Here is a version of a story I first heard from Rabbi Jonathan Omer-man many years ago. I have changed a number of the details but never forgotten the essence of the story because it felt like a knife going into my heart. It has come back to me now as I contemplate what it means to be a Wise Elder.
Once, in a tiny village in Eastern Europe, there lived a woman named Rose. She spent her days as a baker of breads with fragrances that wafted invitingly from her open window. Every morning, Rose and her husband Abe would wake in the earliest hours to prepare the yeast and knead and bake sourdough rye breads and grainy black breads and dark molassesy pumpernickels and, on Fridays, sweet egg challahs that were the talk of the village.
Each day when she awoke, Rose would lean over, kiss her husband, and swinging her feet to the floor, hum a little tune for the pure enjoyment of waking and being a baker of breads. And so it was day after day until the year she turned 50. Read more »