Stories We Tell: Sparks of Light

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. 

At the beginning of time, the Earth was wild and full of darkness—and then, in a moment, a voice shocked through the darkness: “Let there be light.” Shira Kline retells the story. For a written version of this story, see The Shattering of the Vessels and The Gathering of the Sparks, in “The Jewish Story Finder” by Sharon Barcan Elswit.

Three ways to listen:


[URJ Intro:] Welcome back to "Stories We Tell," a podcast presented by Judaism has always had a deep and rich tradition of storytelling, passing our stories down orally from one generation to the next. And here each week, we do just that. We share a new story with you to carry on that tradition. This week, we have Shira Kline, a performance and ritual artist and a co-founder of Lab/Shul, where she is the Director of Worship. She's going to tell the story of "Sparks of Light."

[Shira:] Once upon a time, the very, very beginning of time, before there was a before, the earth was a wild wonderment spinning. And there was darkness and there was water, and they danced together in partnership swirling through chaos in a divine mystery ballroom. The music they danced to was none other than Ruach Elohim, the spirit of the universe. Imagine that! And while nobody knows for how long this dance persisted, we do know of a moment when a voice shot through the darkness, breaking it open with a new element of creative force and the words "Let There Be Light."

Wherever you're out there listening, say that out loud!

And the words, those very words, rung through the world, shaking, shattering, smashing through with such awe, such magnificence, that the light itself was inconceivable in this universe. And the world as it was, it could not contain such light. And the light burst into a shower of drops, infinite sparks, millions, gazillions -- forever. They flew into the universe.

Each one of them a pearl of divine light floating, floating down, down, down into each and every living creation as it came into being. Every rock, every tree, every bird, every flower petal, into you, and you, into me. And if you look carefully, you can still see this light in everything born of this universe shining, shining.

[URJ Outro:] After hearing the story of the "Sparks of Light," I'm wondering when you feel most full of one of those sparks, and what it feels like when you do? If you want to share that with us, we'd love to hear about it. You can find us at, and on Twitter our handle is @ReformJudaism. Thanks for listening to "Stories We Tell." If you enjoyed this story, rate and review us on iTunes. You can always find new episodes every Thursday on, where you can learn more about Jewish rituals, culture, 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!