Much, Much Better

Chaim Kosof­sky; Jes­si­ca Shiff­man, illus.
  • Review
By – December 19, 2011

Each week Miri­am and Shlo­mo wel­come guests to their home for Shab­bat, but this week none can be found. They search and wait until an old man final­ly appears at their door. At the end of the Shab­bat meal, their guest offers a bless­ing to make their home much, much bet­ter,” sug­gest­ing a stained table­cloth, books out of place, and crumbs on the floor! 

After many months, Miri­am and Shlo­mo have a baby boy. One Fri­day after­noon, as baby Yitzchak learns to crawl, he pulls on the Shab­bat table­cloth spilling the wine, tugs a sid­dur off the book­shelf and eats some of the warm, soft bread. At that moment, the same mys­te­ri­ous old man comes to join them for Shab­bat, and he sees that his bless­ing has come true. Miri­am and Shlo­mo acknowl­edge that their home is much, much bet­ter with Yitzchak in it, who will one day wel­come guests of his own to the Shab­bat table.

This sto­ry takes place in ancient Bagh­dad, and the illus­tra­tions in the book depict the Sephardic set­ting, with head cov­er­ings on the char­ac­ters, ornate­ly dec­o­rat­ed win­dows and homes dec­o­rat­ed with bright rugs and tapes­tries. Even the bread is flat and round. The author helps read­ers fur­ther under­stand by pro­vid­ing a glos­sary of terms for Hebrew words used in the book. 

This adap­ta­tion of folk­lore about Eliyahu HaNavi teach­es that invit­ing oth­ers into your home enrich­es your life and theirs — whether it’s a Shab­bat guest or a new baby in your fam­i­ly. Ages 4 – 8.

Read­ing Guide

Rachel Ros­ner is the Direc­tor of the Jew­ish Book Fes­ti­val in Rochester, NY. She also runs Jew­ish Fam­i­ly Pro­grams for the JCC, and has worked there since 1994. She holds a degree in Ear­ly Child­hood Edu­ca­tion from Syra­cuse University.

Discussion Questions