Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Stellaluna and the Yomim Noraim

Children's books can teach many fabulous lessons. While watching some kids last night, I read them a bedtime story.

It was a story about Stellaluna, a bat who got separated from her mother as a little baby. All alone in the big forest, Stellaluna discovered a nice family of birds living in a cozy nest on a tall tree.

At first, Stellaluna found the birds weird, and they couldn't get over her odd habits. Yet, slowly, as time went by, Stellaluna learned to behave a good little bird. She learned to stay up all day, eat bugs, and hang from her hands instead of her feet.

For a long time, Stellaluna lived as one of the birds, forgetting that she was different from them. Then, one day, the birds were all grown up and it was time for them to learn how to fly. The mother bird took them out of the nest and taught them the basics of flight.

The birds took off, Stellaluna close behind, and they went off and explored. It was then that Stellaluna found her real family, the Bats. The first time she glimpsed a bat hanging by his feet, she thought he was making a mistake. But then, as she grew used to the bat ways, she started to see something strange. Living as a bat was so much easier, so much more natural for her than life as a bird.

As a bird, Stellaluna had to choke down her bugs and struggle not to make faces. As a bat, Stellaluna had a grand time eating lots of fruit, plus, she found that he actually enjoyed it! As a bat, Stellaluna noticed how much easier it was for her to stay up all night and sleep all day. All of these traits that she had suppressed as a bird, were coming out and blossoming in her new existence as a bat.

In conclusion, Stellaluna and her old bird friends came to the mutual agreement that while they look and feel so similar, in reality, they are totally different. Reading this book, I got the chills from the obvious lesson I learned from it.

We are yidden.

Our lives may seem similar to those of the non-Jews. On the surface, we both have "wings", we both eat, we both live in the wondrous forest called "earth" yet, when we attempt to live as birds, rather than bats, we find ourselves struggling. We might be able to mold ourselves to fit in with the "rest of the world" but what is the point? We are created differently, for a different purpose.

Now, during the aseres yemei teshuvah, as we contemplate our lives, our mortality, and our very existence, as we think about our life styles, about the areas that need change, we must ask ourselves, are we living as birds, or as bats? Are we twisting ourselves around, trying to make ourselves fit the mold of the umos ha'olam, or are we satisfied with our lives as bats, and living the way we are meant to live?

Sometimes, we don't even give ourselves a chance. We act as we always have. We do what we see the world doing. Yet, if we'd sit amongst the bats, and learn their ways, OUR ways, we would discover that our lives would become richer, more satisfying.

Don't be a bird, be a bat!

19 comments:

Dude with hat (aka BTS) said...

Wow, that's very cute!

thinking out loud said...

Great mashal! Thanx for sharing :)

Keels said...

Beautiful
(Are you in cahoots with Lipa Shmeltzer ? my verification word is "nonstopp")

Staying Afloat said...

Very cool.

itsagift said...

Wow - that is such a great mashal! What a good message from a little kids book!

Freeda said...

Wow, excellent mashal...

Monkey's Uncle said...

Great story, and very applicable.
Sorry to be such a nit-picker, but bat's are essentially blind, so they're not out to explore their environs visually...

itsagift said...

Another lesson from this story is that we are all given the tools we need to live life to the fullest and enjoy all that this world has to offer! Just like when the bat was able to "enjoy" staying awake at night - because that's how he was created...Each person should appreciate the unique tools Hashem has given him because that is the best way he can live life to the maximum!!
Don't think someone else has it better than you because every person has their hardships and every person has their good qualities and things that may make you jealous - but don't be! Behind every smile is a real person, with real struggles and wants. But remember, Hashem gave YOU what YOU need to reach your potential!!

Dude with hat (aka BTS) said...

@itsagift - what you say is very true and I totally agree with you. Just one question - are you yourself able to always follow what you are saying here? I am not trying to disprove you, just that it sounds very good in theory but in practice it's one of the hardest things to do...

ms said...

Very nice, thanks for the lesson...

gmar chasima tova!

Freeda said...

Dude- so it's hard- and therefore....we just have to work harder. The excuse that she may not do it or that it's hard doesn't negate the fact that she made a valid point. It's something that I think we all struggle with, each on our own level, and yes, it'll prob. be a lifetime challenge...so what? Let's get busy on it now...

Dude with hat (aka BTS) said...

@Freeda - as I said before I didn't try to disprove point or argue with it. It was just a personal question if she keeps up with this point or not.

Freeda said...

dude, sorry bout that then...

Dude with hat (aka BTS) said...

@Freeda - nothing to be sorry, i knew it wasn't clear enough, just didn't know how how to say it better.

anon#1 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dude with hat (aka BTS) said...

@anon#1 - thanks, i didn't know. It's somewhat very rare these days...

MAK said...

I loved the story of Stellaluna, even though the first time I read it wasn't till I babysat a couple of kids. Really is a great mashal, though I feel inclined to point out (as an animal nut), that Stellaluna was a fruitbat, other bats usually eat bugs.

itsagift said...

Dude - I hope I follow it though I can't say I am never jealous of anybody. I do know that I have my own tests and challenges and if people looked at me from the outside, they might also think they have what to be jealous of...a smile goes a longggg way in that people may think my life is problem free! But nobody's life is perfect and I have my own things I have to deal with...
I wish I was never jealous of anybody, I was just saying that this is another lesson/message to take from this post! I hope I am able to bring it into my life and remember it whenever I start to think someone else has it better than me!!

Something Different said...

BTS- I'm glad you enjoyed!

TOL- Coming from you I am flattered. :-)

Keels- Oh I sure am! I friend's friend's in-laws live on his block! :-p

SA- Thanks. :-)

IAG- Its funny cuz I mostly find that secular books don't give off the greatest morals, but this was great!
And thanks, that was a great nimshal!

Freeda- Glad you enjoyed.

MU- I'll pass the message on to the author... ;-)

MS- glad you liked!

MAK- I was actually wondering about this when I read it. I thought bats do eat bugs. Thanks for clarifying. :-)