Displaying 1 - 10 of 18
Stories We Tell: The Bird Catcher
This week, Rabbi Simcha Bob tells the story of a woman who catches and sells birds for a living. One day, she comes across a beautiful bird who can speak and even promises her 3 pieces of wisdom if she releases him. Through this story. Rabbi Bob compels us to think about how well we listen to the advice of others and the ways in which we impart wisdom as well.
Stories We Tell: Get Up and Go Early
We’ve all had days when we have so many things to do, but we just want to stay in bed and put our tasks off for later. This week, Rabbi Leora Kaye tells a story about a rabbi who faced that very same temptation head-on, showing us how we too can push through our temptation and “get up and go early.”
Stories We Tell: What it Takes to Get in
Three souls are met by the Heavenly Tribunal as they approach the gates of Paradise: a learned rabbi, a pious man, and a tavern keeper. Each one makes their case as to why they should enter Paradise, but who among them instantly earns the Tribunal's favor?
Stories We Tell: The Miser's Slippers
Once, there was a family who had quite a bit of money. They were always warm and well fed, and often bought toys for their children and gifts for each other. But, when the rabbi would come by and ask if they could give to support those in the community who were not always warm and could not always afford food, they would say no. Why not, and what would it take for them to start giving? Rabbi Leora Kaye, Director of Program at the Union for Reform Judaism, retells the story. You can read a written version of this story, titled “How It Feels to Be Poor,” in The Essential Jewish Stories, collected, annotated, and retold by Seymour Rossel.
Stories We Tell: The Samovar
Rivka is preparing for Yom Kippur when she gets an unexpected visitor. It’s a stranger, who asks her to keep her samovar (a silver pot used for making tea) while she goes on a trip. Rivka agrees, and as soon as the woman leaves, curious things start to happen. How could a tea pot completely change Rivka’s life? Rabbi Mark Kaiserman retells the story. For a written version of this story, read Gabriel's Horn by Eric Kimmel, available from PJ Library.
Stories We Tell: Where is Your Target?
The prince goes to study with a master archer to become the best in the land. When he finishes his studies and heads back home, he stops at an inn and sees a barn covered with arrows stuck perfectly in the middle of targets, clearly the work of another excellent archer. The prince sets out to find this archer—who are they and how do they do it? Rabbi Leora Kaye retells the story. For a written version, see The Perfect Story in The Essential Jewish Stories, collected, annotated, and retold by Seymour Rossel.
Stories We Tell: Something From Nothing
Joseph, a tailor, had a beautiful coat of many colors just like the Joseph in the Torah. When his coat rips, he’s unsure of what to do next. Should he try to preserve it, or start fresh? In this beloved story retold by Cantor Ellen Dreskin, Joseph learns an important lesson about moving forward.
Stories We Tell: How to Give a Blessing
A man wandering the desert grows thirsty, tired, and hungry, but for miles, all he sees around him is sand. Finally, he comes upon an oasis: a puddle right next to a big, lush tree. After relaxing for a bit, he gathers some branches for building fires and fruit to sustain him for the rest of his journey. Before he leaves, he wants to offer the tree a blessing in return for what the tree has given him. What kind of blessing can he leave for a tree that is already tall, grounded, and lush? Rabbi Marc Katz of Congregation Beth Elohim retells the classic story. For a written version, see “How Shall I Bless You?” in The Essential Jewish Stories collected, annotated, and retold by Seymour Rossel.
On the Other Hand: Ten Minutes of Torah - D’varim: Why Tragedies Happen, and How to Respond
Parashat D’varim is the first portion of the Book of Deuteronomy, and this year it is read just before Tishah B’Av – a day that, throughout Jewish history, has been one of tragedy and destruction.
On the Other Hand: Ten Minutes of Torah - Balak: The Beauty of Humility
Parashat Balak’s accompanying Haftorah portion features the famous verse: “God has told you what is good and what the Eternal requires of you only to do justice, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God.” For many, if you wanted to distill Jewish tradition into one