Stories We Tell: Where is Your Target?

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. 

The prince goes to study with a master archer to become the best in the land. When he finishes his studies and heads back home, he stops at an inn and sees a barn covered with arrows stuck perfectly in the middle of targets, clearly the work of another excellent archer. The prince sets out to find this archer—who are they and how do they do it? Rabbi Leora Kaye retells the story. For a written version, see The Perfect Story in The Essential Jewish Stories, collected, annotated, and retold by Seymour Rossel.

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Welcome back to Stories We Tell, a podcast from Judaism has a deep and rich tradition of storytelling, passing our stories down from one generation to the next. And here, every week, we share some new stories with you. This week I'm going to share a story. My name is Rabbi Leora Kaye and I'm the Director of Program at the Union for Reform Judaism. I hope you enjoy Where Is Your Target.

There is a story that is told of a king and his son, the prince, was good at many things, but he was really the best at archery. It became clear that this was his specialty and his father decided to send him away to study with a master archer.

Off he went to learn the best way to hold the bow, how to judge the wind, the distance, and the arc. And by the end of his training he really was the best in the land, and so he began his travels home.

But on the way he came across a village and he decided to spend the night at an inn there, and he noticed that he had a barn. And the prince was amazed to see that on the side of that barn along all of the walls he saw targets painted, and each with an arrow directly in the middle, not one inch off from the center. The prince saw that whomever it was that had shot these arrows was clearly a gifted marksman, and he decided that he needed to learn more.

He decided to start asking around the village, who was this Archer that lived there? But nobody knew what he was talking about.

He wondered if they were trying to hide something from him. Not a single person knew what he meant or whom he could be speaking about. So, finally he headed back to the inn. And just as he was arriving, he saw a young girl. He figured he would ask her, maybe she would know. “Do you know who it is that's been shooting arrows here?”

She said, “Why yes! It's me.”

The prince was a little surprised, and perhaps, a bit not surprised. But he said to her, “Would you show me your technique?”

She quickly went to get her quiver and bow. She came back and immediately proceeded to shoot an arrow directly into the wall of the barn. The prince was confused for a moment, and then the girl ran back to the barn and returned with a can of paint and a paintbrush. And she then proceeded to paint a solid circle around the arrow that was still firmly planted in the wall of the barn, and she then proceeded to paint two more circles around the arrow making a target.

“And now you know,” she said. “I shoot the arrow just where it needs to go.”

I hope you learned something from that story, and I'm wondering, when have you done something in the way that you needed it done, and how did you feel when it was finished? If you wanna share that with us, we'd love to hear about it on social media. You can find us at, or our Twitter handle, which is @ReformJudaism.

Thanks for listening to Stories We Tell. If you enjoyed this week's story, we'd love for you to rate and review it 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, culture, 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