The Human Side of the Story

For the week ending 30 June 2007 / 14 Tammuz 5767

The Cabbie's Secret

by Rabbi Mendel Weinbach zt'l
The Color of HeavenArtscroll
"Can you name all of the fifteen forbidden women listed in the first mishnah of Mesechet Yevamot?"

This was the challenge hurled at the Torah scholar by a Jerusalem cab driver whose rough appearance seemed to suggest that he would be the last to even know that such a mishnah existed.

When the passenger embarrassedly admitted that he could not quite recall all of them from memory, the driver proceeded to rattle them off without missing a beat. He went on to boast that he often stumped scholarly passengers before showing his stuff.

Asked for the secret to his own mastery of such a complex matter, the cabbie explained that he had a volume of Mesechet Yevamot in the cab and would review the mishnah every time he waited for a traffic light to turn green.

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