Stories We Tell: Two Visits to the Palace

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.

How do you see beauty? Rabbi Leora Kaye tells the story of Adam and Joshua’s visit to the palace. While they each see something special and amazing in their individual experiences, it’s what they learn to see, through each other’s eyes, that’s truly beautiful.

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Welcome back to "Stories we Tell," a podcast presented by Judaism has always had a deep and rich tradition of sharing our stories, passing them down orally from one generation to the next. And each week we try to do the same here, sharing stories with you that you can share with others.

While we always try to tell stories that reflect the entire diversity of our community throughout the year, some of you have noticed that this month we have highlighted LGBTQ families in honor of Gay Pride Month. And we will do the same this week, as well. My name is rabbi Leora Kaye, and the story I'm going to share is "Two visits to the palace."

It's funny how you see what you are offered and how you are who you are and who you have become a little bit based on where you came from. There once was a couple that was invited to visit the king, and they prepared so much for their visit, talking with their friends about what they might see, what they might learn, who they might meet. And Adam spoke of the ornateness of the palace and what beautiful pieces of artwork would adorn the walls, what china they might be served on, what meals they might partake in.

Joshua, on the other hand, he wondered who they might meet. Would they speak with the king himself? Would they be in conversation with the people who had served him all these years? Would they perhaps even talk with the people who had worked on his strategy, his plans, his vision for the future of their majesty's land?

And the day came closer and closer, though, oddly, even though they spoke with their friends and family, they did not speak with each other about it. But eventually, the day arrived. They walked to the palace together hand in hand. But in the melee, they were separated just before they entered. They were not the only two to visit that day, of course. But they found each other just at the end. And it was then that they spoke and realized why their experiences were so different, each perfect for themselves but would have been quite disappointing had Adam had the day of Joshua or Joshua the day of David.

You see, Adam, he had grown up wealthy in a family that loved each other dearly but had all the comforts that one could want in life. For him, when he entered the palace, he truly was taken with the opulence, the beauty, and never even realized what he missed was talking to the people, talking to the king.

Joshua, he was just the opposite. He had been brought up in a family that also loved each other dearly, but who had had none of the benefits of wealth or material objects. And for him, the most important gift that he received in the visit was, in fact, talking to the people and even speaking with the king.

But the best gift for each of them, for Joshua and Adam, was learning what the other had been gifted that day and sharing it with one another. So that Joshua learned of the beauty of the place and Adam learned of the beauty of the conversation. And each knew more for the next visit they might have.

After hearing the story "Two Visits to the Palace," I hope there was something in there that might make you think about what you've learned in your life, what kinds of things you'd like to change or do a little bit differently, and what you've learned from others who had lived a life different than yours. If you'd like to share that with us, we'd love to hear about it a little bit on social media. You can find us at or our Twitter handle is @ReformJudaism.

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 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!