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Jewish Journal

Poem: Sound Advice

by Linda Zisquit

December 4, 2013 | 4:10 pm

You have to know
who to talk to:
choose a dry
cistern
so that what is said
is kept there;
like the rabbi’s
knowledge
never leaking out,
it will remain sweet
as water in a sealed pit.

Bor sud, in Hebrew, is a water-proofed cistern, or sealed pit, which holds all the water that enters it and lets nothing escape. In the Talmud, Rabbi Eliezer ben Hurkinos is referred to as “bor sud,” because he retained everything he learned.


Linda Stern Zisquit’s most recent book is “Havoc: New & Selected Poems” (Sheep Meadow Press, 2013), where this poem originally appeared. Her award-winning translations from Hebrew include “These Mountains: Selected Poems of Rivka Miriam” and “Wild Light: Selected Poems of Yona Wallach.” She lives in Jerusalem, is associate professor of poetry at Bar Ilan University, and runs ARTSPACE, an art gallery in Jerusalem representing contemporary Israeli artists.

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