Sunday, February 03, 2008

Heaven and Hell: A Parable

A rabbi was talking with God about Heaven and Hell.

"Come," said God. "Walk with me, and I will show you Hell."

And together they walked into a room of cold, rough stone. In the center of the room, atop a low fire, sat a huge pot of quietly simmering stew. The stew smelled delicious, and made the rabbi's mouth water. A group of people sat in a circle around the pot, and each of them held a curiously long-handled spoon. The spoons were long enough to reach the pot; but the handles were so ungainly that every time someone dipped the bowl of their spoon into the pot and tried to maneuver the bowl to their mouth, the stew would spill. The rabbi could hear the grumblings of their bellies. They were cold, hungry, and miserable.

"And now," God said, "I will show you Heaven."

Together they walked into another room, almost identical to the first. A second pot of stew simmered in the center; another ring of people sat around it; each person was outfitted with one of the frustratingly long spoons. But this time, the people sat with the spoons across their laps or laid on the stone beside them. They talked, quietly and cheerfully with one another. They were warm, well-fed, and happy.

"Lord, I don't understand," said the rabbi. "How was the first room Hell; and this, Heaven?"

God smiled. "It's simple," he said. "You see, they have learned to feed each other."

(Temple Sinai Congregation of Toronto)
Charles K. 8/21/06 <source>

I had read this in Craig and Mark Keilbugers Me to We as a Japanese parable, featuring super long chopsticks (similar to this or this version). I thought it was a nice story, especially after this.

1 comment:

Miss Welby said...


in Europe we have this:

HEAVEN is where the cook is French, the mechanic German, the policeman British, the lover Italian and all is managed by the Swiss.

HELL is where the cook is British, the mechanic French, the policeman German, the lover Swiss and all is managed by the Italians!

(I'll maybe take the liberty to translate your story into iItalian for my blog, where I've given you a link: visit me and see if you like to reciprocate. ciao!)