There's a lot of ways one can play off the number 40. Certainly it is a number we have some familiarity with especially as we are in the midst of a 40 years Torah journey, survived 40 days of rain not only in Genesis but it feels like across America and beyond and enumerable age related forties as well. 40 is a milestone number.
But for our 40 I return to a notable story.
.......In days of yore and in times and tides long gone before, there dwelt in a certain town of Persia two brothers, one named Kasim and the other Ali Baba, who at their father's demise had divided the little wealth he had left to them with equitable division, and had lost no time in wasting and spending it all....
So begins the story of Ali Baba and the 40 Thieves as told by Sheherazade to save her life. One unfinished tale a night for 1001 nights. She finished the story the next day and started another. The stories and the storyteller so entranced the king that he did not, as he had previously to all wives before her, kill her so that she might tell him another story. Seems a small price to pay to keep your head on your shoulders. After 1001 nights her stories captured the king's heart as well and she became his beloved Queen.
Stories are magic and the telling and listening no matter the tale make for life changing experiences. A story read at night to children, a friend, an aged parent, a story curled up on the couch with wee ones on your lap or a story read on command by a two year old who says "Grandma, read!" then points to the floor and you sit and you read. Stories from books, from your heart and head make any occasion notable.
Tonight at the close of Shabbat I lost my head and always my heart when I read Ms. Romy two stories at her request. Granted it was pitch dark in her room and I can't read without cheaters anyway but I did and then I said I'd like to tell her a story from my heart. She said and I quote "OK". I told her the story of her and sang her to sleep with the Havdalah Niggun. As the eyes lowered and the sweet head got heavier I lifted her and put her in her bed. With visions of Elijah and her baby tucked close I wished for her and hers a sweet week, a week of peace and stories.
I wish the same to you. Tell someone you love a story - yours. Lose your head a little and your heart.