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.
Three souls are met by the Heavenly Tribunal as they approach the gates of Paradise: a learned rabbi, a pious man, and a tavern keeper. Each one makes their case as to why they should enter Paradise, but who among them instantly earns the Tribunal's favor?
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[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 David Locketz, the senior rabbi of Bet Shalom Congregation in Minnetonka, Minnesota, shares the story of "What It Takes to Get In."
[Rabbi David Locketz] Once, the heavenly tribunal stood at attention at the gates of Paradise. And there was a procession of the souls of men and women who came to present themselves for entrance into Paradise. The first soul that came was a learned rabbi. She came before the tribunal. And she told him that all her life, she had poured over the words of God. She studied the texts at every opportunity trying to discern God's wishes.
The recording angel yelled out, wait just a minute. We must first investigate your motives. Why did you study? Was it for your own sake? Was it for honor? Was it so that you could earn a living?
Next in line was a pious man. During my life, I often fasted. I observed all of the 613 commandments. I bathed several times a day to maintain my purity. I studied the mysteries of the Zohar ceaselessly as I moved through all of the levels of holiness. And the recording angel yelled out, wait just a minute. We must first investigate your intentions.
And next came a tavern keeper. He approached the gates of Paradise and stood humbly before the tribunal and simply stated, my door was always open to the homeless. And I fed whoever was in need or who was hungry. At that moment, the recording angel without any hesitation cried out, open the gates of Paradise. No further investigation is needed.
[URJ Outro] After hearing the story "What It Takes to Get In," I guess we're wondering whether or not you ever think about why you do the things that you do. Is it from the most pure of intentions? Or are there sometimes other motivating factors? We'd love to hear about that. If you want to share it with us, you can do so on social media. You can find us at Facebook.com/ReformJudaism. And on Twitter, our 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 ReformJudaism.org. And don't forget to visit ReformJudaism.org 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'hitroat.