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Story: The Shepherd and His Flute

Friday, August 31st, 2012 11:47 am by admin


The Shepherd and His


There is a story told of a young shepherd who on Rosh Hashana came to his synagogue to pray. But he could not pray.  For he had not learned to read the words that skipped across the pages of his books and prayers.  He sat quietly, listening to words that "climbed in wisps, soaring upwards into the white light to meet the heavens."  The more he listened, the more he wanted to pray.  But all he could do was sit silently and listen.

Then he remembered that in his pocket was the little flute he carried, with which he led his flocks.  He drew the flute from his pocket, lifted it to his lips, and began to play the simple melody he used to call his sheep.

Of course a shepherd’s flute has to be very loud, and indeed it was.  The sound of his melody filled the synagogue with its high, piercing notes.  The people around him looked up in surprise!  What was this?  Who was this young boy, not dressed well, not holding a prayer book, playing his ugly flute in the middle of services on holy Rosh Hashanah?!

Immediately a murmer went through the congregation as all heads turned to stare at the young boy, each face with a look of shock and anger.  But the young shepherd did not even notice!  His eyes were closed as he played his flute, his heart filled with the feelings of his prayer.

"Rabbi, Rabbi!"  one woman said.  "Can’t you make this young boy stop!  He does not respect the prayers!  He is interrupting our service and should leave at once!"

The other angry people murmered in agreement at the woman’s words.  All eyes turned to the Rabbi for his response.  But the Rabbi too had his eyes closed! What was he doing?

Slowly, the Rabbi opened his eyes and looked out upon the congregation with great love and wisdom.  He said, "Do not be angry my friends.  This young boy plays his flute as we sing our prayers.  It is his prayer, his way of speaking to God on Rosh Hashanah. Listen again, my friends, and maybe you will hear a touch of what he hears."

And so the people closed their eyes, and their anger quickly melted away.  They heard the shepherd play a sweet soft melody for God.  As the music filled the room, the people fell quiet before the melody, listening to the prayer of the shepherd and his flute.

Adapted by Shira Kline

Source unknown

©ShirLaLa 2002

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Posted in Activities for home and classroom, Holidays, Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur, Stories