Gershon’s Monster is a Jewish tale retold by Eric Kimmel and illustrated by Jon J Muth.
Gershon is unkind to all he meets. He never says sorry or asks for forgiveness for his mistakes or wrongdoings. Instead, he’d sweep his thoughtless acts (portrayed by black little guys) into the cellar every week and once a year on Rosh Hashanah he’d dump them into the sea.
Of course, Gershon wants something: a child. He visits the tzaddik (a wonder rabbi) who tells him, “Be thankful for what you have.” But the tzaddik grants his wish since his wife is a good woman but with one caveat: they will not make it past age 5.
Gershon continues his reckless ways until his twins’ fifth birthday where the prophecy is put into motion. As the kids are playing at the seashore, an immense black monster swoops upon the children, a monster with all of Gershon’s misdeeds written on its side.
Finally, Gershon prays for the monster to take him instead of the children and for the first time in Gershon’s life he truly feels sorry for what he has done.
The monster retreats, Gershon scrubs his cellar, and begins to live a kind-hearted life.
This is a great tale of admitting wrong-doing, taking responsibility, and beginning the process of forgiving and healing and making amends.
I loved this story the first time I read it as did my kids. It shows how sins pile up if not properly reconciled through God. Great story of leading a good life.