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      The Messiah and the two tailors

    Certainly the way a family selects stories, especially when the children realize
that stories are deliberately being used as an educational tool, (questions were
often answered with stories), does convey an attitude toward life, toward society,
and toward God, to the children.  Can these stories address “theological” issues?

One that helped convey my parents' scepticism about traditional views of the
hereafter was this one that my parents repeatedly  told when I asked about
“Heaven” and “Hell”, words I’d heard from playmates.

The Messiah and the two tailors

    Samuel and Mordecai were tailors.  Business was bad.  Business was awful.
Samuel became very depressed and announced he was going to kill himself.
Mordecai:    “No you mustn’t.  Besides, something is bound to happen to make
      things better.”
Samuel:    “What could possibly happen to make things better?  Nobody has
        money to buy clothes.  We’re going to starve.”
Mordecai:    (Thinking) “Maybe the Messiah will come.”
Samuel:    “How would that help the tailor business?”
Mordecai:    (Thinking) “When the Messiah comes, all the dead will be resurrected.
          They can’t go around wearing their shrouds, they’ll all need new
          clothes.  Business will be wonderful!”
Samuel:    “mmm. .. .  No, it’ll never work.  When the dead get resurrected, all
         the dead tailors are gonna get resurrected too.  Competition will be
         worse than ever!”
Mordecai:    “Don’t be silly.  How will all those dead tailors know this year’s

       My father also answered questions about the afterlife, if any, by saying,
“I don’t know if there is one or not, but frankly, I have enough other problems
here in this world to solve.  If God wants to know if there is an afterlife, He’ll
have to figure that one out for himself without my help."

(C) Edward Ordman  1980

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