Why the People Screamed When They Prayed

Two men were good friends from the time they were children. When they grew older, one became a Rosh Yeshiva (headmaster/rabbi at a Jewish school) and the other became a very successful merchant. At one point, the Rosh Yeshiva had to go on a trip to collect money for his yeshiva. During his trip, he visited the city where his friend the merchant lived. The merchant was delighted to see his old friend, and he invited him to spend Shabbos (Sabbath) at his house.

The Rosh Yeshiva gladly accepted the invitation. Before Shabbos, he gave his friend the money he had collected during his travels so far, asking him to safeguard it until his departure.

Friday night, the two friends went to pray in the local shul (synagogue). The Rosh Yeshiva was surprised to see that the people in the shul screamed loudly when they prayed.

Later, when they were eating the Friday-night meal, the merchant asked his guest what he thought of the community. “I am very impressed with the community,” the Rosh Yeshiva responded, “but can you explain to me why the people here shout so loudly when they pray? Where does this custom come from?”

The merchant declined to give an answer as his wife brought out the Shabbos food. The question was soon forgotten as the two friends began discussing Torah matters and remembering things from their childhood.

In shul the next morning, the strange behavior of people screaming loudly when they prayed repeated itself, and the Rosh Yeshiva was very bothered by the loud shouting of the congregants.

At the meal at the end of the morning Shabbos service, he again asked his friend for an explanation of this unusual custom, but again the merchant avoided the question. The same thing happened at shalosh seudos (the third Meal of the Sab bath), after the two returned from a noisy Minchah (afternoon service).

Min Hameitzar Prayer

Immediately after Havdalah (prayer marking the end of the Sabbath) that night, the Rosh Yeshiva got ready to leave, and he parted warmly from his friend who had hosted him so graciously. As he was about to leave the house, he asked his friend to return the money he had given him for safekeep­ing on Friday.

“What money?” the merchant asked in surprise.

“The money that I collected on this trip,” the Rosh Yeshiva replied. “I gave it to you before Shabbos, don’t you remember?”

“I’m sorry,” the merchant said, “but I don’t remember you giving me anything for safekeeping.”

“What?” the Rosh Yeshiva sputtered. “How can you not remember? I gave you a thick wad of money!”

“I don’t recall anything of the sort,” the merchant said calmly.

The Rosh Yeshiva realized that he was in deep trouble. He had given his friend tens of thousands of crowns, all of the money he had worked so hard to raise during his trip, thinking that his friend would hide it away in his safe until Shabbos was over. It hadn’t occurred to him to ask his old friend to sign a paper stating that he had received the money. Who would have ever thought that his friend would dream of taking the money for himself?

But now, to his dismay, he realized that he had been naïve in trusting his friend, for his friend valued money far more than friendship.

Seeing that his friend had no intention of returning the money, he raised his voice and shouted at him, “You rasha (wicked man)! Where’s all the money I gave you? How can you dare to do such a thing? This is money that was collected for the yeshiva!”

The Rosh Yeshiva’s shouts were loud enough to be heard out­side on the street, but the host just listened impassively.

“Excuse me,” he said, “why are you shouting? Can’t you talk calmly and quietly?”

“How can I talk quietly after you hurt me so deeply?” the Rosh Yeshiva continued to yell.

Suddenly, a broad smile spread over the host’s face. He walked over to his safe, removed the money, and handed it to his stunned friend the Rosh Yeshiva.

“Listen to what you are saying,” he told him. “When someone is in pain, troubled or upset, they raise their voice and scream. Is has been this way since ancient times when Samuel wrote: ‘In my distress I called upon the Lord, and cried to my God; and he heard my voice from his temple, and my cry entered into his ears.’ (II Samuel 22:7)   So why are you so surprised that the mem­bers of our community raised their voices and shout when they pray? They are in pain, and they know that through prayer they can be healed from all of their pain and suffering. And that’s why they scream!”

This is how every Jewish person should approach prayer. He should feel that he has the opportunity to pour out his heart to his Father in Heaven, tell him everything that is hurting him, and ask him to take pity on him and save him.

May all your tales end with Shalom (peace)

Click here for more storytelling resources 

 Tell it to your children, and let your children tell it to their children, and their children to the next generation. (Joel 1:3)

If the stories are not shared they will be lost.

Please share this story with family and friends and let us know what you think or feel about the stories in a comment or two. Like us on Facebook  or tweet us on Twitter

 Please share this story with others

 The rabbi has tried to add at least one or two new stories each week, with the hope of strengthening faith and understanding through the many readers and communities.  Due to rising expenses and the need to work longer hours and harder, his stories have become less frequent. 

What was originally started as a way to share old and forgotten tales of faith costing almost nothing and representing a few hours a week of time commitment evolved into a project demanding a lot of time and expense.  The highest cost is the time cost – working on this site many hours a week. This is all very good, and we’re delighted at the steady growth in popularity of the Story Tour Blog, but please don’t let us become victims of our own ‘success’! 

No income from the Story Tour Blog has been realized, but expenses have grown such as web-hosting, software and other web-based development costs. Our goal is to raise $2500.00 which would allow us to improve the Story Tour Blog.  If you feel you’ve received some value, or would like to help support the site’s ongoing presence, please share.  Any donation would be much appreciated and will help to keep the site online and growing.

You can simply send a donation securely and instantly by clicking the link below

Stories Should Never Come To An End Page

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Gold and Silver, Land and Property and the Holy Word

A young man once came to a wise man and told him he did not know what kind of man he would become as he grew older. The wise man thought for a moment or two and then explained:

There are three types of men in the world:

One engaged in silver and gold,

 One busy in properties and lands

While one is deeply involved in the study of the Holy Word and charity and the awe of Heaven.

When the one who is engaged in silver and gold passes away, he says: “Give me of my silver and gold to go to my eternal home.” But they tell him: “You have nothing, for the Prophet Haggai said long ago (2:8): ‘The silver is mine, and the gold is mine, says the L-rd of hosts.’ ”

When the time comes for the man who is busy in lands and property to pass away, he says: “Give me of my lands and property to accompany me to my eternal home.” But they tell him: “You have nothing, for the Psalmist has already said (24:1): ‘The earth is the L-rd’s and the fullness thereof.’ “

Torah Tree of Life

Yet he who is deeply involved in the study of the Holy Word, charity and the awe of Heaven does not even pass away before the angels say to him: “See these go before you as the Prophet Isaiah said (58:8): ‘And your righteousness shall go before you.’ “

The wise man looked at the young man and smiled as he said:

“You have just begun your journey on many roads and paths, the kind of man you become is your choice.”

May all your tales end with Shalom (peace)

Click here for more storytelling resources  

Tell it to your children, and let your children tell it to their children, and their children to the next generation. (Joel 1:3)

If the stories are not shared they will be lost. 

Please share this story with family and friends and let us know what you think or feel about the stories in a comment or two. Like us on Facebook  or tweet us onTwitter 

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Help the Story Tour Blog – Stories Should Never Come to an End

The stories tell of greatness, nobility, and wisdom while at the same time raising the hopes for a better tomorrow. All the stories reflect the mystery, wonder, beauty, honor, tradition, and spirituality of all people. All the stories reflect the mystery, wonder, beauty, honor, tradition, and spirituality of all people.  Stories should never come to an end  but shared.

People of all ages enjoy stories more than any other form of entertainment.  They laugh, cry, smile, and sigh as they enjoy age-old lessons and tales of communities throughout the world.  They can travel through time with but a whisper.

Spiritual storytellers traveled from community to community to strengthen the heart and soul of all people. The stories told of greatness, nobility, and wisdom while at the same time raising the hopes for a better tomorrow.

This spiritual storyteller shares stories that contain wondrous, lofty, and healing messages that each person understands in their own way.  the stories shared by this spiritual storyteller  will arouse the heart and elevate spirituality so one can see the Holy Sparks in every day deeds.

The plain, simple meaning of the spiritual storyteller’s stories strongly motivate a person toward the Holy One, blessed be He.  All the stories consist of mysteries, wonder, beauty, honor and spirituality, aside from their secret meanings, they have a great power to uplift everyone and help them on their spiritual journey.

All the stories are offered to you, entirely for free.  Unfortunately, it is not also free to us!  The dollar costs of having a large and popular website hosted, and as the site continues to grow and become more popular, these monetary and time costs also continue to increase.

What was originally, in 2007, a spare time ‘hobby’ costing almost nothing and representing a few hours a week of time commitment evolved into a project demanding a lot of time and expense.  The highest cost is the time cost – working on this site many hours a week. This is all very good, and we’re delighted at the steady growth in popularity of our site, but please don’t let us become victims of our own ‘success’!

No income from the Story Tour Blog has been realized, and so, if you feel you’ve received some value, or would like to help support the site’s ongoing presence, please reciprocate.  Any donation would be much appreciated and will help to keep the site online and growing.

You can simply send a donation securely and instantly by clicking the link below

Stories Should Never Come To An End Page

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Kosher With Good Reason

There are those who argue that the many aspects of keeping kosher are archaic and from a bygone era. Others claim that it’s just too difficult to keep kosher. Many Jewish people today view keeping kosher as an outdated aspect of ancient biblical Jewish practice and complicated by rabbis through the generations. A great number of Jewish people argue that keeping kosher is no longer relevant to modern day life. Modern society has rendered obsolete many of the laws, traditions and customs of kosher.

It happened many many years ago that a wealthy merchant sent someone to buy him a cow in a nearby village. The man bought the cow but the knot it was tied with came undone. The cow ran into the forest. The man was afraid to go into the forest because of the wild animals. He was also ashamed to return home without the animal fearing someone would accuse him and say: “He did not buy the animal and has kept the money!” The man took a great deal of trouble and searched all night until he found the cow in a herd to which it had fled.

Being real careful, he brought the animal back with him and it was slaughtered. After the meat had been salted and soaked (kashered), a dog ate some of it. The rest rest of the meat was cooked in the pot. Then the dog came and took the meat from the hot pot and broke the pot and ate the meat. The wise merchant said that this did not happen by chance. Then they told him what had happened, and he said: “Bless the L-rd who prevented me from eating the food which was brought to my home with so much risk and danger.”


kosher cow

Keeping kosher is more than the food we eat, it is the lifestyle we accept upon ourselves. The many aspects of keeping kosher reminds us again and again that Jewish spirituality is inseparable from what one might term “physical.” It teaches us that Jewish spiritual practice is about taking the most ordinary of experiences — in all aspects of our lives — and transforming them into moments of meaning, moments of connection.

Simply said, keeping kosher connects people to tradition, to other holy people, and to the Holy One, blessed be He. 

May all your tales end with Shalom (peace)

Click here for more storytelling resources  

Tell it to your children, and let your children tell it to their children, and their children to the next generation. (Joel 1:3)

 If the stories are not shared they will be lost.

 Please share this story with family and friends and let us know what you think or feel about the stories in a comment or two. Like us on Facebook  or tweet us on Twitter

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The Dark Forest and the Unknown Wilderness

It happened that when you heard the voice from the midst of the darkness (Deuteronomy 5:23)

 A holy rabbi lived near the forest outside of the village. He would teach and pray with his students every day. The forest was dark and foreboding. The night, filled with sounds from the forest that frightened many. No one dared to travel far into the forest.

One Friday the holy rabbi began walking towards the forest. in the cold of the afternoon and the wail of the wind through the trees. The sun slowly set as the eerie shadows of the trees grew long, yet the holy rabbi and his students walked on into the forest. He stopped at a clearing and asked his students to recite the verses of Kabbalas Shabbos (service to welcome the Sabbath Day) with him.

The students were surprised, many wondering, why did their teacher the holy rabbi want them to say the Kabbalas Shabbos prayers in such a dark and fearful place?


Prayer in the Forest

The holy rabbi answered that he was fulfilling of the verse, “The voice of Hashem convulses the wilder­ness (Tehillim 29:8). He explained that even the wilderness is waiting from the days of Creation to hear Hashem’s (G-d’s) voice, and he wished to use the opportunity to bring Hashem’s voice to the wilderness.

The students were astounded by the holy rabbi’s faith and efforts to bring a renewed holiness to the forest, for even amid the suffering and darkness he was experiencing, he remem­bered the explanation of this verse and wished to implement it.

We see from here how holy people are able to remain serene and detach themselves from their surroundings, even under dire conditions. Indeed, a person who carries the Torah (Scriptures) in his heart can create an island of serenity that no one can take away from him, no matter what circumstances he finds himself in.

Although the students were well meaning, they could not overcome their fear and the cold winds, and they slipped away one by one and returned to their homes in the village. Only one student remained with the holy rabbi until he completed Kabbalas Shabbos prayer.

Years later the student met the holy rabbi on the street in a large city, and he reminded his teacher the holy rabbi of the time when they had said the verses of Kabbalas Shabbos together in the dark forest. The holy rabbi’s face lit up, and he said, “Don’t think that the verse, the voice of Hashem convulses the wilder­ness, applies only to the dark cold forest. The principle is true and exists everywhere. In every place, there are people who are living in a spiritually desolate wil­derness and are waiting to hear the voice of Hashem!”

How many people today are indeed living in spiritual desolation! It is incumbent on us to bring the  voice of  Hashem (G-d) into the dark forest of their lives and save them from their spiritual wilderness.

May all your tales end with Shalom (peace)

Click here for more storytelling resources  

Tell it to your children, and let your children tell it to their children, and their children to the next generation. (Joel 1:3)

If the stories are not shared they will be lost. 

Please share this story with family and friends and let us know what you think or feel about the stories in a comment or two. Like us on Facebook  or tweet us on Twitter 

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The Security of Friendship

There were two men who very close friends, and their souls were intertwined together. Sadly, a great war separated them and they had to live in two different kingdoms. Once one of them came to his friend’s city and the king was informed by his friends and advisors and believed the visiting man was a spy because he came from the kingdom of his enemy.

The king ordered that the man be arrested and brought before him. Since the king’s advisors and friends accused the man of being a spy, he was condemned to death. When he saw that there was no escape from the king’s sentence, he fell before him and asked for one act of mercy. “What is it?” asked the king, and the man answered: “Your majesty, I was a great merchant and I gave all my goods to men on trust and never wrote any documents; and my wife and children do not know who they are. If I die without informing them who my customers are and do not write documents with them, my children will be paupers. Now permit me to go and do this, and I shall return.” “Who will believe that you will return?” said the king. “Your majesty,” he answered, “my friend and companion who lives in this city will be security for me.” So the king asked his friend: “Will you be security that if he does not return by the time I set for him, you will die?” “Yes, your majesty,” said he. “I offer my life as security for his life.” “Upon my soul,” said the king, “I don’t believe that such a friendship can be so strong. I must see whether this great thing can be.” He gave the merchant a month’s time to leave and return.

Friendship

On the last day of the month the king waited all day to see whether the man would come. The sun was setting and the merchant had not yet returned, so the king ordered that his friend should be brought from prison to have his head cut off. They took him out into the main street, walked him up to the block, forced him to his kness and the sword was at his neck when there suddenly came a noise in the city: “See, the merchant has returned.”

The merchant came and saw his friend about to be slain. He helped him rise from his knees and placed the sword on his own neck, but his friend also took hold of it. The two friends began to argue as one said: “I must die.” Then the other said: “I must die for you!” The king saw that this final deed was more astounding than the earlier one. He and his friends and advisors were greatly amazed. He ordered the sword to be taken away from both of them and pardoned them and rewarded them very much for he had learned a great lesson from them. That “there are friends that one has to his own hurt; but there is a friend that sticks closer than one’s nearest kin.” (Proverbs 18:24). The king stood up and asked them: “I have a request of you, since there is so great love and friendship between you, let me join you as a third. Your friendship is more valuable than all the gold in the royal treasury, besides ‘he who finds a faithful friend finds a treasure’ (ben sira 6:14) ‘” From that day forward they were the king’s companions.

And it was in this spirit that our sages of blessed memory said in Pirke Avos (1.6): “Acquire yourself a friend.”

May all your tales end with Shalom (peace)

Click here for more storytelling resources 

 Tell it to your children, and let your children tell it to their children, and their children to the next generation. (Joel 1:3)

If the stories are not shared they will be lost.

Please share this story with family and friends and let us know what you think or feel about the stories in a comment or two. Like us on Facebook  or tweet us on Twitter

 Please share this story with others

 The rabbi has tried to add at least one or two new stories each week, with the hope of strengthening faith and understanding through the many readers and communities.  Due to rising expenses and the need to work longer hours and harder, his stories have become less frequent. 

What was originally started as a way to share old and forgotten tales of faith costing almost nothing and representing a few hours a week of time commitment evolved into a project demanding a lot of time and expense.  The highest cost is the time cost – working on this site many hours a week. This is all very good, and we’re delighted at the steady growth in popularity of the Story Tour Blog, but please don’t let us become victims of our own ‘success’! 

No income from the Story Tour Blog has been realized, but expenses have grown such as web-hosting, software and other web-based development costs. Our goal is to raise $2500.00 which would allow us to improve the Story Tour Blog.  If you feel you’ve received some value, or would like to help support the site’s ongoing presence, please share.  Any donation would be much appreciated and will help to keep the site online and growing.

You can simply send a donation securely and instantly by clicking the link below

Stories Should Never Come To An End Page

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A Maggid and Purim

A maggid (storytelling preacher) once (or perhaps more than once) observed that a number of the listeners fell asleep as he told wondrous stories to strengthen the faith of people and touch their hearts. In order to make light of it, the maggid announced, “This tendency to doze off when hearing words of ma’asios tovos (good stories) and mussar (ethics) is not a new occurrence. The Talmud tells us that when the great Rabbi Akiva preached, the people also fell asleep.

“The Talmud goes on to relate that in order to arouse the crowd, Rabbi Akiva would begin talking about the Megillas Esther (Book of Esther). Why did Rabbi Akiva choose that particular subject for this purpose?

Book of Esther

“I guess it was because there is evidence in the Megillah that there were once no maggidim (spiritual storytellers). How so? The Megillah reveals that “the king could not sleep, and he gave orders to bring the Book of Records, the Annals, and they were read to the king.” (Esther 6:1)

“Now had there been any maggidim around at that time, he would certainly not have had to do so. He could simply have called the maggid to deliver a brilliantly moving and relevant story, which would promptly have sent him into the bliss of dreamland.”

A Freilichen Purim!

May all your tales end with Shalom (peace)

Click here for more storytelling resources 

 Tell it to your children, and let your children tell it to their children, and their children to the next generation. (Joel 1:3)

If the stories are not shared they will be lost.

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A Freilechen Purim Stories

Story Tour shares special Purim stories for all to enjoy and share with others. The threat of violence and a sense of foreboding has many to prayer and the unseen hand of the Holy One, blessed be He brought hope and peace as heartfelt prayers were said.


Purim Poster

Purim: A Time of Joy,  http://projectshalom2.org/StoryTour/?p=151 Even in the shadow of the concentration camps, Jewish people celebrated Purim in the hope of the defeat of nazi evil


Purim Holocaust

Another Purim?,   vhttp://projectshalom2.org/StoryTour/?p=2054 During the time of King Alphonso V, a knight of the Order of the Dragon, the Jewish community was threaten by evil…Here is the story of the “Purim” of Saragossa.


Alphonso V

Purim by the Clock, http://projectshalom2.org/StoryTour/?p=1711 a king’s revenge on Purim foiled by a mysterious dream

More Purim Stories coming soon

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The Power Prayer and Holy Names

There was once a very educated man who studied the sciences and the art of debate. He believed that science held the answers to everything that could be asked. Many times he would make fun of religious people. He felt their belief in something that could not be defined by numbers of the laws of science were foolish and superstitious. He felt prayer was a waste of breath and amounted to nothing.  It was very clear that he doubted the value of prayer and Holy Names, and many thought he did not believe in them at all.

Now it came about toward the end of his life that a certain man from a faraway land was possessed by a daemon. This very educated man mocked at those who alleged that a daemon had possessed that man, and thought them superstitious fools who would believe anything. He declared: “This is a natural illness, a form of a medical disorder of the brain.”

In order to make the truth clear to him, he was told: “Indeed, you will see a remarkable thing.” This man was lying on his bed without any sensation and in his hand people placed many things and various written documents; and he did not move or feel anything at all.

Then they placed in his hand a certain paper on which the Name of the Holy One, blessed be He was written. This is a Name which is not known to those who interpret the Bible text literally, since they recognize only the ten divine Names that are found there. As soon as this paper was placed in his hand the man cried aloud and flung the paper away with great force, though his eyes were closed and he could see nothing.

Then they placed in his hand an herb which is called

oregano

  the beauty of the mountain

No sooner did the herb touch his hand, he flung away forcibly, and a voice could be heard, but not like the first time. They placed the paper on which the Name of the Holy One, blessed be He was written and the herb in the hand of the possessed man  as they constantly prayed many times during the next 6 days, on the eve of the seventh day which was the Holy Sabbath Day, the man opened his eyes and asked for the blessed wine and hallowed bread. The daemon that possessed him was gone.

The very educated man could not respond at all, and he admitted that none of his knowledge of science could explain what had happened. Then the very educated man admitted the power of prayer and Holy Names and was not ashamed to do so.

A Medieval Tale from Lombardi

May all your tales end with Shalom (peace)

Click here for more storytelling resources 

 Tell it to your children, and let your children tell it to their children, and their children to the next generation. (Joel 1:3) 

Please share this story with family and friends and let us know what you think or feel about the stories in a comment or two. Like us on Facebook  or tweet us on Twitter

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 If the stories are not shared they will be lost.  Please share this story with others

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The Carpenter

When Jewish people come together a special connection takes place as people from across the Jewish spectrum share in prayer, observance, food, and camaraderie. The question invariably is raised how can so many different Jewish people come together and have fun and develop special friendships. How can we get past the, sometimes insurmountable, differences and share in our beautiful and holy traditions.

So many questions are asked and the answers are not so difficult as one listens to those around. In an old story, one remembers…

In a certain city lived a carpenter who was well-known for his fine craftsmanship. Merchants, noblemen and other wealthy people visited him regularly, asking him to build fine furniture for them. The carpenter never disappointed anyone. Time and time again, he consistently created beautiful cabinets and graceful bookcases that were amazing to look at. His fame as a craftsman spread throughout the land, until word of his skills reached the king.

The king had the carpenter summoned and told him that from then on he would be employed in the king’s palace. He would be personally responsible for building furniture for the royal family. The king invited him to live in special quarters, and assured the carpenter that he would provide for both him and his fam­ily. In addition, he would pay the carpenter handsomely, guaranteeing him a generous monthly salary.

Excited, the carpenter packed up his tools, family and belongings and moved into his new home palace grounds.

Some time afterwards, the carpenter became sick and lost his eyesight, leaving him unable to work. He went to many doctors and they gave him all kinds of medicines. The treatments slowly took effect, but after spending so much money on the doctors, he was in time left penniless.

The carpenter needed more medication but was unable to pay for them, his wife suggested that he sell his tools, in order to buy the medicines that he needed.

Carpenter story

“Absolutely not!” shouted the carpenter. “I may not presently be able to work, but the king, nonetheless, acts kindly towards me and dis­plays understanding for my situation, as he realizes that I will soon be able to work again. However, if I sell my tools, it is a sign that I am no longer a carpenter.., What will I do then?”

The same thing applies to the Jewish people. While we may no longer serve Hashem (G-d) in the ways that the earlier genera­tions did, we nevertheless, trust in Him with all our hearts – for the Name of G-d is within each of us, and we remain servants of the King of all Kings! 

May all your tales end with Shalom (peace)

Click here for more storytelling resources 

 Tell it to your children, and let your children tell it to their children, and their children to the next generation. (Joel 1:3)

If the stories are not shared they will be lost.

 Please share this story with family and friends and let us know what you think or feel about the stories in a comment or two. Like us on Facebook  or tweet us on Twitter

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