My late rebbe, R' Zalman Schacter-Shalomi, zt"l, (זכר צדיק לברכה) was a master storyteller. He taught: "a good story is one where the mind surprises the heart". "A Year of Stories" is dedicated to his memory. I invite you to forward the link to these stories so that they find their way into the hearts of other tellers and listeners.
In her book, The December Project, writer Sara Davidson shared this from one of her many meetings with Reb Zalman:
He quoted Woody Allen, who said, “I don’t mind dying, I just don’t want to be there when it happens.” But Reb Zalman said “I do want to be there. It’s such a holy moment… I want to watch the last breath going out and whisper the Shema. I want to merge back with the infinite… like a drop in the greater ocean.”
With that intention in mind - this week's story.
(No story next week kiddies, we'll bedriving our daughter Kaziah
to her fresh(wo)man adventure at Mt. Holyoke)
Once upon a time there was a little wave. The wave loved being a wave, bobbing along in the ocean, up and down, all day and all night. He enjoyed the wind and the fresh air, surrounded by lots of other waves, who he enjoyed watching and playing with.
Then one day, the little wave noticed that something seemed to be happening to the waves in front of it. It noticed that it, along with all the other waves, was coming up to something big… the end of the ocean.
The little wave saw a wave in front of it going up, higher and higher. That wave was filled with light and it was as high as it could possibly go (which was the best part of being a wave)… and then it came crashing down and smashed into bits.
My God, this is terrible”, the wave said, “look what’s going to happen to me.”
The little wave saw another wave in front of it do the same thing… going way up high and then come crashing down.
The little wave saw this and became very afraid.
A voice called out to him from amidst the sea, “Why do you look so sad?”
The little wave answered, “Don’t you get it? We’re all going to crash! All of us waves are going to be nothing! Isn’t it terrible?”
The voice remained calm, saying, “No, you don’t understand. You’re not only a little wave, you’re part of the ocean. You’re not only a little wave, you’re part of the ocean.”
And in that moment, the little wave trickled onto the beach, and then turning, rolled back into the ocean.
(I shaped this version of the story from a version that I have together with the short version that appears in Mitch Albom's Tuesdays with Morrie, Pg. 179)
If you would like to be added to the growing list of
"Year of Stories" followers, let me know at RebMarko@gmail.com,
with "Year of Stories" in the subject line.
A personal note: When a storyteller follows up a story by telling the listener what it means, my heart sinks and my mind withdraws. I leave it to you, gentle reader, to place these stories into the context of your personal journey, gleaning whatever meaning or interpretation resonates within.
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Mark Novak is a "free-range" rabbi who lives in Washington DC and works, well, just about everywhere. In 2012 he founded Minyan Oneg Shabbat, home to MOSH (Minyan Oneg Shabbat), MindfulMOSH (Jewish mindfulness gathering), and