The Courage Club

The Courage Club

New Members Wanted

"COURAGE CLUB - NEW MEMBERS WANTED!"
That's what the sign might say,
If four very brave young boys,
Would write the words today.

Four boys started The Courage Club,
Four Jewish boys, alone.
Four boys without Their Moms or Dads,
So far away from home.

And now you are about to hear,
How the Courage Club was made.
Step back about two thousand years...
-- What's coming? A parade!?!

Nebuchadnezzar's soldiers,
Marched right into our land.
They marched in to conquer us.
This was no marching band!

Inside our Holy Temple,
They made an awful mess.
The gold and silver holy things -
They ran out with them - yes!

Our gold and silver vessels,
Were stolen right away.
Then they took people who were holy jewels,
On that very same day.

The king heard Jewish boys were smart,
And he wanted to see.
He chose four boys, and took each one.
Away from his family!

Who did Nebuchadnezzar take
From Eretz Yisroel?
Chananyah, Mishael, Azaryah,
And Daniel.

He took them very far away,
To his gigantic castle.
"O.K., now boys," he told them,
"Do not give me a hassle!"

"I am the king. I can give you
All of the best stuff.
If it is candy you'll want,
You'll get more than enough!"

"You just name it, and it's yours.
Eat chocolate bars for days!
All you really have to do
Is learn non-Jewish ways!"

The strawberry shortcake sure looked good,
With all that cream on top!
Three of the boys wanted a taste,
But Daniel shouted, "Stop!"

His three friends listened. Just in time.
They knew Daniel was right.
But, ooooh, they wanted those "goodies."
"Awwww - can't we have one bite?"

"Don't do it, guys!" yelled Daniel,
"Can't you see it's a test?
I'd also like to have some, but -
For
us - kosher is best!"

And they knew how the king would fume:
"You don't eat what I bring!?!?
But the four friends answered him:
"We just serve the King of Kings!"

Has somebody ever tried,
To make you do something wrong?
Then you must know just what it takes,
Not to go along.

It takes a lot of courage.
That's how the Club began.
Four boys who stood up to the king,
The most powerful man.

Next Nebuchadnezzar,
Made a statue, gold and tall.
His servants worked on it so long,
But it would always fall.

Then someone got this idea:
"I know how it will stand!
Use gold from the Jews' Temple.
Quick - give me a hand!"

Our holy golden vessels,
Went around the idol's feet.
It was a great big shame for us -
Right out there in the street!

Then Nebuchadnezzar,
Called each nation to see,
The golden image he had made,
The Jews - especially,

"O.K." he said, "Now ALL bow down.
Yes, Jews, this means you too."
Chananyah, Mishael, and Azaryah,
Did not know what to do.

Daniel, the leader of the Club,
This time was not there.
Should they defy the king again?
How could they ever dare?

"Whoever does not bow down
Will be thrown into a pit,
That will contain the BIGGEST,
HOTTEST FIRE ever lit!"

They heard loud music start to play.
The king said, "Drum roll, please!"
"O.K., now you three Jewish boys,
Get down there on your knees!"

They'd once been just regular boys,
But they weren't any longer.
They'd fought hard to gain courage,
And each test had made them stronger.

"We can't count on a miracle,
When they throw us in those flames,
But even if we burn in there,
We will do it just the same."

"All the other nations are watching,
And we want them all to say,
`Everyone bowed down,
Except for Israel on that day!’"

"NO! We will not bow down!
We won't give in, though you try,
To make us leave our Jewish ways,
NO! We would rather die!"

Great fire leaped out from the pit,
Killing all those near.
The three boys, chained, fell into flames.
(But we need have no fear.)

"WHAT'S GOING ON?!?" the king screamed.
What was it that he saw?
Inside the burning fire,
Were not three folks - but four!

An angel walked behind them.
The boys' chains had all melted.
The king declared, "Your G‑d's the One!
" And everybody felt it.

Not one boy had gotten burned.
This was called a Kiddush Hashem.
Today no one makes us bow down.
Can we have courage like them?

Today there still are idols,
Called by a different name.
We still need lots of courage,
Not to bow down just the same.

Yes, it takes A LOT of courage,
Not to get down on our knees,
Before non-Jewish images,
That are now found on - T.V.'s!

And what happened very long ago,
To four very special boys,
Started something. For when they were saved,
Then began a very strange noise.

"WWWWWWWWWWWWHHHHHHHHOOOOOOOOOOOOSH!"
A mighty wind went forth.
It knocked the statue down.
But then the wind kept blowing.
It blew right through the town.

And the wind that started blowing then,
Blew on and on somehow.
It blew on for two thousand years.
It is still blowing right now.

What is this wind? The wind of hope.
For all the dreams that shattered.
"Take courage," the wind whistles,
To all the Jews now scattered.

The wind is like G‑d's love for us.
It will never ever tire.
Once Jewish boys loved him so much,
That they would go through fire.

But what kept them alive?
The king thought surely they'd be dead.
They each had a secret weapon.
That's the part we have not said.

Inside every Jewish child,
There is a tiny spark.
This spark is sometimes all that's left,
When the world gets awfully dark.

But if that spark gets kindled,
The BIGGEST fire will appear.
That is stronger than all others.
No other fire can come near!

In those brave boys, GREAT fire burned.
From the spark with a small glow.
Each time we build up courage too,
That tiny spark will GROW!

"COURAGE CLUB - NEW MEMBERS WANTED!"
That's what the sign might say.
Those boys started The Courage Club,
We all can join today!

Bracha Goetz is the Harvard-educated author of several children’s books, including Remarkable Park, What Do You See in Your Neighborhood? and The Invisible Book. You can contact Bracha for presentations or questions here.
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19 Comments
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Bracha Goetz Baltimore August 3, 2017

Thank you so much, Daisy! If you want, you can meet my books on the Bracha Goetz Amazon Author Page. :) Reply

Daisy Ridley The set of Star Wars July 17, 2017

This stuff is awesome...even for a 25 year old! Reply

Kylo Ren The First Order January 21, 2017

Hey! Rey? Is that you down there in the comments? Reply

Rey The Resistance January 7, 2017

You're welcome!! Your welcome! Reply

Bracha Goetz Baltimore January 3, 2017

ThAnk you, Rey! Reply

Rey The Resistance December 31, 2016

BRAVE! These men were very brave!! Now I know I can be brave too, with G-d's help! Thank you for writing this! Reply

Bracha Goetz Baltimore August 23, 2016

Thank you, Bracha Leba! Reply

Bracha Leba Muchnik Oxnard, Ca August 22, 2016

Thank you! I loved this story! Reply

Bracha Goetz Baltimore October 27, 2015

Thank you so much for your great feedback! Reply

yehuda kohn October 27, 2015

this was so lovley and excitting too love yehuda kohn Reply

Ahuva albrecht July 12, 2013

Thank you So beautiful and meaningful, shabat shalom love Reply

mushka, chanale, mendel, rochel and levi Benchimol Buenos Aires, Argentina June 22, 2013

courage club We enjoy a lot this story.... we read it as a bed time story.. thanks a lot Reply

Mushka Brooklyn, NY January 22, 2012

AWESOME POEM! Thank you so very much Bracha for an exciting clear piece with a powerful message. Reply

Bracha Goetz Baltimore, MD September 13, 2011

Thank you! Thank you so much, Zalmy! May your home always be a Happiness Box! Reply

Zalmy Engel Adelaide, South Australia September 13, 2011

To Bracha Dear Bracha,
I have your book "The Happiness Box" in my house and I really, really like it!
It is nice that the boy who was so upset got his own box where he was 'not allowed' to be upset, only happy. So he thinks about things that make him happy! Reply

Bracha Goetz (Author) Baltimore, MD September 12, 2010

to Liat Bracha Good question! Daniel was not subjected to the test with fire (perhaps the Persians [Iranians] wanted to see if they could manage without him), although he was later subjected to a test in a den of lions. It was interesting that even without the strength of the leader of the "club" being present, the other three still had reached a great enough level of faith to withstand the fire! Reply

chaya mushkah greenberg shanghai, china via kids.tzivoshashem.org September 12, 2010

hmmmmm..... what happened to daniel at the end of the story? Reply

Michaela Dolamore Christchurch, New Zealand via kids.tzivoshashem.org November 4, 2009

The Courage Club This story/Poem is so inspirational and thought-out well, i love it! It teaches to be courageous, and that He is the one and only G-d. It is unique and amazing. Reply

Liat Bracha .K. Brooklyn, Ny May 20, 2009

the courage club very uniqe!!! You are a realy good poet/writer Reply