“Why don’t you tell me all about your machzor,” said Jolly Solly. “It does sound like a very valuable item”
Efraim Faigelbaum stopped playing with the toy duck his father had bought him. He liked it. It made a quack-quack-quack sound when you pushed a button. But now he looked up.
“Mr. Krank!” he said. He felt proud for saying the neighbor’s name correctly. At least in his opinion.
“You mean Mr. Krankowitz, I suppose,” said Mrs. Faigelbaum. “What about him?”
Efraim pointed in the direction of the old man’s house. Then Mrs. Faigelbaum heard it, too. The old man was shouting about robbers.
“I’d better check what’s going on,” she said.
Scooping up Efraim (and his precious duck), she hurried next door and rang the bell. Mr. Krankowitz appeared. He looked red and angry.
“It’s gone! he shouted, to Mrs. Faigelbaum’s astonishment. “I tell you, someone’s stolen it!”
“Um…what’s gone?” she asked.
“My Yom Kippur machzor, that’s what! The one I’ve been using for the past 50 years! What will I do this year?”
“Oh, dear,” said Mrs. Faigelbaum. “How awful!”
Then she paused. She thought about all the times the old man had yelled about burglars. And how the missing items had all turned up.
“Do you think maybe you put it away in a safe place last year?”
“Safe place? I’ve looked high and low, I tell you!”
Mr. Krankowitz was becoming more and more upset.
Then Mrs. Friedman arrived. “Can I help?” asked Mrs. Friedman.
“It’s Mr. Krankowitz’s machzor,” said Mrs. Faigelbaum. “It’s missing.”
“Oh my,” said Mrs. Friedman. “How upsetting. Mr. Krankowitz, can I ask you a few questions?”
“I suppose so,” he said.
Mrs. Friedman thought about Fishel and Faivish. They were always losing their stuff. Then they would accuse each other. As their mother, she had lots of experience tracking down missing items and restoring peace.
“I assume you used it last Yom Kippur?”
“When did you last see it?”
This was a question that often did the trick with Fishel and Faivish. But it only annoyed Mr. Krankowitz.
“If I knew that, it wouldn’t be lost, would it? Humph!”.
“Sorry, just trying to help,” Mrs. Friedman said. “Why don’t I call Jolly Solly? He’s sure to think of something. I’ll go right away.”
Mrs. Faigelbaum joined her. The two women hurried up the road, hoping the clown would be home. How glad they were when he answered the door, smiling all over his jolly face!
Within minutes, the clown was in Mr. Krankowitz’s house. No magic tricks would work in this case. Mr. Krankowitz’s machzor was one-of-a-kind, original, and irreplaceable.
The clown’s brain worked quickly. It was important first to reassure the old man.
“How upsetting,” he said. “Why don’t you sit down while I make you a nice cup of tea?”
He steered Mr. Krankowitz to his favorite armchair. Soon the old man was comfortably seated, a cup of tea in his hand.
“Why don’t you tell me all about your machzor,” said Jolly Solly. “It does sound like a very valuable item.”
“Valuable? You don’t know the half of it. Why, when I used it last year, the rabbi of my shul was very impressed. I took it to his house after Yom Kippur, so he could look at it properly. I told him he could keep it until next Yom Kippur.”
The old man’s eyes bulged.
“I told him…why, it must still be in the rabbi’s house! No wonder I couldn’t find it. Um…sorry about this.”
“Not at all. It’s perfectly understandable,” responded the clown. “Would you like me to pick it up from the rabbi’s house?”
“No, it’s all coming back to me. He’s bringing it to shul before Yom Kippur, and leaving it at my place.”
Mrs. Faigelbaum and Mrs. Friedman smiled at each other in relief.
Efraim gave his duck a happy squeeze.
(Originally featured in Mishpacha Jr., Issue 930)
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