Someone asked: “With so many stories why do you mainly tell religious ones?” I have told ancient, medieval, American folktales and Jewish stories in the past, but it seemed that the religious stories were being lost. So many other storytellers tell the vast gamut of secular stories, and every Jewish storyteller tells the Chasidic tales. I chose to tell the biblical, midrashic and medieval Jewish stories so that they will inspire and touch the heart and soul of the listener.
Stories have touched the hearts, minds and souls of people since the beginning of time. For this reason they have been used continuously for millennia. Too many people stop with Bible stories and have forgotten the art and skill of spiritual storytelling. A holy man once said, “I came to teach you scriptures and you understood it not, therefore I will tell you stories.” Spiritual storytelling always has an underlying purpose, which is to inspire people with faith and communicate wisdom and values.
Storytelling has always been a main way for communicating spirituality. Some of the greatest religious teachers were expert storytellers. Then, as time passed, events in their own lives also became stories. In Judaism, some communities emphasize the importance of sacred storytelling and the sacred story.
What is the difference between religion and mysticism? It is the difference between believing in G-d and actually experiencing the Divine Presence. The stories touch the listener and awakens the yearning for more. They help people to see the wonders around them and allows them to peek into the mysteries of life.
Mysticism is a path to the deepest meaning of life, to the source of joy, and to a closer relationship with G-d. Yet, even non-mystics can tap into these wellsprings of mystic teachings in their search in today’s confusing world.
So, I, in the Jewish tradition of the maggid (storytelling rabbis) will continue to tell the stories others don’t and have been forgotten.
May all you tales end with Shalom (peace)