Gershon Hepner
Gershon Hepner

Pleasure verbalized by memorious Jews

On Mondays, Thursdays and on Shabbatot Jews read or hear the written Law, called Torah she’bikhtav,
but nowadays a lot of us are learning every day
what was forbidden to write down, the Torah she’ba’al peh,
the commentary on both the tablets Moses broke, now studied on the printed daily daf.

It was the norm once for us Jews to have no books, no written commentary in them recorded,
archived instead in brains of memorious Jews commanded
to remember oral commentary as they do the Sabbath. They adored it,
adding supercommentaries to understand it.

We study Torah written texts called by a name implying they’re not written down,
most lucky that they have been, since the Torah is a verb and not a noun,
like verbs made out of nouns in “Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius,” a book by Borges,
pleasuring Torah scholars, verbalizing Yiddishly a noun called naches.
Its root is Noah, man who was of all humanity the patriarch,
denoting verbally, as Tlön, a noun, the Torah inside them, their Noah’s ark,
obtaining from the verb “to be memorious” naches that is as much fun as
what Borges attributed pre-covidly to he who died of lung congestion, Funes.

“Funes the Memorious” is Juan Luis Borges’s tale of one Ireneo Funes, who, after falling off his horse and receiving a bad head injury, acquired the amazing talent—or curse—of remembering absolutely everything. The inhabitants of the planet Tlön, in his story “Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius,” have a radically different understanding of the universe than we Earthlings do:  “ Their languages are entirely free of nouns, and the very concept of a noun—an object with a stable, temporally continuous identity—strikes Tlönians as a physical impossibility. They have “no noun that corresponds to our word ‘moon,’ but there is a verb which in English would be ‘to moonate’ or ‘to enmoon.’”

About the Author
Gershon Hepner is a poet who has written over 25,000 poems on subjects ranging from music to literature, politics to Torah. He grew up in England and moved to Los Angeles in 1976. Using his varied interests and experiences, he has authored dozens of papers in medical and academic journals, and authored "Legal Friction: Law, Narrative, and Identity Politics in Biblical Israel." He can be reached at
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