Admit it: The wolf in the children’s story “Little Red Riding Hood” is a very successful magician.

He could become a loving, responsible member of the animal kingdom residing in the forest neighborhood, or, when needed, his true, deceptive self could emerge right before his neighbors’ eyes, without them knowing it is happening.

When I was young, I am certain I read and reread this story over and over again. It is a fascinating tale to be sure. A bad guy, a good guy and someone to be saved.

The real lesson of the story never fully occurred to me until I was a mom. I would read this story to my girls, never once sharing with them the true lesson to learned, which was not so hidden within its pages. Watch out for the wolf dressed in a costume and made up to look human.

Not even when tragedy struck our chavurah (group of friends) in the worst possible way. Not even then! I wanted my girls to feel safe and free; I did not want them to worry about wolves in costumes.

Today, this children’s story scares the life force out of me. Do you have to ask why? Take a moment to give it some thought. I am certain bells and whistles will suddenly be ringing in your soul as you realize there are wolves in human clothing all around us — at your coffee shop, on the baseball fields, at the movie houses.

But how do we know? How can we be sure? How can we tell?

Try to explain the deception to our children without scaring them into a psychotic break. Our sweet innocent children.

How do we tell them that sometimes the wolf is not captured and punished, that Little Red Riding Hood might not be with us forever and that the good guys the wolf was pretending to be did not recognize that he was changing costumes and was not one of them?

And just when did humanity become a political football, where one team feels it should be the victors? Seriously? One team as victors?

I know you must be thinking, “What’s wrong with our Shaindle? Why is she so serious in her otherwise happy Shaindle’s Shpiel?”

Columbine, Sandy Hook, Virginia Tech, Umpqua Community College, Orlando.

Need I say more?

Notice there is no need to give an explanation of what these words mean or conjure up. We just invoke a word, and we know.

Balance! I must remember to balance.

A number of years ago I had the distinct honor of studying with Congregation Beth Jacob Rabbi Ilan Feldman. I remember so much of his teachings, but today I concentrate on balance. Balancing the goodness in our lives, which is in huge supply, with the evil, which will never outweigh the goodness.

When you finish reading this Shaindle’s Shpiel, take a long moment to consider all the balance in your life. On the one hand, I have my girls, their husbands, my grandchildren, my sisters, my cousins, my dear and true friends, and last but far from the least is the man who is my lifelong partner. Together we were blessed with children who treasure the balance, who are the bearers of goodness and kindness, and they will ensure this continues for generations to come.

On the other hand …