The Importance of Storytelling

March 12, 2024

By Rabbi Ariel Platt, Director of J Life

Storytelling is the great vehicle of moral education.” – Rabbi Jonathan Sacks

One of the core mitzvot of Purim is to listen to the story of Esther. Every year we gather to cheer on Esther and Mordechai, and boo Haman, as we wear our costumes. Why is it so essential for us to listen to the story every year? Why is it a commandment? 
Jewish people are sometimes referred to as the People of the Book. We are storytellers because storytelling is a magical tool. Stories build connections from the past, to the present, often molding the future. It has the power to unite people, teach important values, traditions and lessons, as well as create special memories. 
Some of my favorite memories are listening to my grandparents share stories about their lives, sitting around the kitchen table. From their kitchen table, I learned lessons of kindness, hard work, and the importance of family among a long list of others.
There is also more than one way to tell a story. Here are some different ways to tell stories:

  1. Read a book and point out the values and lessons.
  2. Share a story around the kitchen table or on the couch.
  3. Draw a picture and talk about it.
  4. Act the story out with costumes or puppets.
  5. Role play with dolls, figurines, or stuffed animals.
  6. Watch a movie together and point out “noticing moments.”

Use Purim as an opportunity to remind and inspire you to tell stories because stories can transform the world. This Purim, take the time to share stories with your family. Starting with telling the story of Esther, and reminiscing about Purim’s from the past or simply talking about your favorite Purim traditions.
Happy Purim!

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