A Big Fish

This drawing my daughter did totally on her own. We both agreed it looks like a fish, so with her permission I decided this is a good chance to quote a bit from the book of Yonah (2:1)—

And the LORD prepared a great fish to swallow up Jonah; and Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights.

What was Yonah (Jonah) doing in that fish? Well, he didn’t listen to God, he tried to run away, ended up on a boat with a bunch of sailors, confessed to running from God, got thrown overboard, and got swallowed up by this fish. Luckily, prayer works, or it did for him, in any case, so he got saved. And he did what he was supposed to do in the first place, which was to go to Nineveh and tell them that they weren’t behaving themselves. The Nineveh folk luckily got the message and repented.

We read the book of Yonah in the afternoon on Yom Kippur. Why? Because it teaches us about repentance.

 Much more about Yonah at the Lookstein Center for Jewish Education

One excerpt:

It is also important for the students to understand that argument can and should be a positive concept. The Talmud is full of makhlokot [arguments] and through these discussions the halakha developed. Yonah’s argument with God, as we will see, was a makhloket leshem shamayim [an argument for the sake of God], and through it our understanding of God is increased.

I like the idea of teaching students the value of a good argument.

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15 thoughts on “A Big Fish

  • I love the drawing! The horizontal black lines near the front even seem to remind me of Yonah on his back with his feet pointed upwards. I’m reminded of a painted I did as a child, where a few random brush strokes somehow looked like the perfect Alef.
    Gmar Chasima Tova

  • I seem to remember (but have unfortunately no time to check) that Yonah was vexed because he felt he had always been a good man and could not understand why God was ready to forgive the people of Nineveh who had sinned much more than him, hence his reluctace to deliver God’s message to them.

  • Ilana-Davita,
    I just found this Yonah source on http://www.613.org
    which says about chapter 4:
    In the course of this chapter, Yonah expresses many strong emotions: intense anger over the favorable fate of Ninveh, to the point of not wanting to live himself; joy over a plant, and then the depths of despair, to the point of again requesting death when the plant dies. These reactions reflect the fickleness of man, and the idea that man has no right to demand that the world be run according to his limited understanding. (Rav Yedid, Mikra Kodesh)

    Is that what you mean?

  • Mottel, yeah, I don’t think she intended to draw Yonah, but I see his black legs and feet pointed up, too. I think Yonah has some baby fish for company in there, too.

  • First of all very cool drawing your daughter made!
    looks like a whole bunch of fishes in one fish.
    What do the letters IE stand for?

    and I like that lesson, that an argument L’Shem Shamayim can be a good one, and that it teaches us something.

  • I’ve gotten pretty good at repentance since I’m a regular sinner.

    No but seriously, I did see Jonah in that whale, in his green shirt and black pants, smiling adn reclining.

    have a blessed day

    And thanks for this reminder that God is now and ever shall be the Boss.

    Jannie (still need to get that avatar up and running, don’t I ?!)

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