HHooray! All the neighbors agreed! Reb Nissan bought black wallpaper, Yom Tov and Tulli got narrow boards from their Uncle Yonti that could serve as shelves, and Daddy volunteered our drill and himself as the driller.
Installing the shelves was hard work and very satisfying. When we finally finished, we started cleaning up. We poured pail after pail of soapy water and scrubbed the grimy floor until it gleamed. At last our little museum was clean.
Then Reb Nissan brought the large box from his apartment. With trembling hands he opened it and took out the precious items, placing each one gently in its place. A dreidel here, a grogger there, a menorah nearby. Another dreidel on another shelf, a spicebox tower next to it. At first I didn’t get it — why not put all the items of the same kind together? But then I realized he was arranging them according to materials — glass, wood, metal — and within each group, by color. The result was spectacular! I felt like I could gaze endlessly at all the intricate details that made up those works of art.
“It’s an aesthetic experience, like you said, isn’t it, Reb Nissan?” I tried to express what I was feeling.
“Yes, an aesthetic experience.” He clapped me on the shoulder. “Exactly! And now many more children can come here and view the exhibition, and all thanks to you, dear boys.”
“We have to plan how to organize it, so they can come and see.” Yom Tov looked at me expectantly. “Bentzi, what should we do?”
“Umm ...” I tried to think quickly. What indeed? “We have to put up notices announcing the opening of the museum and saying what the visiting hours are. And one of us will have to be here during visiting hours, to watch over the collection, right, Reb Nissan? We have to make sure nobody touches the exhibits, and besides, we can’t leave the museum open without someone in charge.”
“Of course not!” Reb Nissan looked shocked at the very idea. “We have to watch over the collection. But you needn’t worry about that. You’ve already done more than enough. We can limit visiting hours to just a few weekly, and I’ll be here myself during those hours.”
“But we want to help you!” declared Tulli, lifting his gaze from a menorah shaped like an eight-piece puzzle. “And that way you can open the museum for longer hours.”
“Yes, that would be a good idea, at least at first,” I agreed. “Lots of kids will come while it’s still a new attraction. We can help keep order, make sure everyone keeps their hands off the exhibits, collect the entrance fees—”
“Entrance fees?” Again Reb Nissan sounded shocked.
“Not a lot of money, I only meant a token fee, just so kids will take this seriously.”
“No! I don’t take money for viewing my collection. I just want it to bring more beauty and joy to the world.”
(Excerpted from Mishpacha Jr., Issue 746)
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