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Win or Lose: Chapter 6

Chaim Finkelstein

Zev stuck his head into the room. “Um… Mommy… Tatty… Do you remember the vase full of flowers that used to be on the dining room table?”

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

“But Mr. Greenbaum,” said Rabbi Levinson, “you’re in pain. We can’t just leave you here all by yourself.”

Mr. Greenbaum’s face turned red and he began to shout. “I’ve been living in this apartment for the last 60 years without any help. I’m not about to start asking for help now. I meant what I said. If you don’t leave, I will call the police and they will make you leave.”

The apartment grew silent.

Terrified, Yitzy looked up at his father. Rabbi Levinson wasn’t moving. It was obvious that he was thinking about what to do next.

Suddenly, the quiet was broken. “Who wants chicken soup?” a familiar voice called out.

All heads swung toward the apartment door. It had been left open, and now, in walked Mrs. Levinson. She was wearing her apron and cooking mitts. In her hands was a large bowl of delicious-smelling chicken soup.

Mr. Greenbaum’s mouth hung open in shock. Mrs. Levinson smiled at him. “I was looking out the kitchen window and saw what happened. I figured that you might need some chicken soup to make you feel better.”

Mr. Greenbaum did not look happy. “Please, Mr. Greenbaum,” Mrs. Levinson pleaded, “I made way too much soup today. I hate having leftovers. It would be a big help to me if you would have some.”

Mr. Greenbaum didn’t answer. He didn’t know what to say.

“Oh, Mr. Greenbaum,” said Mrs. Levinson. “Thank you so much for agreeing to eat my soup.” She put down a small towel on the coffee table in front of Mr. Greenbaum. Then she gently placed the bowl of soup down on it.

“Here,” she said. “Please eat it while it’s still hot.”

Mr. Greenbaum didn’t answer. His eyes swung from Mrs. Levinson to the bowl of soup before him, then back to Mrs. Levinson. Slowly, he reached for the spoon.

Suddenly, a piercing cry filled the air.

“MOMMY!”

Once again, all heads turned to the apartment door.

Yitzy’s eight-year-old sister Dassy was standing in the doorway. Her face was red and her hair was a mess.

“Mommy,” Dassy began. But she didn’t have a chance to finish her sentence because just then, the sound of breaking glass echoed through the hallway.

“What’s going on?” asked a horrified Mrs. Levinson.

“It’s the twins!” said Dassy. “They’re trying to climb onto the table, but they’re knocking over everything in sight!”

There was another crash. Zev stuck his head into the room. “Um… Mommy… Tatty… Do you remember the vase full of flowers that used to be on the dining room table?”

Both Rabbi and Mrs. Levinson answered at the same time. “Used to be?” they said. They both began running.

Rabbi Levinson stopped at the door and turned back to Mr. Greenbaum.

“I’m sorry, Mr. Greenbaum,” he stammered. “Our three-year-old twins can sometimes get into a little trouble.” He turned to his son. “Yitzy, please stay here and keep Mr. Greenbaum company for a while. Okay?”

Yitzy looked at the old man. He really didn’t seem so scary anymore.

“Okay,” he answered quietly.

“Thank you, Yitzy,” his father said. “I’ll be back as soon as I can.”

Crash!

(Excerpted from Mishpacha Jr., Issue 741)

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