the plowed earth. Keep clear!

A barrel of wine floats at sea
Near a town with a majority
Of Jews. We assume
It is kosher. There’s room
For doubt. Shmuel cries: I disagree!

There are four winds that blow every day
But the north wind is crucial, they say.
It blows calmly. The west,
Common more than the rest
That’s where God is. We face there to pray.

A tree full of fruit may not be
Cut down, axed, in its prime suddenly.
Said Hanina: My son
Lost his life, Came undone
When he chopped down a blooming fig tree.

A tree overhangs in a space
That is public. A most public place.
We trim off one side
So a camel can ride
Past without getting whacked in the face.

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