Limericks from the Talmud



The Talmud is a 20-volume compendium of Jewish laws and stories. If you were to read the entire Talmud at the relatively fast rate of one page a day–all 2,700 pages of it–it would take nearly eight years to finish it.

Or you could just re-interpret it into a series of rhyming poems.

A writer with the pen name Chavatzelet Herzliya is blogging each page of the Talmud as she studies it–and translating what she learns into a limerick. Here’s a handy way to remember the laws that make someone ineligible to be a witness in Jewish courts:

A witness must not have this vice:
He can’t lend at a very high price
Sell sabbatical fruit
Bet on pigeons for loot
Or spend all day long playing with dice.
She’s equally adept at keeping us informed about the sometimes-archaic methods of judging trials:
We judge certain matters in courts
Of three: Damages, beatings and torts
And the calf we behead
When we find a man dead;
“And seducers!” So Meir reports.

Herzliya’s poems are kind of like reading Cliff’s Notes to the Talmud…only Cliff’s Notes were never this fun.

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