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Miri tells the story of a neshamah that came down to earth to shine light, but got into big trouble instead—and how a shofar rescued the neshamah from despair.

Big Trouble Meets Small Shofar

Big Trouble Meets Small Shofar

by Miri

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Big Trouble Meets Small Shofar: by Miri

Miri tells the story of a neshamah that came down to earth to shine light, but got into big trouble instead—and how a shofar rescued the neshamah from despair.
Shofar, Teshuvah, Shattering of the Vessels (Shevirat HaKeilim), Tohu & Tikkun

What’s a nice neshamah like that doing in a nasty place like this? Why does a really nice G‑d send a poor innocent neshamah down into the world, knowing full well how messed up she’s going to get? She’s got a one-in-a-million chance of coming out unscathed. Even if she is successful and manages to do some mitzvahs in the end, look at the collateral damage incurred. I mean, is it really worth it?

Must be. Otherwise we wouldn’t be here, right? And the hero of our story is a case in point. Look at what he accomplished. If he had just stayed good and nice his whole life, well, that would have been good and nice. But there’s no way he would be doing mitzvahs with the hyper-energy he’s putting into them now. And where did all that energy come from? From biking, partying, and all the other big-trouble stuff. That’s a kind of energy you just don’t get out of being nice. Only that now all that Big Trouble energy is being channeled into making the world a beautiful place.

In Kabbalah lingo, we call this rescuing the sparks from Tohu. Tohu, you’ll recall from World Puzzle, is that ideal but impossible world that exists before our world can happen. Because everything there is so absolutely ideal, it all shatters and the sparks fall downward. The highest, most powerful sparks fall to the lowest places—like Big Trouble Land. Nice people who are nice their whole lives can’t get to those sparks. Only bikers and other troublemakers who are running away from their neshamahs can get there. Then, when they turn around and break out of the Other Side, they bring all those hyper-sparks with them, reconnecting them back to their power generator in Tohu, and converting them into super-dynamos for healing the planet.

More on Tohu at Fallen Sparks and Tohu Wars.


A few notes about how Big Trouble Meets Small Shofar was made. Although it may look small, this was undoubtedly our biggest project to date. Miri (Nitzeves Freeman) practiced her part for a week or so. She doesn’t yet read, so I had to say the words and she repeated them after me. Then we cut out my voice and sewed hers together. But she sure put a lot of expression into it.

We had to decide whether the hero of the story would be a hero or a heroine. I had originally imagined a heroine, but Pilar pleaded that heroes are so much easier to stick-draw and animate. For that and other reasons, he became a guy. The biker idea came from Pilar, as did the final planet scene. I blew the shofar. We would really like to make this into a storybook. What do you think?

Pilar, anything to add?

Written and conceived by Tzvi Freeman. Rabbi Freeman is available for public speaking and workshops. Read more on his bio page.
Music by The Piamentas
Rabbi Infinity played by Andrew Torres
Animation and SFX by Pilar Newton of Pilar Toons
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A mother (and grandmother) Beautiful world September 18, 2016

Thank you Rabbi Freeman Absolutely amazing! I was so deeply touched by this. I keep coming back to watch it again!
Kesiva Vechasima Tova leShana Tova Umesuka! Reply

A mother (and grandmother) Beautiful world September 18, 2016

Thank you Rabbi Freeman Absolutely amazing! I was so deeply touched by this. I keep coming back to watch it again!
Kesiva Vechasima Tova leShana Tova Umesuka! Reply

Anonymous Los Angeles September 2, 2015

Thank You Though I am no longer a child, the message of joy that your little neshamah just gave me was so greatly appreciated. The story, animation and narration perfectly capture the true essence of what it means to be human, to dwell on this earth, our purpose, and our relationship with each other and with G-d and in such simple and innately understandable terms. Everyone should watch this to be inspired for the High Holidays. Best Regards, David Reply

Anonymous BC Canada via centreforjudaism.ca August 18, 2015

Tamim Tihyeh . . . Like the sound of the shofar itself, the sweet and simplistic purity of this presentation makes it so profound and moving. This, I think, rates as one of your best--even though all of your presentations are a cut above. This speaks to the heart of every and any person's heart, any age and any background (you just might want to flash the translation of some words like "neshama.").

Kesiva vachasima tova Reply

cydank melbourne, australia September 25, 2011

Little Neshamaleh Gorgeous, just loved it. Watched it twice. Your daughter has such purity in her voice, loved that too. Much hatzlocha. Kesiva and Chasima Tova. Reply

Mordi wisc September 25, 2011

good one ! Where there is a will there is a way. Right time of the year for this one. It is delightful and entertaining. Besides that, the little girl's voice is about as powerful as any i've listened to on the topic of the Nashuma.

Thanks. Reply

jewishgirl brooklyn, ny September 23, 2011

loved it all i can say was this actually made me cry! it was so sweet and pure and so so simple! Reply

Carmen September 21, 2011

This toon is... Moving. Reply

MIMI OELOFSE JEFRFREYS BAY, R S A September 9, 2010

SHOFAR SO GOOD I LOVED IT!!! Reply

Ryan Jones Cape Town, South Africa September 8, 2010

Grade 9A Herzlia Middle School - Cape Town Dear Rabbi Freeman

We really feel inspired by this presentation and it has made us think a little more about what our purpose is in this universe!

May you be inscribed and sealed for a good year! Reply

Alex Gutt Aventura, Fl August 16, 2010

Beautiful Rabi Freeman:
This is beautiful! You give the Rebbe such nachas. Its amazing!! Reply

Shahid August 15, 2010

I can relate! "The highest, most powerful sparks fall to the lowest places—like Big Trouble Land."

I can relate to this. Beautiful presentation!

Thanks & Regards. Reply

Yvonne Edmonton, Canada September 25, 2009

Neshama from a family who have alot to learn, who don't have much Hebrew in our lives yet and a few young kids. I wondered if you could have an interactive glossary so the kids and parents alike can learn the vocabulary. Love the stories.. please keep them coming. Multi media works wonderfully for this generation. I would love to have stories and learning for my children to put on their ipods.. they listen to them in their rooms at night.. this would be a lovely way to let them slip into rest at night and learn more about G-d. thanks again for all you do, may G-d reward you for your care in spreading the light. Reply

Celine Bennett Elliot Lake, Canada Ontario September 25, 2009

Wonderful! There isn't enough good children books. Books that are mainly intellectual void of any comforting substance like inspiring faith, hope and sense of mission/purpose, leaves one empty. Please, go ahead! Reply

Anonymous chicago, IL via chabadillinois.com September 18, 2009

make it a book Nice job explaining the neshama's mission. Please make this into a book, I would send it to everyone I know, young and old. Reply

Pilar Newton Brooklyn, ny September 18, 2009

"What is a Neshama?" To Kool: Watch the "Nekudot" episode it explains what the Neshama is. We are all slabs of meat until the Neshama breaths life into us. Watch it, it'd the episode before last. Enjoy and Shana Tovah! Reply

Rabbi Infinity September 18, 2009

Re; Nishema It's better spelled "neshama". It means a breath--in this case, G-d's breath. And we all have it inside. G-d breathing inside of you. Reply

Carol Dempsey St Petersburg, Fl September 17, 2009

Storybook?! Sign me up! I want the first signed copy from Miri and of course Tzvi. I want to give it to my four year old granddaughter. She will ask me to read it every time she sees her grand ma.
Thanks and may G-d continue to bless all of you.
Joy Reply

Kool September 17, 2009

Nishema What is a Nishema? Reply

Carmen September 14, 2009

For a children's storybook, I particularly prefer characteres more human like, not so stylized.
When I was child, I always skipped other kinds and prefered stories with people looking more like me and my fellows (still today I do( :-)
Also, I like Rabbi's Tzvi first idea about making a girl in trouble. Unfortunately, Jewish girls also go in troubles sometimes.
A CD with Miri telling the stories, acompaning the book, would be very nice, for the moments when mothers, fathers and siblings can't read the story for the children. Reply