How wrong had he been. Mr. Greenbaum was anything but a silly old man. He was actually one of the most brilliant and wealthy people around
Yitzy took a deep breath as he stared at the apartment door before him.
He had passed this door thousands of times in his life. Never in his wildest dreams did he imagine that one day everything inside this apartment would belong to him.
Very slowly he lifted the key in his hand, and placed it gently into the lock. He could hear the gears inside the lock turning loudly as the key moved them. The lock opened.
Yitzy looked up at his parents who were standing on either side of him. They both smiled and nodded.
“It’s okay, Yitzy,” said his father softly. “Open the door.”
Yitzy held his breath as he turned the knob and pushed. The door creaked loudly as it swung open.
At first, the three of them stood there motionlessly, staring into the apartment. The rays of the setting sun shone weakly through the slits of the dusty window blinds. Yitzy squinted into the dark room. He could see the familiar outline of the ancient furniture inside.
Rabbi Levinson reached inside, and flipped open the light switch. The three of them slowly made their way into the apartment.
The memory of the last time he had been in this apartment came flooding into Yitzy’s mind. This was the place where Yitzy had held his first real conversation with his old neighbor. This was where Yitzy had told him about the Mishnayos competition.
Yitzy’s thoughts were interrupted by his father’s words.
“Look around, Yitzy,” he said. “Mr. Greenbaum wants everything in this room to belong to you.”
“Oh, my goodness,” said Mrs. Levinson. “We barely have enough room in our apartment for the furniture we have now. Where on earth will we put Mr. Greenbaum’s old furniture?”
“Don’t worry,” answered Rabbi Levinson. “I spoke to Mr. Greenbaum privately. He told me we can do whatever we like with his old furniture. The only thing he wants to make sure we keep is his couch, and the lamps beside them. He says it is very important to him that we keep those treasures.”
Mrs. Levinson breathed a sigh of relief. The couch and lamps didn’t look like treasures to her, but keeping those three items sounded a lot easier than keeping everything in the apartment. She walked over to get a closer look at the couch.
“I guess I could get used to an antique couch and lamps like these,” she said.
“I have a feeling that all the furniture in this house is antique,” said Rabbi Levinson. “In fact,” he continued, “Mr. Burtman was nice enough to volunteer to help us. He offered to help us move any of the things we want to move, and sell any of the things we want to sell.”
“That is so nice of Mr. Burtman,” said Mrs. Levinson. “I’m happy he agreed to come eat with us this Shabbos as well.”
Yitzy was hardly listening to his parents’ conversation. He was too busy remembering how silly he had thought Mr. Greenbaum was when he called the things in his apartment his treasures. He had laughed inside when the old man said how worried he was about people trying to steal these treasures. How wrong had he been. Mr. Greenbaum was anything but a silly old man. He was actually one of the most brilliant and wealthy people around.
(Excerpted from Mishpacha Jr., Issue 777)