“There Once Was A Man From Canaan…” The Five Books of Limerick

From Canaan, there once was a man
Who was given a sanctified plan
That was idealistic
And monotheistic
And now I’m a part of his clan

As a songwriter and musician, I’ve always found limericks to be a wonderful blend of storytelling, rhythm, and rhyme. 

As a rabbi, the challenge of finding five perfect lines of poetry to encapsulate every portion in the yearly cycle of Torah readings became something of an obsession for me as I approached my 25th year on the pulpit. I started sharing them with friends and posting them on social media. Soon, other people began posting their limericks in response. After receiving several requests to publish them in book form, I finally gave in.

My goal in writing this book is to teach, entertain, and inspire others others to understand that Torah study can and should be multi-dimensional. Some of these limericks simply tell a story. Others refer to midrashic and Talmudic passages. Some portions have only one limerick – others have two or three. All of them are written with love. I hope you enjoy them and share them in classes, sermons, around the Shabbat and seder table, and anywhere words of Torah are expressed.


Rabbi Joe Black

Joe Black has been a pulpit rabbi since 1987. He currently serves as Senior Rabbi at Temple Emanuel in Denver, Colorado. A prolific musician, he has shared his original music with hundreds of congregations and communities around the world. Joe has recorded 5 CD’s of original music and several of his children’s songs have been made into books. His writing and poetry have been published in several academic journals and modern Torah commentaries.

For more information about Joe’s rabbinate, music, and other projects go to www.rabbijoeblack.com


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