Extempore Effusions on the Completion of Masechet Bava Metzia: Perek Aleph (שניים אוחזין)

Two are holding a tallis they find
Each one cries out, “This tallis is mine!”
Each guy swears that at least
He owns half the whole piece.
Then they split it. Both parties don’t mind.

Ben Nanas was quite a straight guy
He did not like to make others lie.
Said Ben Nanas, “I’m loathe
To require this oath
One guy’s lying, you cannot deny!”

Nobody in his right mind would dare
To deny, with his creditor there,
That he borrowed a calf.
So he says, “’Twas just half.”
Don’t believe him! Instead, make him swear.

A shepherd would take sheep each day.
And he’d watch them go off on their way
Then return them at night.
He is not in the right
If he says, “I took no sheep today.”

When a shepherd takes sheep he must be
Watched by witnesses, vigilantly.
For all shepherds are liars
With wayward desires
Don’t think they’ll confess sheepishly.

Yochanan says, “We make each guy swear
That the tallis is his, fair and square.
Lest men take stuff they find
And declare, “It is mine.”
Legislate oaths – for scruples are rare.

A person’s more likely to steal,
Than to lie earnestly and with zeal.
Because money can be
Returned regrettably
Words once spoken, though, can’t be repealed.

A borrower and lender both stand
Each one with half a writ in his hand
“You owe me!” “But I paid!”
Are the claims that are made.
Solid proof must the court then demand.

A guy rides in a wagon that’s led
By two species of beasts at the head.
That’s Kilayim! No good
Forty lashes, we should
Beat him with. Or the driver instead?

A man is aboard his own ship
Sailing forth at a nice steady clip
Then some fishies jump in
To the boat, on a whim—
Are they his? Do we “walking yard!” quip?

A man’s field got flooded. The poor
Guy. But guess what else, too, came ashore?
Fish! They landed in trees
“Fetch those fish, if you please,”
Said the man. “They are mine and not yours.”

If you find a Get do not return
It. The woman may not still be spurned.
For the man may have written
It, then said, “I’m smitten
With her now — and for her I yearn.”

Some dude sells his farm to you but—
It was not his! Now you’re in a rut.
The field’s taken back
Do we cut you some slack?
If you farmed it, you get a pay cut.

Reuven betroths his sister with cash
(You can’t do that! Why? Need we rehash?)
Well of course they’re not wed
We are asking instead:
Tell us, who has the rights to the stash?

Shabtai son of Marinus once wrote
A ketubah. He promised a coat
To his bride. Lost forever,
Their Ktubah. “I never
made such a pledge.” Swear on that quote!

If you drop your wife’s Get in the street
And then find it beneath others’ feet.
May the Get still be given
Though it has been ridden
Over by most people you meet?

Rabah once found a Get. Here’s the facts:
In a factory where they make flax
“I’ve a Get,” he proclaimed
Just one man with the name
On the Get worked there. He took it back.

We find loan documents, and they say:
One man borrowed from three guys one day.
We assume he who borrows
(Impoverished, with sorrow)
Has lost. Them to him we relay.

We find loan documents. We agree
That if one man has lent cash to three
We return to the lender,
The likely contender
To own them. Indubitably.

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.

Extempore Effusions on the Completion of Masechet Bava Kama פרק ג’: המניח את הכד

Reuven leaves his jug out in the street
Shimon bumps into it with his feet
Barrel-owner must pay.
–Barrel? What did you say?
I thought jug! Jug is barrel. Repeat!

Reuven’s barrel is out in the street.
Shimon bumps into it with his feet.
The jug owner must pay
Jug? What did you just say?
I thought barrel. That’s jug, I repeat.

“You bumped into my barrel! Now pay!”
No, said Ulah, For it’s not the way
Of most people to look
When they walk in the shuk
Keep your barrels inside and away!

If a public path goes through your farm
Can you block it off? Widespread alarm
Would ensue. You cannot
That is, first you have got
To provide a new route free of harm.

If you turn over mounds of dog shit
(It’s good fertilizer, you’ll admit.)
And some guy walks right in
Oh, what deep shit he’s in
So are you! Because you pay for it.

Rabbi Yehuda says: Take out your trash
Leave it there thirty days in a stash
For the sake of this plan
Joshua conquered the land
Should one step in it, you don’t owe cash.

Reuven strolls with his bucket along
Shimon comes with a beam, straight and long.
Just then BOOM! Hear the smash
Beam and barrel go crash
But we hold neither man in the wrong.

Well a beam is quite phallic you know
And a bucket’s a place it might go
If a man starts to vex
His poor wife during sex
Does he need to be careful? Or no?

Is a man during sex like a beam-
Holder? Is that the case, does it seem?
Maybe he’s like a wood
Chopper who (though he should
Have looked out), killed a man, not by scheme?

Can you run fast in a public place
Should you slow down, for life’s not a race?
If you cause a big spill
You’re to blame, so we will
Blame. But pre-shabbat, you’ve got a case.

Chanina would say when the light
Would begin to fade each Friday night:
“Let us go greet the queen
Who has come on the scene
Like a bride. Such a beautiful sight.”

Can an ox show behavior that’s smart?
Can it do more than pull a big cart?
Papa’s ox, when with ache,
in its tooth, it would take
Beer and drink ’til the pain would depart.

Extempore Effusions on the Completion of Masechet Bava Kama: פרקים א-ב

Perek Aleph: ארבעה אבות נזיקין

Four groupings of damage may be
Inflicted on you or on me:
The ox and the pit
Are the fire. That’s it?
Oh, the Maveh. The Maveh? You’ll see.

An ox can do harm in three ways
Horn – he willfully rams. Master pays.
Teeth – he’ll eat what he’ll find
(If he’s yours, you’ll be fined)
Foot – He tramples where others must graze.

“Be your own bodyguard” that’s the law.
Don’t extend to your friend a big claw.
One who sleeps, he can be
Flailing dangerously–
He can hurt with his arms, legs and jaw.

For a mitzvah, spend up to one third.
Third of all that you’ve got? Oh my word!
What if then there are three
Mitzvot? How can that be —
You’d be bankrupt. That’s clearly absurd.

Five men sat on a bench. It stayed strong.
Then a sixth man came ambling along.
He sat down. It went splat
It was Papa, who’s fat!
Well, then Papa’s the one in the wrong.

This one’s sad. If a baby’s born dead
The placenta takes time, and instead
It comes out one day late
Mom must count days and wait
Til she’s pure. Count from when? From the head.

If a newborn is torn limb from limb
By a wild beast, say, on a whim.
There’s no need to redeem
It would be quite unseem-
Ly. Poor baby! (Poor what’s-left-of-him.)

Olah, Chatat, Asham – we can’t eat
Of their sacrificed burnt altar meat.
But the Shlamim, like most,
You can eat. Make a toast!
To dead animals! Ooh, what a treat.

“Dude, your cow trampled on my Tallit!”
“Your Tallit brought my cow to its feet!”
So two men scream and shout.
Does it all even out?
Don’t assume it’s all so nice and neat.

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.)

When it’s time for the Modim prayer, make
Sure you bow – there’s a lot here at stake!
If you don’t, then your spine
After seven years time
In the grave – it will turn to a snake!

Rabbi Yochanan’s students would cry:
“Teach us this halacha! How and why!”
He would answer. But he,
When he needed to pee
Would then wait ’til he washed to reply.

Perek Bet: כיצד הרגל מועדת

The perilous feet of a beast
Can cause damage – some damage at least.
When it walks it will break
Any jug in its wake
Scatter pebbles and leave your rug creased.

Your chickens were dancing in dough
(These were quite jolly chickens, you know.)
They pecked at the batter
Their footprints made splatter
It’s full-damage payment you owe.

Reuven threw a great jug from on high
While the jug was midair through the sky
Shimon came with a staff
Broke the jug into half
It would break anyway! Jugs don’t fly!

A dog took a still-flaming cake
Off the coals and proceeded to take
To the haystack his food
Quite a fire ensued
Restitution his master must make.

A chicken was dancing in dough
Soon the chicken, it seems, had to go.
Not a nice sight, is it?
Home-made baked chicken shit?
Would you eat it? Ahem, that’s a no.

A chicken extended its beak
In a vessel of glass. Then it shrieked.
Oh the glass – how it shattered
The pieces were scattered
What havoc a chicken can wreak!

A chicken with string ’round its foot
Runs. (A chicken, we know, can’t stay put.)
It flutters and breaks
Everything in its wake
Strewing dirt, pebbles, feathers and soot.

The cat ate my gymsuit –it’s true!
Paula Fox, here’s a sugya for you!
Is the way of a cat
To eat something like that?
No? Then cat-owner owes me a few.

What if I set up camp in your yard?
I live rent-free when living gets hard.
You’re not even aware
That I’m living right there.
I get benefit; you don’t get scarred.

Rav Chisda asked, “How do we know
If the tenant pays not-in-the-know
Master? Rami bar Chama
Said “Bring my pajama
I’ll answer if you serve me. Go.”

There were orphans who owned a trash heap
There they stored what it is orphans keep.
Some guy built there a castle
Said Nachman, “A hassle
You’ve caused. And I hold it not cheap!’

A camel is carrying flax
Which ignites in some hot burning wax
That is hung at the door
Of a man’s roadside store–
“Was it Chanukah then,” you must ask.

A cow enters a fine fancy home
Not a place where a cow tends to roam!
Rubs its back on the wall
And erases the scrawl
Of the mural. Who repaints the home?

The Torah is from where we know
A principle known as Dayo
If Miriam were spat
At by father, well that
Would mean one week. And God rules just so.

A man has a rock on his chest
He gets up and it falls from his breast.
Is the damage his fault?
He meant not to assault!
He pays Nezek, but not all the rest.

A baby is thrown off a roof
It resembles a comic book spoof:
Below, someone comes toward
It with quite a large sword.
Slashing baby midair. Babe goes poof!

Someone falls off a roof and he lands
In a woman (Er… not in her hands)
What was done has been done
(And perhaps it was fun)
Are they married? This was not the plan!

Extempore Effusions on the Completion of Masechet Kidushin, Perek Aleph (האשה נקנית), Dapim 1-20

How is a woman acquired?
When one of three things has transpired—
Give money, a writ,
Or just go and do “it”
(“It” is sex. Should that be your desire.)

You can go buy a woman with cash
(Buy a few if you’ve got a big stash.)
We know this from the field
Bought by Avram (whose shield
Was God). This purchase should not be rash!

Is “Derech” a masculine noun?
Or feminine? Cases abound.
On matters semantic
The Talmud’s pedantic.
“No way!” “Way!” This word gets around.

The way of a man is to court
A woman. He does this for sport.
If you lose something dear
You go hunt far and near
It does not hunt for you. Men, cavort!

The money that’s paid for a wife
Does not go to the girl. She’d cause strife
If she kept all the bucks
It’s for Dad. (Yes, it sucks—
He gets all, though she gives her whole life.)

Can a woman say, “I hereby make
You my husband.” That is, can she take
Him instead of vice versa
Say, give him her purse. A
Fair trade. But the deal would not take.

A woman would rather be wed
Than lie all alone in her bed.
Better two bods than one—
Is it really more fun?
(She could buy a warm blanket instead?)

“Half of you is now wed unto me”
Says the groom. Bu can such a thing be?
No, a woman’s not fit
To be midway down split
If she weds, she weds full-bodily!

“I will give you a penny right now
For your daughter. And also your cow.”
Is the coin for the chick
Or for both? It’s a trick–
Half a penny is never allowed.

“With this coin I thee wed unto me”
She then tosses it into the sea.
The coin’s gone forever
Is their bond now severed?
“I did it to test him!” (her plea).

“Be my wife with this loaf of fresh bread.”
A dog’s chasing her! Soon she’ll be dead!
She throws bread to the beast
It slows down for the feast
She escapes. Is she single, or wed?

A man’s picking dates from a tree.
She says, “Throw down two dates please for me”
He said, “If I so do
Will you then be my true
Wife?” “Throw fruit, please” she cries, eagerly.

“Say, how much would you give for your son?”
“I have two dollars. I’d give you one.”
“And how much for your gal?”
“That’s about right, my pal.”
They are wed! Raise a glass, everyone!

An engaged woman waits to be wed
Ten men come and they rape her instead
When they get in her sack
They go in from the back.
Never mind! Stone them ’til they are dead.

A girl’s spouse-to-be starts penetrating
She accepts Kiddushin from one waiting
Patiently by her side.
Now we need to decide:
During sex, do we say they’re still dating?

Said Ben Bag Bag, “I don’t understand—
All the sages say you’re a smart man
That you know Torah’s rooms–
Yet it’s you who assumes
Eating truma – engaged women can.”

You discover a blemish. You say:
“I will not keep you, wife. Go away!”
If the servant’s thus marred
You’d still keep her. Not hard
To see why. Wives are for work and play.

If a woman takes as Kiddushin
Coins at night, when not much can be seen.
If she thinks it’s a pruta
Then morning comes: “Shoot! A
Half pruta? That guy is obscene!”

“You’re my wife with this fine myrtle mat.”
Cries the woman, “You think I’m worth that?”
He says, “Look deep inside
There are four coins that hide
There. Take those.” Does the whole deal fall flat?

There once was a woman who sold
Lovely ribbons. There came a man bold
He stole quite a few
She cried, “Give them back, you!”
He said, “Marry me.” How do we hold?

Chalitzah is done with a shoe
Take it off him, then throw it. You do
It with sneaker and sandal
But don’t cause a scandal
With footwear he can’t fit into.

A slave may not wish for a wife
But his master may say, “Make new life!”
Then he must procreate
With a Canaanite date
Lest the master accuse him of strife.

A Canaanite slave lost his arm
While plowing his master’s great farm
The slave then goes free
Yes, indubitably–
It’s the price he gets paid for his harm.

When a Canaanite slave girl goes free
After six years laboriously
Spent, she gets some nice cash
At her big send-off bash
Hey girl, pocket the dough and then flee!

A master may say to his slave-
Girl, “Fantastic are you! How I rave!
I shall make you all mine
In my bed, you’ll fit fine.”
Is she wed or engaged to the knave?

Can a master say, “Servant girl, you
Are not quite right for me, it is true.
But I’ll give you my son,
He’s a minor, but hon’
He’ll be yours someday.” Can he thus do?

All your slaves must be treated with care
With good mattress, good wine, and good fare.
Say, if you eat fine bread
Don’t give stale cakes instead
To him. Ye who buy slaves should beware!

Extempore Effusions on the Completion of Masechet Gittin: Perek Gimel כל הגט

A man wrote a Get, changed his mind
Then that same Get another did find
The men had the same names
And so too did their dames
But the Get can’t be reused, re-signed.

A man cannot say to his scribe
“Write a Get for some wife in my tribe.”
No, he must clearly state
Which wife. Must designate
By her name — or at least must describe.

Write a Get for the wife who comes first
Through the door. Is that poor woman cursed?
Which is former, which latter
This is not a matter
In his hands. It could be reversed.

Said a father: We’ll now have a race
And the child that comes in first place
For him I will slaughter
(What if it’s a daughter?)
The Paschal lamb in God’s home base.

Shmuel says: Every Get must have space
For this line to be written some place:
“Behold you’re permit-
Ted to all men befit-
Ting.” Or else she’s still his to embrace.

Don’t put names on a Get in advance
To avoid some such bad circumstance
Of a dame who walks by,
Hears her name on the fly
Spoken by a Get-scribe, just by chance.

A Get’s like a gun. Do not keep
One around in the house where you sleep.
For you might have a fight
With your wife late one night,
Hand it over, and oh! How she’d weep.

If you drop your wife’s Get in the street
And then find it beneath others’ feet.
May the Get still be given
Though it has been ridden
Over by most people you meet?

If a lost Get turns up in a box;
In the wallet of one with gray locks
In a fact’ry for flax
In the market stall sacks
Is the marriage now still on the rocks?

How long may a Get go astray
Such that it if it is found, it’s OK?
For as long as no man
Passed; or no caravan
For the time ’til you read it, you say?

When the Get-giving man is quite old
At the age of strength (eighty, we’re told)
If he hands you the Get
He may die while you’ve yet
To deliver. Think he’s not yet cold?

If the court proclaims: “Husband is dead.”
Do you let the wife go and re-wed?
He might not yet be
Dead indubitably
Even courts have at times, yes, misled!

Said the man to his wife, “Have no fear
Have this Get if I do not appear
Back within thirty days.”
There were dreadful delays
O’er the river, he called out, “I’m here!!”

Death is more common than wealth
People sadly can lose their good health
But they don’t find a stash
Often of lots of cash
Got rich quick? We suspect you of stealth.

Check your Truma wine three times a year:
When the gust of the east wind you hear,
When the grape clusters show
When with water they grow
Make sure it’s not now vinegar, dear!

God sent a big wind that beat hard
Down on Jonah’s head. Thereby it marred
His day. Jonah grew faint
And quite full of complaint
That’s the east wind – against it do guard!

You may think of the wind as quite mild
But the “Shadya” wind grows very wild!
It can make a pearl rot,
Make one’s seed go to pot
Cause a woman to lose her next child!

Extempore Effusions on the Completion of Masechet Gittin: Perek Bet המביא גט

“I saw this Get written, not signed”
Said the witness. We hold that’s not fine.
We need witnesses two
Who avow: “It is true:
Saw them write it and sign on the line.”

If two people dip in a sea
That has just enough water to be
Kosher – Can we then say
Both of them are okay?
If they dip simultaneously.

Three rabbis discussed in the night
Laws of Gets brought from far — what’s all right?
‘Til a Persian priest came,
Put an end to their game,
For he took from them their only light.

If your niece one day becomes your wife
And she cheats, but you do not feel strife
You can pre-date a Get
Say, “I’d already let
Her go free. Do not ruin her life!”

An “old Get” is one that you write
Prior to a grand rendezvous night
With the wife you had written
That finest of gittin
For. That Get has no force or might.

If a man says to ten folks: “Hey guys
Write a Get for the wife I despise.”
Must then all ten men sign
On the “witnesses” line
Many problems could therefore arise!

Write a Get in invisible ink
Or in fruit juice (how that Get would stink!)
You can’t give it to her
So the sages aver
Yes, a Get must last – what did you think?

An illiterate witness can’t write
His name on a Get. That’s all right!
You can carve out his name
He can sign just the same
By inking his name bold and bright.

Says a man to his wife, “Here’s your Get,”
Throws it into the river. Regret
Gets the better of him
Or perhaps, on a whim,
He says, “‘Twas just blank paper – now wet.”

Does a Torah scroll count as a Get
It contains the right verses; and yet
Would the Sofer aver
It was written for her?
Still, it won’t say her city. Hence nyet!

“Here is your Get, but the paper
Belongs to me” – Some stingy caper!
That is not a divorce
(The poor woman, of course –
She’s be better off with a [sic] raper!)

Write a Get on the hand of a slave
That is, one that the husband then gave
To his wife. That’s Okay,
So is handing her, say,
A slave who in his hand the Get waves.

An edible Get – what’s the deal?
Does it bear the kosher stamp and seal?
Yossi HaGlili says: “No!
Must be book-like, you know.
Did a book ever serve as a meal?”

A Get can’t be stuck to the ground
It must be something carried around.
Can a tree or a plant
Be a Get? No they can’t–
But an olive-leaf Get would be sound.

A tree planted in holy ground
Gets its sunlight from some land surround-
Ing Israel. This tree,
Do the rabbis agree?
Do we tithe from it? Where is it found?

Any Israelite may bring a Get
Save the deaf, blind, not Bar Mitzvah yet.
But what if he’s blind
Then his sight he does find?
He could not see it signed, rabbis fret.

A blind man cannot see a thing
Thus no image can any bells ring.
Well then how does he know
It’s his *wife* who does go
With him into his bed, not his fling?

Her own Get a woman may bring.
Yes, the rabbis allowed such a thing
When the husband said “Take
Up the Get when you make
It to that place.” “I’m free!” she can sing.

Extempore Effusions on the Completion of Masechet Gitin Perek Aleph: המביא גת

You deliver a Get from afar
On a wagon, a goat, or a car.
When you hand it to her
You must clearly aver:
“Saw it written and signed, here you are!”

What’s the reason for that declaration?
“There they mind not the dame’s appellation,”
Raba says. “I say no,”
Rava says. “It is so:
Scarce are witnesses in those locations.”

A woman may bring her own Get
Though not common, it’s something we let
Her do, but she must state:
“They wrote, signed off my fate
In my presence, for my sobriquet.”

If the witness did not see the scribe
Write the whole Get, but he can describe
Both the sound of the quill
And the scroll, if you will,
That’s OK (if he’s part of the tribe).

“I was home while the scribe did his thing
Though I left for the market to bring
Some food back while he wrote
Out the parchment Get note
Does my test’mony still have its zing?”

Is Bavel like Israel? Not so?
Must a witness say, “Saw, here you go”?
Bavel has many nooks
Filled with scholars with books;
They won’t break to be witnesses, though.

How far does Bavel extend?
Does it reach to the river’s last bend?
The second arch of the bridge
Is the outermost ridge —
Know this if it’s a Get you must send.

The famed Hill Concubine went astray—
But what was her crime? Well, some say
‘Twas a fly in his soup
That threw him for a loop
Or a hair (which is gross anyway).

Says Rav Chisda, “No man should instill
Excess fear in his household.” Men will
Come home before Shabbat
Say, “Did you light or not?”
But their tone must be calm and not shrill.

Says Abahu: “No man should instill
Excess fear in his house.” It could kill!
One man scared off his wife
And she gave him a knife
To dice up living limbs from the grill.

A groom may not wear on his head
Any crowns – though the bride may, instead.
With no Temple now stand-
Ing, the rabbis command:
We who sinned must now carefully tread.

If you see that you don’t have much food
Do not sit around hungry and brood
Give some of your stuff
To those poorer; enough
So you’ll be saved from hell. Ain’t that shrewd?

If you’re sailing atop a big ship
Into Israel (now that’s a long trip!)
If there’s some dirt aboard
Must you tithe for the Lord?
Must the seventh year’s planting be skipped?

Every non-Israel land is impure
If you step there, you are too, for sure.
If you come in a box
Or a chest that has locks
Are you safe because you are immured?

If you hear when they hand you the Get
Then you turn deaf before you have met
Up with that fellow’s wife
This is no cause for strife
Find the witnesses – they’ll fix things yet.

A non-Jewish witness may sign
On a Get, on the dotted black line
If his name is not Roni
Or Yitzchak or Yoni
But James the Third, Lord Valentine!

Most Jews living outside of the land
(That is, Israel, so we understand)
Have the names of non-Jews
Because what would you choose
For your kid – Fruma Malka, or Fran?

Says a man: “Give this Get to my wife.
Nope! I now change my mind! By your life!”
May the husband retract?
Can he take the Get back?
If he’s causing her gladness, not strife.

Rabbi Yirmyah was part of a group
Of men learning. His head soon did droop
He heard something not smart
And woke up with a start
He said: Kids! It’s a good thing I snoop!

May a slave say (please don’t think him rude):
“Give me liberty or give me food.”
In a time of bad drought
Must the slave sit it out
With his master (and his attitude!).

If a sick slave is cured in a flash
We ask: Who gets to keep all the cash
That they now do not need
For medicinal weed?
Add it in to the master’s great stash.

Many slaves do not want to be freed
If it means it’s a wife they now need
Because they’d much prefer
Any servant girl – her,
Say, to sleep around with and thus breed.

The mom of some peddlers was ill
She said, “Here is what you must fulfill:
Give my daughter my pin
That I love, she’s my kin.”
And the sages complied with her will.

Extempore Effusions on the Completion of Masechet Nazir: Prakim Bet and Gimel

Perek Bet: הריני נזיר

“I’m a Nazir from figs that are dried.”
If the vower has thus specified
Does his nezirut take?
Hillel says, “Goodness sake,
No.” Says Shammai: “He meant what he cried.”

If a cow lies there sprawled in the sludge
And you shout “Get up!” but it won’t budge
You say, “I’m a Nazir
If you move from right here.”
Does that take, though you meant just to nudge?

A drunk woman looked at the wine
In her goblet. She shrieked, “I decline
To drink one more drop
I’m a Nazir. I stop
When it comes to all fruit of the vine.”

“When I vowed Nezirut, I was sure
That the rabbis would let me drink more
I would not make this slip
Had I known I can’t sip.”
Does it hold once he knows what’s in store?

“I’ll be a Nazir and I’ll shave
Off another who does thus behave.”
Says another, “Me too!”
Then what are they to do?
Shave each other! Much trouble they’ll save.

Says a man to his messenger, “Go
Find a wife for me. Whom? I don’t know.”
From that moment each dame
Is forbidden. That same
Woman could be his new wife – Oh no!

A woman is not like a chick.
No, a woman – her place is more fixed.
A chick may go roam
Far away from its home
But a woman to her home she sticks.

A messenger cannot revoke
Any vows that his master’s wife spoke.
Just the husband may say
To his wife, “Vow? No way!”
Only he can, and no other bloke.

“I’ll be a Nazir if a son
Will be born to my wife. Yes, just one.”
If the son is stillborn
Then the father, forlorn,
Can consider his vow as undone.

A Nazir who completes thirty days
Brings his sacrifice, then crosses ways
With a dead man. He’s thus
Impure. Although he must
Shave he cannot do so as it says.

A man who has had two emissions
On his seventh day has a remission
Once the pascal lamb’s brought.
Though he may feel distraught
He need not keep Pesach Two’s traditions.

Perek Gimel: מי שאמר

“Behold, folks, I am a Nazir”
Shave on day thirty-one. But come hear:
If you shaved on day thirty
To feel, say, less dirty
You get off OK, have no fear.

Say “Nazir, I” in a cemetery
Not a wise thing to do – no, not very.
Yochanan says: Nazir!
Lakish: Get out of here!
What you’ve done, all agree, is contrary.

To a graveyard one comes in a box
Or a closet or trunk shut with locks
Some friends take off the lid
From the place where he hid
He’s impure from his hat to his socks.

A Nazir who touched many dead
(He touched one, and then look where that led!)
He may bring just one lamb
(Er… or was it a ram?)
Just one sacrifice falls on his head.

A woman vows “I’m a Nazir”
Then her husband says, “Come again, dear?”
Does she still bring a bird
If he nixed what he heard?
Did he uproot, or chop with a spear?

Queen Heleni’s son went to war
She cried, “I cannot deal any more!
I’ll become a Nazir
If he comes back safe here
I vow seven years – no wine,” she swore.

“That man vowed Nezirut – he vowed twice.”
“He vowed five times, my words are precise.”
These two men disagree
Each says, “Listen to me”
Hillel rules, “Just two months should suffice.”

Extempore Effusions on the Completion of Masechet Nazir Perek Aleph (כל כינויי נזירות)

A person may say many words:
“Behold they’re upon me, the birds”
“Nazik” and “Naziach”
“Eheh” and “Paziach”
He is thus a Nazir (it’s absurd!).

The tractate “Nazir” – this we find
Close to “Sotah,” that is, right behind:
Why? If one sees a dame
Who has been through that shame
He will swear he will drink no more wine.

If he says “Eheh” he’s a Nazir
Maybe he means to fast? Swear off beer?
If that’s all that he mentioned
We guess his intention
Because when he vowed one passed near.

“I will be like that man whose own eyes
Have been gouged by those Philistine guys”
With these words he alludes
(Though his language his crude)
To the famed Samson, so we surmise.

A “Samson Nazir” never shaves
(Don’t get busted by Philistine knaves!).
He does not break his vow
And need not bring a cow
If he steps by mistake on some graves.

As a “lifetime Nazir” you may cut
Off your hair every thirty days. But
If you come near the dead
It’s not “off with his head”
Still, he’s stuck in the sacrifice rut.

If one vows, “Nezirut! Nezirut!”
He becomes a Nazir twice, to boot.
He shaves on day thirty
And then brings a birdie
At day sixty, so we compute.

“I’m a Nazir to Kalamazoo”
Vows a man. But how can that be true?
Count the days that it takes
To walk there (feet will ache!)
Nezirut lasts that long, we construe.

Says a man “All my house now I sell
Top to bottom.” But he does not spell
Out which parts are included;
The buyer concluded
He’d also acquired the well.

If he vows, “A nazir! I am one!
For the number of days of the sun!”
That is three sixty five
Months; Alas, to survive
That has to this date never been done.

“I’m a Nazir Pentagon!”
That is Greek for “five.” He takes upon
Himself 150 days
Or so Sumachus says:
Vow in Greek, Nezirut is still on.