Torah & Texts

Lonely at the Top: A Bromance, from Bava Metzia 84a-b

By Judith Prays and Samuel Hayes

Talmud, interpreted by emerging artists

Artists’ statement: Pairing hip hop and Torah is a lot like the relationship between Reish Lakish and Rebbe Yohanan—a surprising but perfect match.

Jews are people of The Book; precision with words is how we roll. Hip hop is the popular form of contemporary lyricism, the only commercial genre that centers around playing with, listening to and appreciating words. Beshert and a half, no?

After choosing the hip hop form, we struggled with how to tell this story with a voice as rap works best as first person narrative. Though the female character in this story only has a couple mentions in the text, when we tried her as the narrator, her centrality quickly became clear. It started to feel like the only way that we could tell this story and convey the emotions of the relationship between Reish and Yohanan. Nu? The result? Talmud scholars and feminists alike are sure to appreciate a fresh take on this epic tale.

Created in chevruta, or partnership, between a visual artist and a writer as part of a 2012-3 program called Studio G-dcast.

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Talmud Character Map

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Bava Metzia 84a Source Sheet

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Bromance Lyrics

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The BimBam Creative Talmud Curriculum

The development of this program was made possible in part by funds granted by the Covenant Foundation. The statements made and the views expressed in the individual projects, however, are solely the responsibility of the artists.

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