Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Rabbis should learn to solve quadratics

     Thanks to mathemagician Colm Mulcahy who connected me with poet Lisa Dordal -- and thanks to her for permission to offer these lines, entertainingly seasoned with math words:

Why Rabbis Need to Know
How to Solve Quadratic Equations  
                                         by Lisa Dordal (with help from Laurie Samuels)
Because they are good exercise
for your logic muscles, which you’ll need
to work through those pesky J says-P says conflicts of text –- 
the bumpy remains of a Torah affair. 
And for solving the latest congregational dispute
again (proof that not all resurrections are good news).
But mostly because:
when you have tried everything else,
when factoring won't work,
when completing the square won't work,
when taking wild guesses won't work,
you can always count on the quadratic formula –-
illuminating roots within all that space and time allow
and pointing beyond to all they don’t
with a tiny unsuspecting i. Or, for your part,
a g and an o and a d.

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