Jewish Values: Shadow Play: A True Story of Tefillah

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32 p.
During a time of drought in Israel, two messengers are sent to Abba Chilkiya to ask him to pray for rain. Abba Chilkiya is renowned for always having his prayers answered yet when the two men reach him, his behavior perplexes them. Finally, after rain is pouring down, Abba Chilkiya reveals why, upon first receiving the messengers, he behaved so strangely and why his wife's prayers were answered first. It is because she acts with kindness to people in need. The secret of tefillah - of prayer - Chilkiya says, is "Hashem watches our every move and step. When we turn to help others, Hashem turns to hear our needs." Retold from the Talmud and commentaries of the Baal Shem Tov, the story is rather cryptic and will not be accessible to children who are unacquainted with Talmudic discourse. Pesach Gerber's illustrations capture the action and setting well.
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Sydney Taylor Winner: