I arrived first, and helped Yom Tov set out rice cakes and carrot sticks. Yoel got there as soon as we had finished.

“Let’s wait for Tulli,” I said, trying to postpone the moment when I would have to admit I hadn’t come up with any idea, and everyone would look shamefaced and admit they hadn’t either. I already knew they hadn’t. I saw it in Yom Tov’s and Yoel’s eyes.

We were chewing carrot sticks in silence [That’s impossible! Okay, okay, I know you meant without talking. Batya] when the door flew open and Tulli burst in, all excited. “Sorry I’m late, did you start yet?”

“No, we were waiting for you.”

“Good, so listen, we can have it at our house!”

“What can we have at your house?”

“Reb Nissan’s collection. We can put up shelves and display it properly,” Tulli explained. “Our house is really big, and we have a room that’s hardly ever used since my brothers are away at yeshivah.”

“Are your parents okay with this plan?” I asked.

“I didn’t ask them yet, I only thought of it just now, on the way over. But I’m sure they’ll agree.”

“Terrific!” Yom Tov exclaimed.

“Yes, that’s great!” I breathed a sigh of relief. “We’ll come over to put up shelves, and to arrange the display—”

Yoel crumbled a piece of rice cake on his plate. “But there’s a problem. This won’t make Reb Nissan happy.”

“Why do you always look for problems?” asked Yom Tov.

“I don’t! I’m just pointing out the problems I can’t help seeing in this plan. It’s really nice of you, Tulli, but think, it will be as if the collection is yours instead of his. We’ll be taking his collection from him and moving it to another place, far away.”

“But—” I began, and stopped. Yoel was right.

“It is pretty far,” Tulli admitted reluctantly. “So how about your place, Bentzi? You’re his neighbor right in the same building!”

“Who, me?” I laughed. “Our apartment is even more crowded than his, my mother barely lets me collect marbles for lack of space….  And there’s no way the Judaica collection would survive a single day within reach of my little brothers.”

“Even if you did have enough room, it wouldn’t be right to move his collection to someone else’s house,” argued Yoel. “Even inside the same building, it’s like it becomes someone else’s property. We have to find a solution in his own house.”

“But that’s exactly the problem. There’s no room in his house,” Tulli reminded him.

“So that’s it, there’s no solution,” I concluded gloomily, at the same moment Yom Tov said hesitantly, “Uh… I have an idea.”


“Well, it’s not exactly a solution to the problem, but I have an idea that will please Reb Nissan and will also be fun for us!”

(Excerpted from Mishpacha Jr., Issue 742)