The Talmud Exam

Rabbi Julie Pelc Adler
May 23, 2012
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The philosopher and the scientist

Sit, brows furrowed
Over the pages of worried Hebrew
While the poet watches.
“Nikarin divrei emet”
“True words are recognizable”
Talmud Bavli, Sotah 9b
Wisdom, resting beside stories
Of women suspected of adultery and
Forced to drink bitter waters
A magic potion
To discern truth.

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Rabbi Julie Pelc Adler works at the Aitz Hayim Center for Jewish Living in the suburbs of Chicago, Illinois. She also serves as the Director of the Berit Mila Program of Reform Judaism. She received master’s degrees from the University of Judaism and from Harvard Graduate School of Education and was ordained as a rabbi by Hebrew Union College—Jewish Institute of Religion in 2006, where she found deep meaning writing and researching her Rabbinic Thesis on the Book of Job: "Talk to Me: (Or, When More Bad Things Happen to Good People)." She is married to Rabbi Amitai Adler (also an S Blog contributor) and this year became Michael Zachary Joel Adler's mother.


  1. Julie:

    This reminds me of another great Talmudic poem from Rabbi Mendel Greenjeans.

    There once was a rabbi from Krakow
    Who read his Talmud at the plow
    He fell fast asleep
    And ran over a sheep
    But you should see what he did with the sow.

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