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Win or Lose: Chapter 12

Chaim Finkelstein

“It’s incredible that after all these years of not speaking to us, Mr. Greenbaum will actually be sitting at our Shabbos table”

Wednesday, February 06, 2019




s he walked home from shul on Friday night, Yitzy’s mind was racing. On one hand, he was very happy. The Levinsons had been neighbors with Mr. Greenbaum for a long time and never once had he joined them for a Shabbos meal. On the other hand, the old man could be very grumpy. Would he ruin their Shabbos seudah by acting that way?
Yitzy looked up at his father. “I can’t believe that Mr. Greenbaum is coming,” he said. 
Rabbi Levinson smiled. “I can’t believe it either,” he agreed. “It’s incredible that after all these years of not speaking to us, Mr. Greenbaum will actually be sitting at our Shabbos table. I hope he enjoys himself and decides to keep coming back.”
Yitzy thought about his father’s words. Rabbi Levinson had called a family meeting the night before and urged everyone, even the little twins, to be extremely nice to their guest. It was important that Mr. Greenbaum have a pleasant time in their house.
When they walked into the Levinson apartment, Yitzy stopped to enjoy the scene.
Their small apartment looked so cozy and warm. The table was set beautifully and was lit up by the warm glow of his mother’s Shabbos candles. Many delicious smells filled the house, making his mouth water. Friday night was definitely Yitzy’s favorite time of the week. 
Suddenly, he realized that something was missing.
“Where’s Mr. Greenbaum?” he asked nervously.
“Don’t worry, Yitzy,” said his father. “Remember, Mr. Greenbaum walks slowly.”
“Oh, okay,” answered Yitzy. “I just hope he doesn’t change his mind about coming. He really didn’t look very happy when we invited him.”
“That is true,” agreed his father, “but, Mr. Greenbaum is a very honest person. If he told us he was coming, he will certainly come.”
Just then, there was a soft knocking at the door. 
“Mr. Greenbaum!” cried Yitzy.
Rabbi Levinson quickly walked to the door and opened it. When the door was open, the Levinson family was happy to see Mr. Greenbaum standing at their doorway. 
“Good Shabbos, Mr. Greenbaum,” said Yitzy’s father as he shook the old man’s hand warmly.
“Good Shabbos,” answered Mr. Greenbaum as he looked around the room. Yitzy noticed that he didn’t look very happy.
Suddenly, three-year-old Shimshy and Shmully jumped out from under the table. They ran as fast as their chubby little legs could carry them straight toward Mr. Greenbaum.
“Shabbos guest! Shabbos guest!” they chanted over and over, as they danced in circles around their neighbor. 
Mrs. Levinson was afraid that they would knock the old man over. “Shimshy! Shmully!” she cried. “Stop that right now. You are being too wild.”
Mr. Greenbaum studied the two boys dancing around him with an amused look on his face. Suddenly, he burst out laughing. 
(Excerpted from Mishpacha Jr., Issue 747)

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