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Broken Tablets

Broken Tablets

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"Welcome, welcome," Mr. Moshe Marsh said. "It's so nice that you have come, do please enter my humble abode." Sara and Ben were a little out of breath from the three flights of stairs, but they were eager and excited that they had finally got a chance to make this visit. Mrs. Marsh was there as well. "Here," she said, handing them some glasses, "have something to drink first and then my husband will show you some pictures."

Sara had been working on her art project for quite a while, getting more and more involved. One day her teacher told here that there was actually a well-known Jewish artist who lived right on her street. "Will he let me visit him?" was the first thing she had said. "This will be so amazing," she thought. "I will go with my brother Ben; he also likes art. It will be really cool!"

"What's that?" her brother's voice brought her out of her reverie, and she turned to look at what he was pointing at. "Why do you have these two pictures hanging on the wall next to each other, and why is one of them in such a nice frame and the other one just hanging there in a simple frame?"

"Well," the old artist said, "when I was young I was very full of myself. All my friends told me that I was very talented. I was sure that all I had to do was walk into a gallery with a few of my paintings and they would fall over themselves to have them on display."

"So is that what you did?" Ben couldn't help asking.

The artist smiled. "Yes, one day I went to a very well known gallery carrying this painting," he said pointing to the simply framed picture.

"And what happened?" asked Sara. She had been looking at the painting while he spoke. Compared with the other paintings on the walls of the apartment, this painting didn't look very interesting, she thought.

"The manager of the gallery laughed at me. I was very upset. But then, he sat down with me and talked to me about art, and suggested an art teacher who would help me. We hit it off together and that's how I really began painting."

"Whoa!" Ben was open-mouthed in shock that the manager of the gallery had laughed at him. But what surprised him more was why Mr. Marsh would want to hang the picture on his wall. Why would he want to remember such a sad part of his life? The painter understood what he was thinking. "Well the truth is," Mr. Marsh said, "this painting is like my own broken tablets."

"Do you mean the tablets that Moses broke at Mount Sinai?" asked Ben, wondering how they could be connected.

"You see," Mr. Marsh explained, "right after the giving of the Torah, the Jewish people did something really foolish and bad. They served the Golden Calf. When Moses saw that, he broke the tablets. Now the Jewish people always kept the broken tablets with them in the Ark in the Sanctuary, together with the new tablets that Moses brought. This was to remind them to be humble like those broken pieces. That is why I keep that painting, even though it really is very bad."

"Not as bad as the Golden Calf," said Sara. "But what is that other very nice painting next to it?" she asked. "That is the very first painting I did get put on display—in the very same gallery!" said Mr. Marsh.

"So the whole tablets and the broken tablets are together," said Sara. "Amazing!"

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Anonymous March 16, 2017

thank you!
very nice Reply

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