Stories We Tell: Two Frogs and a Little Encouragement

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.

Has there ever been a moment when you wanted to give up on a goal because others said it was too hard? Has there ever been a moment when it seemed like all you could hear were cheers of encouragement to keep going? This week, we hear a story about two frogs who were in this exact same situation from Rabbi Rachel Greengrass of Temple Beth Am (Pinecrest, FL)

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 passing our stories down from one generation to the next. And each week, we share that tradition with you. This week, you're going to hear a story from Rabbi Rachel Greengrass from Temple Beth Am in Miami, Florida. Rabbi Greengrass is also the chair of the Union for Reform Judaism's resolutions committee and the vice president of the Rabbinic Association of Greater Miami. Rabbi Greengrass is going to share the story of "Two Frogs."

[Rabbi Greengrass] Have you ever wanted something really bad? Have you ever been scared that maybe you weren't good enough or strong enough to be able to do it? Have you ever accomplished something just because you felt so encouraged and empowered by others?

There was once two frogs. They were best friends, Sam and Samantha. And the two of them would often talk and jump and spend time together. And so it was one day that the two of them were jumping through the grass having a great time trying to see if they could catch flies when Sam and Samantha both fell into a deep hole.

Well, being frogs, logically the first thing they did was try to jump. And they tried. And they jumped, and they jumped, and they jumped. And their legs started to get sore.

And as they were jumping, other frogs began to gather around the edge of the hole. And they looked down, and they saw these two frogs jumping and jumping. And they wanted to help. And so they lowered a stick into the hole, but the stick just fell. And there seemed to be nothing that those watching could do to help.

And so one of the onlookers said to another, I can barely look. And the others said to the first one, yes, this is making me sick to my stomach. Oh, I wish they would just stop. I wish they would just give up. All of their trying, and it's so futile.

And so the frogs began to shout down to Sam and Samantha, there's no use. Just give up. Please, stop jumping. Save your energy. It's so horrible to watch. There's nothing you can do. Just give up. Give up. Give up.

And Sam was looking up and heard those frogs. And Sam kept jumping, but the jumps got smaller and smaller as they kept yelling give up, give up. And Sam eventually did give up and just lay on the ground and died in the morning sun.

But Samantha was also looking up at the frogs lining the edge of the hole. And she was jumping as hard as she could. And she closed her eyes, and she flexed her muscles. And she jumped, and she jumped, and she jumped, and she jumped. And finally, she made it out of the hole.

The frogs that had been watching turned to her in shock, in astonishment, and said, how did you do that? And she turned to them and said, what? I'm sorry. I can't hear you. When I was jumping, I must have got mud in my ears. I couldn't hear a thing you were saying, but I saw how you were yelling down. And I just want to say thank you. There's no way I ever would've made it out of that hole if it hadn't been for all of your encouragement.

[URJ Outro] After hearing the story about Sam and Samantha, has there ever been a time when the way people treated you made all the difference? We'd love to hear about that on social media. And thanks for listening to Stories We Tell. If you enjoyed this week's story, please subscribe and rate and review us on Apple Podcasts, Google Play, Stitcher, or wherever you get your podcasts.

You can always find new episodes every Thursday on And don't forget to visit to learn a little bit more about Jewish rituals, our culture, our 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'hitroat.