Limericks: Masechet Makkot

(2a)
This witness could not have been there
We know he instead was elsewhere
If we cannot do
What he tried, unto you –
We give lashes, with one left to spare.

(3b)
It’s your head that you want to insert
But the collar’s sewn shut on your shirt
Do not rip, do not tear
If you do, then beware
You must slaughter a goat, we alert.

(4a)
“He owes two hundred coins,” so they say.
But these witnesses aren’t OK.
When they spoke, they were lying
And also conspiring,
Hence lashes. (Must they also pay?)

(5b)
Yehuda ben Tabbai would cry
On a witness’ grave: “’Woe am I.
For I ordered him dead
Which was wrong, Shetach said
It is my moaning you’ll hear ‘til I die.”

(6b)
A witness can’t give a report
Through a translator when in a court
But Rava did so!
That’s ‘cause Rava did know
What they said, just not how to retort.

(7a)
If a court kills once per seven years
It’s destructive – so tremble in fear.
Akiva said: Hey
Once in seven? No way!
None would die in a court of my peers!

(8a)
If you throw a stone straight at a tree,
And some dates fall and kill somebody
Is it like when you hack
Some wood off of your axe?
That’s the force of your force? Could it be?

(9a)
Avimelech thought Sarah was there
For the taking (Abe made it seem fair).
Then he said: “By your life!
I have slept with your wife!”
Do we punish him, though unaware?

(10a)
Rav Hisda learned Torah – his goal
Was: Let death angel not seize my soul
Then the angel made fall
Cedar branch. Hisda stalled
Midst his learning, and death took its toll.

(11a)
The mothers of high priests would sew
Clothes for those who in exile must go
Lest the exiled ones pray
That the priest die away
They did not want their sons on skid row.

(12a)
Yoav, fleeing King Solomon, would take
To the altar, with so much at stake.
He held on to the horns
Although sin is not borne
By the horns. This was his first mistake.

(13a)
If a murderer is exiled and then
He comes back to his hometown again.
Can he go back to work
(Though some hold he’s a jerk)
Can he work the same job as back when?

(14a)
I was once at the butcher. I shopped
There while Josh’ua and Gamliel dropped
By. I asked: If your aunt:
Is your sister, you can’t
Sleep with her; Lashes – when do they stop?

(15a)
Do not muzzle an ox. It may eat
While it’s plowing your field full of treats.
Here the Torah says no
And from this law we know
When with lashes the sinner we beat.

(16a-b)
You get lashes for eating crushed ants.
And for holding it in, lest your pants
Fill with pee. And for taking
The chicks, while forsaking
To send mom away – this you can’t!

(17b)
Shimon, even when wrong, can expound
Torah like no one else who’s around
So said Rava, impressed.
Giving all moms this test:
Is it Shimon? Check your ultrasound!

(18b)
Too much flour will not mix with oil
And your sacrifice plans will be foiled
But if you can mix
It, then that does the trick
Even if you forgot, it’s not spoiled.

(19a)
Firstborn beasts are all holy to God
(Like the tenth passing under the rod.)
But with no Temple left
And us all quite bereft
Bring them still to the site? Is that odd?

(20a)
Do not make a bald spot on your head
If you must shave, shave elsewhere instead
And although it sounds weird
Keep the edge on your beard
Sins like these is where razors have led.

(21a)
Do not print a tattoo on your skin—
Cut your flesh, and then squirt some ink in—
All tattoos? Or just those
About idols (God’s foes)
All tattoos, it seems, bring God’s chagrin.

(22a)
Priests, don’t plow over plots of mixed seeds
With an ox and a donkey (not steeds)
On a festival day
With a corpse in the way
You’ll get lashes for each of these deeds.

(23a)
A woman whose husband is dead
Must she marry his brother instead
If he’s covered in boils
That make her recoil
Don’t muzzle! An ox should be fed.

(24b)
The sages, when quite far from home
Wept when hearing the masses in Rome
But aware of God’s craft
Wise Akiva just laughed
And his laughter resounds in this tome.

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