Stories We Tell: What is Permanent?

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 act when your friend hurts your feelings? How do you remember when your friend helps you out?

Three ways to listen:


[URJ Intro:] Welcome back to "Stories We Tell," a podcast from 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 share a new story with you to carry on that tradition. This week, Fran Uditsky Moss, storyteller, singer, and performing artist, shares the story of "What is Permanent?"

[Fran Moss:] Often on Shabbat afternoon, two lifelong friends, Colby and Sam, would go for a walk. On this particular afternoon, it was so beautiful they decided to go for a walk along the beach. And, as they did most Shabbat afternoons, they had a conversation. They talked about this, and they talked about that. And for some reason, this time their conversation turned into an argument. Not just a small disagreement, but a full blown argument. And then somehow, Colby lost control and he did a terrible thing. Something he never done before. He became so angry, he absolutely screamed at Sam! Colby could see that he had really hurt Sam's feelings.

But Sam said nothing. Instead, he walked over and he picked up a long stick, bent over, and wrote these words in the sand: "Today, my best friend hurt my feelings." And then he continued walking along the beach. Colby followed him, and and soon they were having another conversation.

Once again, they talked about this, and they talked about that, until as the sun reached higher and higher in the sky, and the day got warmer and warmer, the two friends decided to go for a swim.

Soon, they were cooling off in the ocean having a great time bobbing around in the water, splashing each other, until all of a sudden, a huge wave came crashing over Sam's head, pulling him under the water. Colby could see that Sam was thrashing around and trying to stay above the water, and he knew that if he didn't do something right away, his good friend was likely to drown. So, Colby swam over to Sam, and he grabbed him by the arm, and he pulled and he pulled, and finally he pulled him out of the water.

Well, when they were both safely on the shore, and they caught their breath, Sam took a few steps along the beach, and he picked up a small sharp stone. Then he picked up a larger stone and etched into it these words: "Today, my best friend saved my life.".

Well, Colby was confused, and he said, "I don't understand. After I screamed at you, you wrote in the sand 'today, my best friend hurt my feelings,' and now you write on a stone, 'today my best friend save my life.' First in the sand and then on a stone. Why?".

"Well," Sam explained, "you see, when someone makes us feel bad, we should write it down in the sand, where the winds of forgiveness can erase it away. But when someone does something good for us, we must engrave it in stone where nothing can ever erase it."

[URJ Outro:] After hearing the story "What is Permanent?" I was wondering if there are things that you think about that you wish could be erased, or things that you wish you had given more time to that would never be erased? If you want to share that with us, we'd love to hear about it a little bit. On social media, uou can find us at, and on Twitter our handle is @ReformJudaism. Thanks for listening to "Stories We Tell." If you enjoyed this week's story rate and review us on iTunes, and you can always find new episodes every Thursday on, where you can also go 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!