By Allison Cossman
When asking a Jewish child what his/her favorite holiday is, the answer is never Shavuot. Shavuot, the Jewish festival honoring the giving of the Torah at Mount Sinai, is often overlooked by children despite its commemoration of the pivotal event in Jewish history. Amongst the loud ruckus of Purim, the drama of the Passover Seder,and the present-laden festival of Chanukah, the more modest Shavuot gets cast aside.
Jewish writer and teacher Barb Rosenstock’s new children’s book, The Littlest Mountain (Kar-Ben Publishing, $17.95 hc; $7.95 pb; ages 3-8), will not only increase youngsters’ appreciation for Shavuot, but teach them a fundamental life lesson. The Littlest Mountain tells the story of Shavuot in a child-friendly manner with beautiful, heartfelt art by Melanie Hall.
When G-d realizes that the people of the world need rules to live by in order to have peace, he decides to speak to them from a mountaintop. Upon hearing of this, nearby mountains begin ferociously competing to become G-d’s chosen mountain. Vying for attention with good looks, impressive strength, and loud voices, these mountains let selfish desires to win surpass trust in G-d. One quiet, little mountain called Mount Sinai keeps his faith in the forefront by standing away from the superficial competition. Mount Sinai’s modesty and peacefulness proves that he trusts G-d, and is therefore deserving of being named the chosen mountain.
The story teaches children the importance of looking past surface traits, in favor of deeper meaning. Understanding this, children can begin to view themselves and others from the inside out. In a world polluted with materialism and vanity, the heartfelt message of The Littlest Mountain gives Jewish families a vital resource to help children stay grounded and aware of what is real.
Allison Cossman is an intern at Jewish Woman magazine.