Tales of the Blue Wizard

Rabbi  Steven J. Lebow,
Temple Kol,Emeth
Marietta, Atlanta Georgia

December 21st, 2012.

Tales of the Blue Wizard

Or… How I hated Hebrew School and why you can, too!wizard_crystal_ball_c190660_s_0

In a town, not so long ago. In a place not so far away…. There lived a people who were blue. Or, at least, they were blue-ish. The people wanted their children to learn to be “blues”, but they had no idea how to begin to lead a blue-ish life, so they approached the wizard and asked him to teach their children the blue-ish ways.

“I’ll try,” said the wizard, sheepishly. And he took on the blueish children as students. They came to him and to his assistants every week for blueish instruction.

He tried to teach them how to levitate, but they were only fair. He tried to teach them how to turn invisible, but that was almost a complete disaster. They never quite got the hang of it and only their heads would disappear. The rest of their bodies were completely visible. He taught them how to cast spells, but they almost always got the words wrong and the spells turned out to be, well, at best interesting.

He taught and taught magic all day and all night long, but the blueish students just looked at him and yawned.

“Will this be on the test?” one of them asked. “Life is the test” the blue wizard grumbled.

“My mother says I have to be excused early today,” said another student, as he broke his concentration on his spell.

“I don’t like wizardry school,” said a third student. “My father says he hated it when he was a kid and that’s why I have to go now. But he also said, ”she continued, “that when I pass my introductory wizardry test that I don’t have to go to wizard school anymore!”

The blue wizard grew more and more frustrated.

Until one day, a delegation of parents approached the blue wizard.

“Our children are not learning wizardry the way we thought they would,” said the president of the delegation.”

“Yes,” mumbled the blue wizard, “i can see that. But let me ask you something, he turned to one of the parents.

“What else do your children study, besides wizardry?”

“Oh, my child practices the clarinet for four hours every day,” said one parent.

“Ah well my child studies rhythmic gymnastics for 6 hours a day,” beamed one proud parent.

“Well, we had to give up band and gymnastics,” admitted one parent, “but now my child is on a traveling softball team for 32 weeks a year.”

“Ah yes,” said the blue wizard at last, “I think I see a pattern emerging. You want your children to learn how to become wizards, or at least how to use wizardry in their lives. But it seems like everything else comes first. And yet, you know that one day, they’ll no longer play the clarinet, one day they won’t be in gymnastics and one day they won’t care that they ever played on a traveling softball team!

But they’ll always be blueish,” said the wizard. “And  I only get them at the end of the day,  when all else is said and done, I only get to teach them wizardry for an hour or two every week…

“Look,” continued the wizard in his most  jovial manner, “Let me ask you a question. “Who here practices wizardry at home, with their children? You know, instead of just dropping them off for an hour here or there, expecting me and the other wizards to teach them. Who here, actually talks about being blueish in front of their children, at the dinner table?”

A few of the parents sheepishly raised their hands.

“Well,” said the blue wizard, “ I would venture to say that yours are the children who will see the connection between what we teach in wizard school and what really happens in real life.

“After all” concluded the wizard, “my teacher used to tell me, the dinner table is the greatest classroom of all…”

The parents were quiet for a moment. They drunk in the wizards lesson that they were a team. That wizards and parents had to work together. That wizardy had to be taught in the home. That if parents practiced wizardry, then the children would learn by watching them, instead of just being shipped off to wizardry school.

Some of the parents understood the implicit wisdom of training their own children in wizardry. Some of the parents got it and they determined to become better skilled at being bluish.

Some of the parents got it and some never would.

“Are you sure you’re a wizard?” Asked one parent. “you know, you don’t even look blueish,” said another.

“And are you sure we have to practice wizardry too?” Asked one angry  parent. “I thought we were hiring you to teach our children everything they need to know!” 

“Ah,” said the wizard, with a twinkle in his eye, ““It isn’t my job. It’s your job to make sure your children turn out blueish.”

“I can’t do it all myself,” said the wizard, with a twinkle in his eye. “After all,” said the old man, “I told you I was a blue wizard, but I never told you I could do magic!”