These and Those

Musings from Students of the Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies in Jerusalem

[Self / Soul & Text] Storytelling

Posted on March 20, 2012 by David Bogomolny

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My mother tells me that when I was a child, I would stand on the perimeter of the playground, mouth agape, watching the children play with one another. She’d have to nudge me towards them before I’d move.

In retrospect, I think I went through my childhood feeling overwhelmed by sensory and emotional inputs. Every experience, every interaction would stimulate my imagination. It’s difficult to interact with the universe when every incident becomes a different adventure on another world in one’s mind.

Today, I still live a story – I see no distinction between life and a story, and I’m not sure I’ve ever interacted with life in any other way. I remain fascinated with people and their stories, and I often find myself moved to tears by other’s emotions because I have a tendency to imagine myself in their shoes.

I read this story just now… It’s a short, Chassidic tale.

I quickly empathized with the Rebbe in this story. I admit that I often have to choke back judgmental thoughts, and remind myself that the truths of others are no less legitimate than my own. Happily, I am increasingly becoming less close-minded =)

The most beautiful stories for me are the ones with the simplest messages. Often, I have a strong sense of the story’s moral long before its end, but this doesn’t ruin the experience for me. The world is only complicated because we make it so in our minds… simple, beautiful characters with simple, beautiful hearts often have lessons of tremendous profundity to share with me.