| Story Supplement |

The Shortcut

All Ezzy had to do was give each pot a quick rinse. How hard could that be?

Ezzy Danberg looked at his watch.

“Oh,” he thought to himself. “It’s almost time to pick my job.”

Every year, before Pesach, the Danberg family would meet in the kitchen, and each family member would pick a crumpled paper out of an old goldfish bowl. On each paper was written a different Pesach cleaning job.

Ezzy thought back to the year before, when he and his two brothers had been given the job of cleaning out their minivan.

The Danberg family spent a lot of time in their minivan. Although they tried to clean it from time to time, a lot of crumbs, pizza crusts, and wrappers inevitably piled up on the floor of the car. The boys had divided up the job: Ezzy would sweep out all the large crumbs and wrappers, then his brothers would come and do all the rest.

Ezzy, as usual, had figured out a shortcut. Why work hard putting the garbage into bags? He simply took a large broom and swept everything out of the car and onto the driveway. It was a very windy day, so as soon as the garbage hit the pavement, it was blown away by the wind. Ezzy imagined that many birds and squirrels had wonderful meals from the crumbs of the Danberg’s minivan.

For some reason, Rabbi Danberg was upset. He seemed to have seen some candy wrappers blowing down the street.

Ezzy had shrugged his shoulders. At least he’d gotten the job done. That had been a great shortcut. He hoped to find another shortcut today.

He quickly made his way to the kitchen and joined his family around the old goldfish bowl on the table.

Rabbi Danberg began to address his family. “Now remember,” he said, “Pesach cleaning is a big mitzvah. When it comes to doing mitzvos, the harder you work, the more reward you get.”

He suddenly stopped, and turned to face Ezzy. “Please,” he pleaded, “whatever job you pick today, try to do it right. Don’t take shortcuts. Just do the job right, even if you have to work a little harder.”


Rabbi Danberg paused and looked around at his family. “Ezzy,” he said, “since you were the last person to come to the kitchen, you will get the honor of picking the first job out of the bowl.”

All eyes turned to Ezzy as he walked over to the goldfish bowl and stuck his hand in. As he swirled the crumpled pieces of paper around, he davened that he would get a very easy job. Finally, he let his hand grasp one paper. He pulled it out and handed it to his father.

Rabbi Danberg opened the paper. “Hm,” he said, “you have been assigned the wonderful job of rinsing out the chometzdig fleishig pots before we pack them away for Yom Tov.” Rabbi Danberg smiled and patted his son on the back. “Mazel tov, Ezzy, on your new Pesach cleaning mitzvah. Good luck!”

“Thanks,” said Ezzy. As he took the piece of paper from his father’s hand, many thoughts swirled through his mind. On one hand, the Danberg family owned an awful lot of fleishig pots. This was not good news.

On the other hand, he would be cleaning out pots that were mostly clean already. All Ezzy had to do was give each pot a quick rinse and then dry it. How hard could that be?

Ezzy’s brain began to move faster than a train. He certainly did not want to spend an hour hunched over the sink, rinsing out pots. There had to be a quicker and easier way. He was sure of it.

Suddenly, Ezzy’s eyes lit up. A great idea had just popped into his head. He had thought of a way to wash the pots quickly and have fun doing it, too.

He made his way to the garage. He pushed his way past some old bikes to the back corner of the garage. It took him only a few seconds to find what he needed: an old wagon.

Ezzy didn’t know where this wagon had come from, but when he was younger he had played with it from time to time. The wagon was made to hook up to the back of a bike and had plenty of room in it to carry lots of pots.

He got to work right away, hooking the wagon to the back of his bike. Then he drove his bike over to the back door of his house, which was right near the kitchen. Five minutes later, all the pots and pans were sitting in the wagon.

Ezzy stood back and proudly looked at what he had done. It was true the wagon was a little overloaded, but he didn’t think it would matter. He wasn’t planning on driving that far.

Ezzy quickly put on his bike helmet and began pedaling down the driveway and then down the street. After riding for three blocks, Ezzy rode up to the entrance of Barkly State Park.

There before him flowed the Barkly River. It wasn’t a very big river, and at this point it was only a few inches deep.

“Perfect!” he thought to himself. “I don’t have to rinse out these pots. The river will do it for me.”

Ezzy took off his shoes and rolled up his pants. Then he stepped into the river, right beside the wagon. This should be easy, he thought to himself.

With a smile on his face, he reached for the first pot. It was a small one. He dunked it under the cold river water and swished his hand around inside.

“There,” he muttered to himself, “there can’t be any lose crumbs in this pot now. One pot down, only twenty more to go.”

He put the pot down on the grass beside the river. “This is going to be easy,” he chuckled to himself.

One by one, he dunked each pot into the fast-moving river. In only a few minutes, the last pot had been rinsed out.

Ezzy smiled happily to himself. This had been a great idea. The pots had all been rinsed in record time.

He laughed quietly to himself as he tossed the wet pots back into the wagon. He was sure he would find a quick and easy way to dry the pots when he got home. His family would be amazed at how quickly he’d got the job done.

Ezzy looked at his wagon. It was almost full. There was just one pot left sitting on the grass.

He picked up the pot and tossed it onto the wagon.

Uh oh. Ezzy had thrown the pot a little too hard. Before he knew what was happening, the wagon tipped over. Half the pots spilled out of the wagon and landed in the river.

Ezzy couldn’t believe his eyes. Ten of his family’s fleishig pots were floating down the river!

Ezzy jumped up and ran. He ran faster than he had ever run in his life. He had to catch up with his pots.

Twenty feet downriver he was able to catch up with the family’s cholent pot. He fished it out of the water and dumped it onto the grass.

There was no time to rest. Once again, he began to run. Next he fished out the chicken soup pot, dumped it on the grass, and began running once again.

Every few seconds Ezzy would grab a pot out of the water, dump it on the grass, and then take off again chasing the other pots. After a few minutes, he felt like his lungs were on fire. This was hard work. Finally, after what seemed like forever, he was able to fish out the very last pot.

“WHEW!” He wiped the sweat off his forehead and collapsed onto the grass to take a rest.

When he finally caught his breath, he looked up and sighed. He must have run a thousand feet while fishing the pots out. Now he would have to go back and gather all the pots together again.

Forty-five minutes later, a very exhausted Ezzy Danberg parked his bike beside the back door of his house.

He looked at the wet pile of pots sitting in his wagon. Oh no! They were full of mud, leaves, and all kinds of stuff from the river. Now he would have to really scrub them before he put them away for Pesach.

Poor Ezzy. When he was finally finished, he was totally exhausted. He couldn’t remember ever having worked so hard.

“Oy,” he groaned to himself. “That was the longest shortcut I ever took in my life. Next time I’ll listen to my father.”

(Originally featured in Mishpacha Jr., Issue 806)

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