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An Open Heart
It was New Year and the Baal Shem Tov was having difficulty praying. His students were very concerned. They had never seen him have as much difficulty as having on this day. They knew, as did everybody else, that Baal Shem Tov knew everything there was to know about praying. His prayers moved everyone. Just being in the same room with him opened channels of light unknown to other men. Still with all he knew, he was having difficulty and the students were worried.
Meanwhile at the very back of the crowded synagogue, a little boy of five stood with his father. His father was concentrating on his prayers with all his might. The little boy looked around, as little boys will, and everyone was concentrating on the prayers. Caught up on the spirit of congregation, the boy earned, more than anything else, to join in to show his devotion. With this in mind, the boy opened the prayer book. He looked at the strange scribbles on the page and none of it made any sense. He closed the book. What he could do? He was at a loss. And now, his nose was running. The boy reached for his pocket and pulled out a handkerchief. There wrapped in the handkerchief, was a beautiful shiny whistle.
The boy wiped his nose and considered the whistle. His mother must have hidden it in his pocket for him to play with after the service. He thought to himself, “If I blow this whistle very hard, God will hear it. And he will know how much I want to be with him. The little boy looked up at his father and pulled his coat. “What is it?” the father asked sternly. “I want to blow my whistle” said the boy. You can blow it after the service, said the father and went back to his prayers.
“Hmmm”, the boy thought, “After the service it will be too late”. So he pulled his father’s coat again. “What?” his father said, becoming annoyed. “I want to blow the whistle now”, the boy whispered. His father narrowed his eyes, which is always a bad sign. “Don’t you dare”, his father mouthed and went back to prayers. But the boy put the whistle to his mouth and blew it as hard as he could, in the synagogue filled with quite murmur of devoted supplicants.
The boy’s father nearly jumped out and could hardly believe what has happened. He snatched whistle away from the boy. Everyone was looking at them. The boy’s father did not know what to do. Before he could gather his wits and stammer out an apology, he was interrupted by a well-known kindly voice, “Did you blow the whistle?”
It was Baal Shem Tov. The father said meekly “It was my son but he is only five years old.” Ball Shem Tov turned to the little boy and asked him, “Did you blow the whistle”. Bravely the boy nodded. “Why?” asked Baal Shem. The boy answered, “I cannot read and I want to talk to God like everybody else”.
The boy’s father started to apologise. But Baal Shem Tov said, “I want you to know that your son’s blowing of the whistle opened more gates to the creator than all I could with my knowledge and prayers and meditations. Thank you”.
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