Wednesday, September 28, 2005

How Popular Education Works -4


Word came to the Jews of a small Russian town that a much beloved and very wise Rabbi was to pay them a visit. The whole town prepared. The wise men and the talmudic students polished their questions. Foods were prepared for a feast.

The Rabbi arrived in the town which was fairly vibrating with anticipation. All the townspeople gathered in the village square. Some of the talmudic students were so eager and worried that their questions might go unasked and unnoticed that they simply blurted them out. Very quickly there was a clamour of voices directed at the Rabbi.

The Rabbi raised a hand and quickly all were silent. He held his hand steady and all listened. The breeze stirred the leaves of trees. Birds chirped in the warm sunlight. The Rabbi began to hum a tune. He closed his eyes and swayed back and forth. First the children followed suit, humming the gentle melody and swaying on their feet. Soon all the villagers were humming and swaying. The Rabbi began to dance, first in slow, measured steps and then quicker and quicker until he was spinning around the square. The villagers all joined in until the square was a mass of dancing and spinning and singing people. The joy of the dance and the song reached out and touched the trees and the birds, the sunlight and the clouds in the sky. The entire earth seemed to be vibrating in time with the dancers.

Hours passed before the dance was done. All sat in the square, tired and still. They looked to the Rabbi who said, “I trust that I have answered your questions.”

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