Stories We Tell: Chiribim

Judaism has a deep and rich tradition of storytelling, of passing down stories from one generation to the next. To carry on that tradition, Stories We Tell, from, will share a new story with you every Thursday. Whether you listen while driving to work, preparing Shabbat dinner, or taking your kids to school, each episode will give you a new story to reflect on and discuss with the people in your life. Stories We Tell is a project of the Union for Reform Judaism, a leading voice in the discussion of modern Jewish life.

Years ago, the Chiribim and Chiribam families were enemies--but, the feud had been going on for so long that nobody could even remember how it began! Eventually, the rabbi decided that he would bring the families together and urge them to make peace. He asked both families to meet him in the forest, but after forgetting his glasses, the plan became difficult to carry through. Was the rabbi able to bring the families together? Cantor Rosalie Will retells the story. You can find a written version of the story in Stories for Peace by Mark Binder.

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[URJ Intro] Welcome back to Stories We Tell, a podcast presented by For those of you that are regular listeners, you know that each week, we share a story to reflect on a bit through Shabbat, or through the rest of the week. As some other podcasts do, we are actually just about to take a little bit of a hiatus for just a few weeks to collect a few more stories. In the meantime, we'll be sharing some of our favorite stories that have already run. For those of you that have heard them, we think you'll like them again. And for those for whom they are new, we think you'll love them for the very first time. This week, Cantor Rosalie Will, the director of music and worship for the Union for Reform Judaism, shares the story of cherry beam in Cherry Bomb

[Cantor Rosalie Will] Years ago, in a very unique village, there were two major families, the Chiribim and the Chiribom. And they were enemies. They fought about everything. They fought about the land. They fought about the water. They fought about cows, and chickens, and horses. They fought over air. And they were very stubborn.

The Chiribim and Chiribom didn't talk to each other, didn't look at each other, whether in the synagogue or out in the village square. In meetings, they would sit opposite each other, and glare, or shout, or scream. And this feud had been going on for years, decades, maybe even centuries. No one even could remember-- how had this fight began? What started it? What insult had provoked the first Chiribim to scorn the first Chiribom? It was so very long ago.

Rabbi Kibbutz was the oldest and wisest of the leaders, and he was tired of it. He was tired of the mallice, and hatred, and all of the tension and fighting. So he decided to solve the problem. The Chiribim and Chiribom needed to come together to work out their differences. They were farmers. They worked the land. And they were neighbors, living so close, but yet so far apart.

So what happened in those days, after a long rain, everyone in the village would go out into the woods to pick mushrooms. Brothers and sisters, fathers and mothers, aunts, uncles, cousins, grandmothers, grandfathers, everybody would go together to pick mushrooms for their lunches. They would bring empty baskets, and they would hunt for wild treasure mushrooms. The little ones would find lots of different kinds of funguses. And the older ones would teach them which ones were delicious, which ones were disgusting, and which actually were poisonous and might kill you.

So during the rainstorm, Rabbi Kibbutz sent a note to the Chiribim, asking them to join him for lunch in the forest after the rain. He also sent a note to the Chiribom, asking them to join him for lunch in the same place at the same time, thinking he could bring them back together secretly. Early the next morning, as the rain finished, the rabbi pulled on his boots, put a basket over his arm, and marched into the forest. Finally, he would reunite these families. His plan was first to find the Chiribim, and then he'd find the Chiribom, and they would work it all out.

But unfortunately, Rabbi Kibbutz forgot his glasses, so he was having a bit of a hard time seeing where he was going. Soon, he came upon a group of people. "Chiribim?" He asked them. They shook their heads. "Chiribom." They answered. Sighing, the rabbi continued his search. He decided to change his tactics. He would meet with the Chiribom first, and then the Chiribim.

Soon, he came upon another group of people. "Chiribom?" He asked them. They shrugged. "Chiribim." The rabbi muttered, wandering off. Chiribim, bom, bim, bom, bim, bom. Another group of people were asked, "Chiribom?" And they answered "Chiribim." The next group who were asked, "Chiribim?" And they answered, "Chiribom."

The rabbi was getting frustrated. Aye, Chiribiribiribimbambam. Aye, Chiribiribiribimbambam. Back and forth, the rabbi went racing through the forest. If he asked Chiribim, they told him Chiribom. If he asked Chiribom, they told him Chiribim.

The Chiribim and Chiribom were stubborn. They loved an argument. Neither group liked to admit to anything. Maybe they were playing tricks on the rabbi, or just being stubborn. "Bim!" The rabbi shouted. "Bom!" They answered. "Bom?" The rabbi squeaked. "Bim!" came a chorus. Bim, bom, bim, bom, bim, bom.

He began to spin about. He asked another group. "Bom?" "Bim!" "Bom?" "Bim!" Impossible. Bim, bom, bim, bom, bim, bom. The rabbi was running and twirling, almost dancing. Aye Chiribiribiribimbambam. His hair was everywhere. His coat was flying opened. Aye, Chiribiribiribimbambam. Aye, Chiribiribiribimbambam. Aye, Chiribiribiribimbambam.

Well, the Chiribim and the Chiribom started laughing. They couldn't help themselves. Their rabbi, this wise old man, was acting like a chicken with his head cut off, like a frog trying to escape a pack of curious children. All the time he was muttering to himself, Chiribiribimbambimbambimbam. And they laughed, and they grinned, and they smiled as they listened.

And they suddenly looked up. Across the forest, they saw something they had never seen before. They saw each other, smiling, and laughing, and grinning. They looked at each other, and they realized they all wore the same kind of clothes. They had the same hats and shoes. They all had baskets of mushrooms, ready for their picnic. So the Chiribim and the Chiribom came together in the middle of the forest, and shook hands, and they kissed cheeks, and they hugged. And of course, they had lunch. It was very delicious.

When they were done they lifted their poor, confused rabbi up on their shoulders because he was a little too dizzy to walk still. And together, they carried him back to the village, singing, Aye, Chiribiribiribimbambam. Aye, Chiribiribiribimbambam. From that day on, they were no longer known as the Chiribim or the Chiribom, but as the Chiribimbombimbombimbom. Chiribim, Chiribom, Chiribimbombimbombimbom. Aye, Chiribiribiribimbambam. Aye, Chiribiribiribimbambam. Aye, Chiribiribiribimbambam. Aye, Chiribiribiribam.

[URJ Outro] After hearing the story of Chiribim and Chiribom, we're wondering-- when have you ever found that a slight from long ago may be getting in the way of creating something beautiful? Maybe even making music? If you want to share that with us, we'd love to hear about it. Social media handles are And on Twitter, our handle is @reformJudaism. And thanks for listening to Stories We Tell this week.

If you enjoyed the story, rate and review us on iTunes. And you can find new episodes every Thursday on, where you can always learn more about Jewish rituals, and culture, and holidays, and more. Stories We Tell is a project of the Union for Reform Judaism, a leading voice in the discussion of modern Jewish life. And until next week, l'hitraot.