The Love Feast
Medieval Jewish story, A Chosen Faith (Boston: Beacon Press, 1998).
A rabbi spoke with God about heaven and hell. "I will show you hell," God said, and they went into a room which had a large pot of stew in the middle. The smell was delicious, but around the pot sat people who were famished and desperate. All were holding spoons with very long handles which reached to the pot, but because the handles of the spoons were longer than their arms, it was impossible to get the stew back into their mouths. "Now I will show you heaven," God said, and they went into an identical room. There was a similar pot of stew, and the people had identical spoons, but they were well nourished and happy. "It's simple," God said. "You see, they have learned to feed one another."