Stories We Tell: Who Will Help

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.

Has there ever been a problem in your life that needed to be solved, and you knew you might be able to fix it? This week, join Rabbi Leora Kaye as she tells the story about a farmer who encounters a large boulder stuck in the middle of the road and does what she knows is the only right thing to do.

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[Rabbi Leora Kaye] Welcome back to Stories We Tell, a podcast presented by Judaism has always had a deep and rich tradition of storytelling, passing our stories down from one generation to the next. And here, each week, we share a new story with you. This week, I'm going to share a story. My name is Rabbi Leora Kaye. I'm the director of program at the Union for Reform Judaism. And the story we're sharing is "Who Will Help?"

There was a road in a kingdom that went from-- well, it really went from this place to that as roads do. It was a little bit bumpy in some places. And in some places, it was flat. And in still other places, the road was hilly and smooth at the very same time.

Many different people used the road. Some needed it to get places quickly, and some would just walk along, and some would carry their wares from one town to the next. Some would be on their way somewhere, and then they would stop and just look out at the view that was available to them. But most people came across it at one point or another. And it helped them get everywhere they needed to go-- to the market or to their homes or their farms or to the palace.

However, one day, seemingly out of nowhere, a boulder ended up in the middle of the road. And the people that came upon it were really not sure where it came from, and nor were they sure what to do. They had to get where they were going-- this one, well, to the market and that one to the palace and this one to her house.

And so each of them squeezed by. They yelled about the king's staff who should have moved it, or they yelled about the king. But each on their own found a way to get around the boulder, or they turned and went a different way until a farmer came along. She knew that she needed to get by. She knew that there was actually no other way for her to go. And she was laden with crops that needed to be delivered.

And so she did the one thing she knew that needed doing. She took time, and she moved the boulder. It wasn't easy. It took a while, and it took her energy and took a lot of effort. And a few people who came along helped her when she asked. But some-- well, some did not.

And then to her surprise, when she had moved it off the road and was just about to get going, she found a bag-- a bag full of gold with a note. And the note said that it was a gift from the king, that he had placed that boulder there on the road as a bit of a test. He wanted people to encounter it and then to see what could be done, to see if they might help.

He knew that someone eventually would see it and say, well, if this is a challenge for me, it must be hard for others. And so maybe it would be me that would do what needed doing. I'll fix it for all of us, he figured someone might say. And the person that helped the king believed, as was written in the note, should then also be helped.

The farmer smiled. And she shared some of the gold with the others who had helped her. And she even gave some of it away to others who were in need. And then she took the rest, and she continued on her way.

After hearing the story "Who Will Help?" I'm wondering whether or not there's ever been a time when you've realized that you're the one person who can do the thing that needs to be done. Or has anyone ever asked you to help, and you have? Has anyone ever asked you to help, and you haven't? We'd love to hear about it a bit on social media. You can find us at and on Twitter, where 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 And don't forget to visit to learn a little bit more about Jewish rituals, our culture, our 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!