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Goldrush (standard:humor, 1063 words)
Author: GXDAdded: Sep 17 2007Views/Reads: 1861/1145Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)
The story of a teeny-weeny gold nugget and a melting chocolate cake


Thursday afternoon, just before Rosh Hashana, I parked the car and went
to pick up the big chocolate birthday cake.  The bakery was right next 
to the synagogue. I went to Hebrew school there forty years ago.  The 
day was hot for September, so when I set the box on the hot front seat, 
I hoped it wouldn't melt down before I got home. 

I dropped in at the Shul next door to have a word with the Rabbi.  As I
was leaving, a rather large gold leaf on his workbench caught my eye.  
It was as big as a manhole cover, thin as the foil on those delicious 
little chocolates.  I reached out to caress its hypnotic golden ripples 
when a firm hand clamped onto my wrist. 

Now we all knew the Rabbi used to be a jeweler and a goldsmith, so it
wasn't at all unusual that he was constantly adorning the fixtures in 
the Temple, the holy objects around the Torah, book jackets, anything 
he could lay his hands on. It was his hobby. But this leaf was 
unusually large, so I asked him, 

"Rabbi, tell me, this gold ...." 

He took my other arm and began telling me: 

"A member of the congregation, someone you don't know, came back from a
vacation in the Cascade mountains, way out west somewhere, near Canada 
-- no, near Alaska.  Well, anyway, he came back with a gold nugget and 
gave it to his son.  That was some big nugget -- enough to choke a cat 
-- and, naturally, he showed it to me first." 

"Naturally," I echoed. 

"His son, Michael, was maybe five.  I already saw him in Shul once or
twice.   You know kids, they've gotta taste everything, so down went 
the nugget.  They  shook him till his eyes rattled and half-drowned the 
kid with laxatives and  tomato juice for four days -- but no nugget.  
For some reason, the doctors wouldn't touch him and the family ended up 
here, begging for help. 

"Michael, poor creature, was too weak to cry anymore.  His parents were
hysterical.  The child was hungry, bedraggled, ready to faint or throw 
a fit.   I took him to the loft and put him to sleep.  'Go home,' I 
told the parents,  'Pray.  Come back for services tonight.'  Then I got 
a glass of milk and some gingerbread, sat down and thought about it." 

The Rabbi paused.  My watch said it was getting late and I had left the
chocolate cake on the car seat.  Was he going to make a sermon out of 
this story?  I had to know what happened.  Meanwhile, the Rabbi stood 
there, his arms crossed, a silly grin on his face.  A little tip of 
tongue peeked out of the corner of his mouth.  For an instant I had 
this wild notion he was tasting the chocolate cake.  But he went on: 

"I sat down and thought about it.  Poor Michael slept like a leaden
doorstop.   I took off his little shoes and socks, then wiped his tears 
with a damp rag.   Somewhere inside that product of God's grace was a 
solid gold nugget big enough  to choke a...." 

Bang! Doors slammed, bells rang, a herd of footsteps thundered down the
corridor.  Sunday School was over.  Boys and girls milled around us, 
caroming off the pews like billiard balls.  We stood the stampede, and 
when the last straggler was out the door, the Rabbi continued: 

"Where was I .... a gold nugget inside.  What I couldn't do with a
little nugget  like that.  Gilding the Dead Sea Commentaries, 
embellishing a couple of handles  on the Torah scroll, decorating the 
haggadahs, refreshing the big frame around  that portrait of Moses..." 
He pointed, "Even a very little nugget would make a  big sheet of gold. 
So what do you think I did next?" 

My blank mind expanded to fill his pause.  I heard a clock strike
somewhere up the street.  "Rabbi," I began.  "I can't say, but...." 

The Rabbi stepped a little closer.  He put one hand on my shoulder and
took my other hand in his.  I looked into his eyes, which were as jolly 
as any middle- aged Santa Claus.  He cocked his head, shaking his 

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