Stories We Tell: What Did You Leave on The Tables?

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.

If somebody left something important at your house, would you give it to anyone else? That’s the question Mrs. Gold asks her daughter to encourage her to learn a life-long lesson. Find out what was left, and why this question contains such a crucial message, in this story retold by Cantor Ellen Dreskin.

Three ways to listen:


[URJ Intro] Welcome back to "Stories We Tell," a podcast presented by Every once in a while, we like to share a top-10 favorite with you, something that maybe you've heard before, but haven't heard in awhile. And this week we're going to do just that. This is a story told by Cantor Ellen Dreskin, a cantor, a teacher, a storyteller of the highest order. This the story of, "What Did You Leave on the Table?"

[Cantor Ellen Dreskin] The story is told of two women who were very close friends, Mrs. Broom and Mrs. Gold. One morning, Mrs. Broom came over to Mrs. Gold's house, and they sat down for their cup of coffee. And Mrs. Broom really had something on her mind.

She told a tragic story a story that was going on in her family, of loss, and of betrayal, and of deceit. She just really needed to get all this off of her chest. And she spoke, and spoke, and spoke to Mrs. Gold until she could speak no more.

And then she felt a little bit comforted. They hugged and they kissed. And Mrs. Broom went on her way.

It wasn't until after Ms. Broom had left that Ms. Gold realized that her daughter had been listening the entire time, and heard every word of Mrs. Broom's private story. Mrs. Gold wasn't quite sure how to handle this. She sat her daughter down, and said, I have a question for you. If Mrs. Broom had left her purse here this morning, would we give it to anyone else?

The child said, "Of course not." "Well, why not?" said Mrs. Gold to her daughter. And her daughter said, "Well, that belongs to Mrs. Broom, and it would be really wrong to share it with anyone else."

"Ah," Mrs. Gold continued. "Well, you may have heard today that Mrs. Broom left something much more precious behind than her purse. She left a story that could make many people unhappy. The story is not ours to give to anyone.

It is still hers, even though she left it here. So we won't be giving Mrs. Broom's story to anyone else. Do you understand?" The daughter did understand. Ever since that time, a confidence or a bit of careless gossip that a friend left at her house or in her heart, it was always considered personal, and was never hers to share with anyone else.

[URJ Outro] After hearing the story, "What Did You Leave on the Table?" we're wondering how carefully you guard the words of others and how carefully you guard the words of yourselves. If you feel like sharing that with us, we'd love to hear about it a little bit on social media. You can find us at, and on Twitter, where our handle is @ReformJudaism. Thanks for listening to "Stories We Tell." If you enjoyed this week's story, rate us and review us on iTunes.

And you can always find new episodes every Thursday at, where you can also learn a little bit 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'hitroat!