Stories We Tell: A Drop of Honey

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 ReformJudaism.org, 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. 


There was once a king and his minister who were eating crackers with honey. When the king spilled a drop, he stopped his minister from cleaning it up, dismissing it as an issue that was not their problem. A surprising chain of events happened, making them – and us - question the nature of responsibility.

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Transcript

[URJ Intro:] Welcome back to "Stories We Tell," a podcast from ReformJudaism.org. Judaism has always had a deep and rich tradition of storytelling, passing our stories down from one generation to the next. And here each Thursday we share a new story with you to carry on that tradition.

This week, Rabbi Phyllis Summer, the Director of Congregational Learning at Am Shalom in Glencoe, Illinois shares the story of "A Drop of Honey."

[Rabbi Phyllis:] Once there was a king and his minister. And they were sitting on the balcony overlooking the great beautiful city that they ruled, and they were eating crackers dipped in honey. And as the king picked up a cracker, a drop of that honey fell to the pavement below.

"Your Majesty," said the minister, "let me go down and have that honey cleaned up."

"No no no," said the king. "It's just a drop of honey. It's not our problem."

After a little while some flies were attracted to the honey and they began to buzz about.

"Your Majesty," said the minister, "flies are being attracted to the honey. Let me go and have it cleaned up."

"No no no," said the king. "It's just a drop of honey. That's not our problem.".

After a little while a cat came along and began to bat at the flies and lick at the honey.

"Your Majesty," said the minister, "it's beginning to attract animals. Perhaps I should go and have it cleaned up."

"No no no," said the king. "It's just a drop of honey. It's not our problem."

After a little while, along came a dog, who noticed that the cat was batting around at the flies, and began to snap and bark at the cat, who began to hiss and meow back at the dog. The two animals began to fight.

"Your Majesty, said the minister, "the animals are fighting in the streets. We must do something."

"No no no," said the king. "It's just a drop of honey. It's not our problem."

The owner of the dog and the owner of the cat noticed what was going on, and they began to shout at each other, and they came to blows.

"Your Majesty," said the minister, "there are people fighting in the streets! We must go and stop this!"

"No no no," said the king. "It's not our problem."

The two people fighting became many more people fighting, as others joined in the fray. And the king looked down and suddenly the whole street below had erupted into what looked like a giant street fight!

"We must call the police!" said the king. "We must call out the Captain of the Guard! What is happening in the street below?"

And the minister said, "Your Majesty... There was a drop of honey."

And the king said, "Perhaps that drop of honey really was our problem."

[URJ Outro:] After hearing the story "A Drop of Honey," I'm wondering how often you really do think about what you are responsible for, and what that might mean? We'd love to hear about that a little bit. Share it with us on social media. You can find us at Facebook.com/ReformJudaism, and on Twitter our handle is @ReformJudaism. Thanks for listening to "Stories We Tell." If you enjoy this week's story, write and review on iTunes. And you can always find new episodes every Thursday on ReformJudaism.org, where you can also go to learn a little bit more about Jewish rituals, or culture, or 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!