When one enters the world as a baby, says one Jewish midrash or story, the hands are clenched as though to say, "Everything is mine. I will inherit all." When one departs the world, the hands are open, as though to say," I have acquired nothing from the world." In between, our hands have many other tasks. One of them is delineated in this wonderful new book for children ages five and up of all faiths and backgrounds. This traditional Jewish folk tale is rendered by Rabbi Lawrence Kushner, one of the most widely read authors on spirituality from a Jewish perspective, and Gary Schmidt, author of Lizzie Bright and the Buckminster Boy.
It tells the story of a rich man who wants to do something for God and a poor man who has no other thoughts except to feed his hungry family. They are drawn together in a parable that illustrates truths that all youngsters need to hear: kindness works miracles and our hands are the hands of God. The folk-style illustrations by Matthew J. Baek vividly convey the charm and simplicity of the story.