A man had been imprisoned for a very long time. A devout man, every day he prayed intensely for his freedom. Many years passed, until one morning the jailer arrived at his cell carrying a set of keys. Removing one from his ring, the jailer set it inside the cell, and said to the prisoner, "I think this is what you have been praying for all this years."
Wide-eyed, the man gazed down to the floor at the single key and trembling, took it in his hand. Glancing slowly at first to his right, and then his left, he spotted a small crevice in the wall of the cell. Lovingly and with great intention he picked up the key, placed it into the crevice, and began to pray to the key.
(Retold by R' Mark Novak - origin unknown - please let me kmow if you have a source)
My late rebbe, R' Zalman Schacter-Shalomi, zt"l, 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 these stories so that they find their way into the hearts of other tellers and listeners.
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.
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