A High Holiday Story

Posted on September 14, 2022

“Shaaray Shamaim”- Such a visually powerful expression!

Around this time of the year, we use this expression with “kavana mayuchedet”- Special intention!
The intention and desire are that our prayers will reach The Almighty through these gates, our wrongdoings will be forgiven, and a new, blessed year will begin for us.

How do people pass on traditional beliefs to their children? Through stories!
Whether in a Tipi, Igloo, or a Temple, telling a story often conveys a message and leaves an imprint.

In Israel, every school child is familiar with the story of a shepherd boy who entered a synagogue during the High Holiday prayers.
Everyone was reading and chanting the prayers with great reverence and devotion.
The poor boy was illiterate and could not partake in the reading. But a strong desire to be a part of this momentous gathering overcame him so he stuck two fingers in his mouth and gave out a loud, piercing whistle!
Just as he would when watching over a herd of sheep and a need to alert would present itself.

The crowd in the synagogue was alarmed and terrified! He ruined the sacredness of their prayers! He disturbed and disrupted the holiness of the moment! They started pushing him out of the synagogue, yelling and screaming at him, some even cursing him! But the Rabbi loudly called out: “Stop! Leave him be! For it is his whistle that opened up The Gates of Heaven for our prayers to reach The Almighty Creator!”

This story has so many versions, the first one appearing in a Warsaw newspaper in 1909!

And just like its many versions so it is with the many morals that can be derived from it.
Each one of us, to the best of our ability, will express our connection to The Creator, to The creation, and most importantly, we’ll do our best to be mindful of our fellow people, with inclusion and compassion.

May it be a Blessed Year for All!

~ Heli Shmilovich