Shimmy The Worm - A Rosh HaShanah Story

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Shimi The Worm

© 2003 Rabbi David Botton – All Rights Reserved

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Every morning Shimi the worm would come to the window of his apple home and look out to see the sunrise. He would hope that today would be different, that today his wish would come true. That he would be able to do something special for Hashem[1].

True, every day Shimi said his Perek Shira[2] like everything else on earth, but he wanted to do more.

Shimi would pray, “Hashem, I know I am not a Jew, I am just a lowly Tereif worm, but I want to have Mesirat Nefesh[3] like every Jew should for your Torah[4] and Mitzvot[5]!”

So Shimi would pray every day, until the rumbling of massive machines interrupted one beautiful morning and his life, as he knew it, was over.

Shimi felt his entire world spinning around him as everything plunged in to darkness.

“Hashem,” Shimi screamed, “is this my end, will I be lost for ever in this pit of darkness never to see your sunrise and sing your praises again.”

Shimi began to lose hope as now added to the darkness and spinning was a deep cold.

Shimi was upset and angry, “How could Hashem do this to me, how could he forget about me and leave me here like this. Not only was I a good worm, I wanted to do even more!”

Shimi cried and cried tears running down his slimy cheeks as his depression grew.

After many tears were shed, Shimi suddenly came to a thought. “I am a creation of Hashem! Everything He does, He does for my good. I may desire to do more, but Hashem knows what is best for me and who am I but a worm that I should think I even deserve more.”

Shimi began to scream, “Hashem, forgive me! It was only my lack of Emunah[6] in You that lead me away in to depression. If my being here in the dark and cold serves your divine plans than I accept with all my heart.”

Shimi smiled and thanked Hashem for being able to say his Perek Shira and pleaded as always to have the opportunity to do more for Hashem, but this time he added, “Hashem, I will always be happy with whatever opportunity You give me, but I will never stop to desire to be forever in your service with my entire being.”

Days passed in the dark and cold, but Shimi now had hope and trusted in Hashem and was happy. Then light broke through the window of Shimi’s home. A few seconds went by and his little eyes adjusted. There in the distance he could see a sign, “Chaimi’s Grocery”.

“What could this all mean,” Shimi thought, “I don’t know, but whatever it is good or bad in my eyes, I know that it is the Ratzon Hashem[7].”

Shimi’s next moments were as bad as the first that landed him in to the cold and dark, he could feel his home spinning and moving from place to place. Shimi never gave up hope though.

The next morning after his new ordeal, Shimi woke up and from the window of his apple home he could see many apples everywhere he looked, and people, lots and lots of people. Shimi saw the most amazing site of his life, real Jews. He was so happy, he could see little boys with kipas[8] on their heads, men with beards and peyot[9] and women with their hair covered[10] so beautifully.

Shimi couldn’t hold himself back and shouted, “Wow! Thank you Hashem, if only for this day to see real Jews, I would suffer my entire life in the darkness.”

Shimi then heard a child whining to his mother over and over again, “I want to pick my own apple, I want to pick my own apple, I want to pick my own apple…”

The next thing he knew, Shimi was again spinning around his home as he felt his apple being thrown in to the shopping basket of the whining boy’s mother.

Shimi was really excited now. He knew that he was going to a Jewish Home!

A few hours later Shimi’s latest spin came to an end. He inched over to his window and saw the boy’s mother cooking all kinds of wonderful foods. Then he heard the words, “apples dipped in honey for Rosh Hashanah[11]” being song by the young boy.

Shimi was shaken, this meant that his home was destined for the holy Yom Tov[12] table. For a second he thought about his home’s destruction, how he had carved out every nook and cranny with his own mouth, how he assembled his furniture from apple chunks and even created a master replica of a true mezuzah[13] to put on his door. Then, Shimi realized, this was a gift from Hashem, his home would be destroyed, but it would be for a holy purpose. More importantly than that, Shimi realized that here was the holy mission he had prayed for, the opportunity to have Messirat Nefesh. If he stayed in his apple home and a Jew would eat him, the Jew would be in violation of the Torah.

Shimi immediately grabbed some apple bits and was out the door. He didn’t know how he would survive with out his home. “No food, no comforts of home,” Shimi thought to himself, “nothing matters, I am in the service of the King of Kings”

So it was that Shimi found himself inching across the cold kitchen counter pondering his fate when the young boy spotted him. The next thing Shimmi knew he was in the palm of the boy’s hand. Less than a second later that boy ran up to his room and was staring in to the eyes of Shimi and he said, “Will you be my friend? Look here, I am going to build you a mansion to live in with my block set!”

Shimi cried tears of joy, “Wow! A real Jewish boy wants to be my friend!”

The boy then placed Shimi in to his magnificent new home. The boy then said, “I’ll be back for you later!” and the boy quickly left.

Shimi couldn’t believe it, “Wow! I’m saved and what a wonderful new home. Wow! I Thank You Hashem for everything this was more than I could ever have dreamed of, a true Gan Eden[14].”

Shimi didn’t even complete his praise to the almighty when in came the young boy again. He took Shimi and placed him in his shirt pocket. Shimi loved the warmth and excitement that he felt from head to tail. He was glowing with the idea that he was going to experience Rosh Hashanah in a Jewish home.

The young boy took his place next to the holy Yom Tov table. Shimi could see everything from his special seat. He heard the boy’s father say Kiddush[15] on a glass of wine and then every one did Nitilat Yadaim[16] and the father said HaMotzi[17]. Then the special moment every child was waiting for on Rosh Hashanah night, the father asked each person to take the piece of apple on his plate and dip it in honey.

Shimi saw on the plate his home and he smiled, “Wow! There is nothing more in the world that I could ever want more than this. Thank You Hashem for letting me give up everything for You!”

Everyone at the table then recited the blessing over the apple, “Borei Peri HaEtz”. The young boy then gave a small piece of the apple to Shimi and Shimi began to cry uncontrollable tears of joy, “Wow! A piece of apple with a blessing from a real Jew!”

Shimi was truly living heaven on earth.



[1] Lit. the Name, i.e. God. Jews do not pronounce God’s name in every day speech.

[2] An ancient order of prayer made of combinations of verses corresponding to each variety of creation on earth that according to the Ritba, Rav Yom Tov Elgazi, had each creation had the means to praise Hashem, this would be the prayer they would recite.

[3] Giving of oneself for a cause

[4] The five books of Moses and the oral traditions passed down to understand them.

[5] The rules commanded to the Jews in the Torah

[6] Faith, a belief in the truth of Hashem and his divine providence over the world

[7] The will of God, i.e. the divine plan

[8] Skullcaps, Jewish tradition calls for the covering of one’s head to help one develop the awe of the Heavens.

[9] The Torah commands that the hair in the temple / ear region not be completely removed. It is the custom among the pious to let the hair grow longer in that region.

[10] The Torah commands that a married women’s hair must be covered

[11] The New Year of the world, the first day of the Jewish calendar

[12] Holiday

[13] The Torah commands that a scroll with specific section of the Torah be placed at the entrance doors and gates of every Jewish home.

[14] Garden of Eden, the place where souls rest until the resurrection after the coming of the Messiah

[15] The prayers sanctifying the day said while holding a cup of wine.

[16] The ritual washing of the hands before eating bread in remembrance of the way the priests would wash before eating anything holy

[17] Prayer over the bread and meal