In a small village there was a widow that supported herself and her children by carrying water from the nearby river to the Jewish homes. She had two water buckets which were attached to a sturdy yoke. Each day she would wake up early say a prayer to the Holy One, blessed be He, bless her children before she sent them off to learn the Holy Writings, then put the heavy yoke over her shoulders and went down to the river. At the river she would let down the yoke and filled her buckets with water. Once the buckets were filled she would lift the heavy yoke upon her shoulders and walk back to the village.
Everyday bucket on the right side of the yoke was fine and sturdy always filled when she returned to the village, but the bucket on the left had a small crack in it and by the time the woman arrived back in the village, a lot of the water was usually gone.
The cracked water bucket always felt very bad and was ashamed that he was cracked and wasn’t pulling his weight. One day he turned to the woman and apologized for being cracked.
The woman smiled gently and said, “Did you think I didn’t know that you had a crack, and water dripped from you? Look at the path from the river to the village. Do you see all the beautiful flowers that are growing on the side of the path? Those are the flowers that I planted there, that you watered every day as I walked from the river to the village. How many students have stopped and said a blessing over the beauty of the flowers? How many of those flowers brightened the Shabbos or Yom Tov table? How many words of Torah were said as holy men walked along the path?”
The woman continued, “Remember the words:
‘I went down to the garden of nut trees to look at the green plants in the valley, to see if the vines had blossomed or the pomegranates were in flower.’ (Song of Songs 6:11)
What do you think they mean? Let me explain “I went down into the garden of nuts” –this is the world; “to look at the green plants of the valley” — these are the righteous; “to see whether the vine had blossomed” –this is the houses of study or anywhere the Holy Words is learned; “and the pomegranates were in flower” (ibid.)–these are young children who sit occupied with the lessons of Torah (Scriptures) and are arrayed in row upon row, like the seeds of a pomegranate. (Song Rabbah 6:11, #1).
May all your tales end with Shalom (peace)
Listen to more stories told by the Master Storyteller, Rabbi Rachmiel Tobesman – The Treasures of the King, the Princess and the Peat Digger, Seven Jewish stories, on iTunes and Amazon or Coins, Candles and Faith, eight stories of faith on iTunes and Amazon