A bedtime story for children

'I'm starting to feel that at a time like this I have no right to be just a spectator while my brother gives so much. I feel compelled to join him in the struggle.  Unless I do so, I will feel that I am betraying my father and myself.'

Tags: Children
Mordechai Sones

Judaism Trash on the Temple Mount
Trash on the Temple Mount
צילום: עצמי

Once there was a father, who had many, many boys and girls of all ages. This father loved all his children very much, and they loved him, because he was the best father in the world.

One day, this father called all the children in the house to come together, because he had something very important to tell them. They were very excited, and were willing to do just what their father asked them, no questions asked.  They were very curious to know what their father would say.

When they all sat down in their father's room, the father began to speak.  He said, "My dear children, the time has come: the garbage needs to be taken out."

Father's news pleased and surprised the children.  They had always known and generally agreed that it's a very important matter take out the garbage, but never dreamed that already now the time had arrived when they themselves could actually fulfill their father's request.

(The children also knew that in fact the place where pile of garbage happened to be was the largest and most luxurious room in the house.  Beneath the pile, where they no longer could see, the entire room was like a huge palace, made of expensive marble that was sparkling and white as snow. They yearned with all their hearts for the day when there would be no more pile of garbage, and they would be able to romp and play there with their father, and have the time of their lives.)

So their father's words filled them with ardor, because they truly loved their father, and really wanted to do anything he requested.

They immediately went to the garbage heap to take it all out.  At that very moment, when they were about to start taking it out, they hesitated about how exactly was the best way to move forward, because it seemed to them to be a very large pile that had accumulated for a long, long time.

They decided to sit together, and in a very strong spirit of cooperation, to discuss between themselves how to make their father's request happen, and as soon as possible.  Didn't father say that the time had come and that action was called for?

First and most important, they decided, was to publicize what their father said, so everyone would know.  They printed beautiful brochures entitled "Father's Words", in which was written everything that their father said, word for word.  Then they made sure to distribute the booklets to every place they could. They really worked hard, but did it all with joy, because they loved their father very much.

But when they returned home, they felt greatly defeated, because they looked and saw that the entire garbage pile was still there.  Not only that, but it was even bigger than before, despite all their hard work.

They gathered together again to consult each other.  They concluded that most of the people who had received the Father's Words booklet had no time or patience to sit and read. They needed a penetrating message that everybody would be able to see and understand.

They thought and thought and thought. Everyone decided to contribute money and have large, colorful posters printed, with a big, beautiful picture of their father, and below the image were the words: "TAKE OUT THE GARBAGE."  They also made bumper stickers, with a picture and a slogan:  "GARBAGE OUT NOW!".

But to their dismay, the trash pile was still there.  Even bigger.  Still, they would not be broken.  They were determined to continue to be happy, to remain true to the mission that their father had given them, and to find ways to strengthen themselves and continue. Someone wrote a song, and whenever they got together everyone joined hands and danced in a giant circle around the heap of garbage, with everyone singing together:

Take out the garbage

All the rest is nonsense

Sing in honor of father

With violin and harp!

Still, even after all that effort, and after all their hopes that something good would happen, each time they went to check if there was some change, they only found more garbage than before.  They did everything they could to continue to be happy and do for their father, but they were confused.

One of the children had a lot of toys.  Among his toys, he had one special thing in particular: he had a shovel. He was not the only child with such a thing; father bought toys for all the children, and most of them had shovels.  Some of the other shovels were bigger and even of higher quality.  But this was what he had.

One day, while he was busy playing with his shovel, he thought about the whole situation, and how all his father's words are so true and right, and in spite of everything they had been doing for years; conferences, and pamphlets, and signs, and stickers, and songs - yet, the garbage pile was bigger and worse now than ever.  So he came to the conclusion that this wasn't working.

He took his shovel and went to the great palace room, which was already packed with all kinds of garbage.  He was so small – just one of the children - and the pile was so big. I'm sorry to have to describe it to you, but it really was a mountain of a mess. Mice, rats, and cockroaches, broken glass, sharp metal, and leftover spaghetti from Thursday (and today was Wednesday).  But he went anyway and started to dig.

As he went back and forth, all his brothers and sisters saw how he looked like a combat soldier in the middle of a bloody war; cut, bruised, smelly, and it scared them, and they did not want to go near him.  They saw how he bled and sweated and got all dirty for a pile of garbage about a thousand times bigger than he was, and some laughed and called him crazy. Some said he was dangerous.  What would happen if everyone decided to do the same as him, for heaven's sake?!

It bothered him a little to hear all this, but it did not bother him enough to make him stop. He knew that he would never have everyone's approval, and he only needed a few more to help him, maybe only another nine, and all the garbage would already be out, and their father's request would turn from being a dream to becoming reality.

And really, not all the children made fun of him. Some stood and looked and said in their hearts, "For so long I stood on the side watching my brother fight, admiring him for all he was doing, but without being directly involved.  I'm starting to feel that at a time like this I have no right to be just a spectator while my brother gives so much. I feel compelled to join him in the struggle.  Unless I do so, I will feel that I am betraying my father and myself. "

And so, one by one, more brothers and sisters began to go and bring their own shovels, each one with his or her special and unique tools, and went to help their brother.

And you, beloved children, what do you think happened in the end?