Monday, February 25, 2008

Sonnet: Nedarim 22a

When Ulah came to Israel, there were two
Men from Bey Chozey flanking him. One stood
Up suddenly and knifed his fellow through --
“Do you think,” he mused, “I did as I should?”

“Er…yes,” poor Ulah stammered, and he bent
To help the dying man to die in peace.
But Ulah had no peace. His heart was rent.
He sought from Rabbi Yochanan release.

“Perhaps I aided sinners!” (His concern) --
“You had no choice,” thus Yochanan assured:
”But was the killer so enraged?! We learn:
To anger we in Israel are inured.”

“In Bavel folks get mad and lives are lost
And this was ere the Jordan had been crossed.”


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