(If you want to retell any of the stories listed below, be sure
to obtain permission from the copyright holder if the material
is not in the public domain)
Eric Kimmel's book with this story is entitled Days
of Awe - Stories for Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. He may
Comment: A friend and fellow storyteller,
who is the educator at the temple here, referred me to this book.
It was not exactly the same version I had heard but close enough
that I could go back to the source Eric cites in his notes at
the end of the book to find the 'original' version.
2) This is the basic plot of a short story by Tolstoy called Three
Hermits. So perhaps this is a literary tale that has been
taken into the folk tradition? Or else Tolstoy captured a folktale
in literary form?
3) Oddly enough, I can't remember a Jewish story quite like that,
but I know a Christion story about some priests who sail out to
a little island where a group of three of four simple souls watch
over some sheep. The shepherds can't read, and only with much
difficulty after weeks of effort learn the Lord's Prayer. At this
point the priests, proud of having saved the shepherds from Hell
by teaching them at least one proper prayer, set out for home.
Half way over the lake, they hear cries, and see the shepherds
running towards them over the water, to ask them to hear their
prayer once again to be sure they are saying it correctly.
4) I believe that the story that you are looking for is a Hasidic
story. Martin Buber brings it in his great book of Hasidic Lagends
Or Haganuz (The Abundant Light).
The source is a Hasidic book Kehal Hasidum
Hechdash (New Folk of Hasidim) that was printed in Lamberg
Here is a translation of the main lines:
One vil;ager used to pray on Yom Kipur in the synagoge of the
Baal Shem Tov. He had a very slow-witted child who did not know
how to read. On his 13th birthday, his father brought him to the
synagoge to prevent him from eating. During the prayer he said
to his father: "Daddy, I want to blow my flute!" "No!
for Heaven's sake! Don't do it!" and he firmly held the boy's
pocket to prevent him from taking it out. (He could not touch
the flute itself because it is forbidden to touch playing instruments
on Yom Kipur.) In the Neila Prayer (last prayer of the day), the
boy pulled his pocket forcefully from his father's hand, took
the flute and gave a "big sound" with the flute. All
the people around were astonished. As the Baal Shem Tov heard
the flute sound, he made his prayer short. After the prayer he
said: "This young boy, with the sound of his flute, brought
up all the prayers and made my job easier."
2) Syllabi & Lesson Plans
web page updated 8/10/03)