| Jolly Solly |

Think Fast!

“Look here, it’s Tishah B’Av. Let’s not fight. Why don’t we do acts of kindness instead?”


was Tishah B’Av afternoon. Mr. and Mrs. Friedman were upstairs resting from the fast.

“Imagine not eating for a whole day!” observed Fishel with a shiver.

“I know,” replied Faivish. He had just finished eating a giant triple-decker sandwich; he always felt extra hungry on fast days. “I don’t know how I’ll ever manage to fast when I’m older.”

“Well, we’ve got ages until our bar mitzvah.”

“It’s not ages. It’s just a few years.”

“Exactly. That is ages.”



Faivish held up his hand.

“Look here, it’s Tishah B’Av. Let’s not fight. Why don’t we do acts of kindness instead? You know, like we learned in school. Helping to build the Beis Hamikdash and so on.”

Fishel shrugged. “Okay. But what should we do?”

Silently, the two thought deeply.

“I know what! There are some dishes in the sink from last night. I’ll wash them, and make Mommy a surprise,” declared Fishel.

“Great! And I’ll weed the flowerbed in the backyard,” said Faivish. “I heard Daddy say it needs weeding.”

Fishel and Faivish got to work.

Fishel slipped on a pair of rubber gloves. He filled the sink with water, squirting lots of dishwashing liquid inside. He’d never washed dishes before, and wasn’t sure exactly how you did it. He supposed this was as good a way as any. The dish soap was an interesting green color. He spent some time experimenting with it. He wanted to see how much soap it would take to turn all the water green. He found a ladle, and used it to swirl the water around. The water began to bubble and foam. From the window, Fishel could see Faivish working on the flowerbed. He decided he’d better get on with his own job. He was glad there were only a few dishes.

He started washing a plate, only to stop in dismay. Oh, no! The foam in the sink was growing. It was swelling like a live thing. It got bigger and bigger. Plop! It overflowed onto the floor. Fishel ran to grab a towel, but by the time he got back, there was a sea of foam covering the floor. Frantically, he tried to mop it up, only to slip. He managed to grab hold of a nearby door to stop his fall. The door slammed shut with a bang.

Meanwhile, Faivish was pulling out weeds. He was glad to see there weren’t too many. He went to get a trowel, a small spade his father used to dig out stubborn weeds. After working for a while, he dumped the trowel to the side, and started carrying the dead weeds to the trash heap in the corner.

Faivish was eager to finish, and forgot to look where he was going. Oops! He tripped over the trowel. It flew off and landed on the garden path with a clatter. Faivish almost went head over heels, catching himself just in time.

From upstairs, there came a yell from Mr. Friedman.

“What’s all that banging and clattering? Can’t a person get some rest on a fast day?”

Fishel, frantically mopping the kitchen floor, called up, “Sorry! It was a mistake.”

Faivish, desperately collecting the cut weeds that had dropped all over the place, called up, “Yeah! Sorry!”

The brothers worked feverishly, sweat pouring down their faces. How they wished Jolly Solly were there with one of his marvelous cleanup machines. Unfortunately for them, the clown was away in Honolulu, helping out in a hospital.

They heard their mother’s footsteps coming down the stairs. Finishing just in the nick of time, they quickly adopted a relaxed, carefree air.

“How lovely, boys! You’ve washed the dishes,” said Mrs. Friedman. “And I can see from the window that you’ve weeded the flowerbed. Well, there wasn’t much to do, so I’m sure it didn’t take too long. And now you’re relaxing. I’m so glad you’re having a restful time, boys.”

Fishel and Faivish carefully avoided looking at each other. For their mother’s peace of mind — on a fast day, yet — it was surely best that she find out as little as possible about their adventures.

“Yes, Mommy,” they replied meekly.


(Originally featured in Mishpacha Jr., Issue 922)

Oops! We could not locate your form.