The Scroll and the Lamp

[Written for the children of the Congregation Mikveh Israel Religious School. Unfamiliar words are explained in the glossary.]

The Scroll and the Lamp


A. D. Corré



It was after dark one night in the Synagogue. The Congregation had left many hours before, and all was quiet and peaceful. The only light in the Synagogue came from the twinkle of the stars in the heavens above, and the yellow gleam of the perpetual lamp burning in front of the Ark. Slowly the doors of the Ark opened. It was time for the Scroll and the Lamp to have their evening chat.


I am the Scroll of the Law.
In me the Hazzan reads.
He reads to the Congregation
And tells them all their needs.
I was given to the Children of Israel
With wonders on Mount Sinai.
I sustain them in their troubles,
That no one can deny.
There's a lot to decorate me --
A cloak of velvet red,
A breastplate of silver pure,
And bells upon my head.
I'm the Eternal Lamp.
Mr. Tamid is my name,
Because I burn continually,
Nothing puts out my flame.
God's love is with us always.
I always burn, you see,
To show you that God loves us,
All of us, you and me.
I am filled with olive oil
To give a pure light.
Every week they fill me
To keep my flame all bright.
Every night we have a chat.
Talk about this and that
Every night we have our say
About what happened during the day.
(Turning to Scroll)
How are you Mr. Scroll?
What's the news today?
How are you feeling, Mr. Scroll?
Tell me right away!
The year is getting old,
Every week I'm rolled.
Soon I shall have nothing more to say.
But then they'll roll me back.
No story will I lack.
Again I'll tell it, as I did today.
How are you, Mr. Lamp?
My oil is going down,
Down and down and down.
In point of fact, I'm feeling very low.
My light is getting dimmer.
My flame is getting slimmer.
Give me some oil or OUT I'll have to go!

You know, Mr. Lamp, without wishing to appear rude, I must say that it wouldn't make much difference if you did go out. No one sees you anyway.


You think because I'm small
That I don't matter at all.
It isn't true.
It positively isn't true.
It absolutely isn't true.
I am small, but my lesson is great. Don't you remember what I said before?
I'm the Eternal Lamp.
Mr. Tamid is my name,
Because I burn ...
SCROLL (interrupting him)

Yes, we know about that. But I still think I am more important. Who is this coming?

(Enter Kiddush Cup)


I am the cup for Kiddush.
In me they pour the wine,
And give it to all the family
On Sabbath before they dine.
And when the Sabbath is over,
The Habdaláh I recite,
And on the Passover eve
Four times I grace the night.
At weddings I am there.
I join the couple together.
To share their lives in joy,
Never mind the weather!
Oh, I am terribly important!
(Enter two Omer Calendars)
We are the Omer brothers.
We never quarrel or fight.
We tell the people the time
When Shabuot comes, all right.
We always agree on the date --
We never disagree.
If we say it's eight, it's eight.
If we say it's three, it's three.
We see that the people remember
To count as the days go by,
From the Passover festival
Until Shabu&oacutet draws nigh.
How important we are!
(Enter the Menorah)
I am the Hanucáh lamp,
Some call me the menorah.
I tell the story of the Maccabees,
Mattathias and Judah.
How important I am!
(Enter the Megilláh)
I am the Megill&aacuteh.
The story of Esther I tell,
Of how the Jews were saved,
And Haman was sent to -- the gallows.
How important I am!
(Enter the Lulabim)
We are the Lulabim.
On Succ&oacutet we wave our head.
They carry us in procession
With solemn and formal tread.
How important we are!
(Enter the Besamim Box)
I am the Besamim,
Full of smell so sweet,
I usher the Sabbath out
A good new week to greet.
How important I am!

So all the objects in the Synagogue thought that they were the most important. They all got very excited. Listen to what the Omer Calendars are saying.


Brother, your number isn't right.
It is not twenty-three tonight!
Brother, your number is the one that is wrong.
It hasn't been twenty for three nights long.

Actually it was the twenty-fifth night, so you can see how upset they were.


We want to know who is the most important! Who will tell us who is the most important?


I have a friend, a very dear friend,
Who points out everything to me.
He knows all the answers.
A sterling fellow is he.
Let Mr. Pointer decide
Who has right on his side.
(Enter Pointer)
I am the pointer.
I point. (He points.)
My Hebrew name is Yad, because I have a hand in everything. And now as to your question.
You are all wrong.
You are positively wrong.
You are absolutely wrong.
Imagine that none of these human beings came to Synagogue.
The Tor&aacuteh would have no one to teach.
The Rabbi would have no one to whom to preach.
The Lamp would have no one on whom to shine.
The Kiddush Cup would have no one to give his wine.
The Hanucáh Lamp would gleam in vain.
The Megilláh might as well be in Spain.
The same thing goes for the Besamim.
And it's no different for the Lulabim.
The PEOPLE are the most important thing.
Without them we can do nothing.

You are right. The people are the most important thing in the synagogue.


I have a motion.


What is it?

MEGILLAH (pompously)

WHEREAS it is very important for our work to have a good congregation in the synagogue; and
WHEREAS we believe that we have much to offer to the people who attend synagogue;
that the Rabbi of the synagogue be asked to write a play to tell the children and their parents how we feel about this, and to encourage them to come to synagogue regularly.


I could not refuse a request like that, could I?

Go back to the First Story.
Go back to the Home Page.