Everyone thinks stories can put you to sleep, I say stories can wake you up!
Monsa Monster brings you the treasures of Yiddish storytelling with a new monsa (story) each month. Sharing classic and modern masterpieces of Jewish imagination that explore not only the riches of the Yiddish past, but also of the cultures around us.
The Power of the Tongue
a midrash retold by Peninnah Schram
Read by Al Franken
A classic midrash draws inspiration from Proverb 18, which tells us “Death and life are in the power of the tongue.” In this midrash-inspired monsa, we find the parts of the body caught in a power struggle. But where does real human power lie?
This midrash has been adapted many times. You can read a direct Yiddish translation from a midrashic collection in דער צדיק און דער גוטער וועג or in this 1922 Yiddish school primer: דער אָנפאַנגער.
This story was originally recorded as part of the series One People, Many Stories, produced by the Jewish Community Library of Los Angeles, ListenUp radio, Johanna Cooper, and Abbie Phillips. Monsa Monster is supported, in part, by a grant from the City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs and also by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors through the Los Angeles County Arts Commission.