Alan. He became a legend in my house. During second grade he and I spent a huge part of our day rewriting the school library’s encyclopedia as punishment for our misbehavior. Neither of us was of the goody-goody two-shoe variety. Both of us had a vivid imagination and a dramatic flare. To be quite honest, he was one-over on me on the attention-getting spectrum. He could think of pranks and things that most of us couldn’t.
Therein begins my saga of my dime. Included in my drama moments were days I spent as an explorer, finding “new” lands and lakes from within my own backyard and stretching way into the forest around us. Marco Polo did not name as many newfound territories as I did on some of the good days. Then, other days I was off on other quests, one of which was to find hidden treasures. Our property was quite good for that activity. There were antiques at every corner, from the old thirties refrigerator to washboards. Then, one day, I was digging up the lawn and found a really old coin. I thought it was a dime, but these days I tend to think it was what is called a Buffalo Nickel.
My treasure, at last. I proudly brought my dime to school and felt sensationally good about showing it off. Alan wanted it. Well, how do you get a dime out of tight-fisted treasure-loving me? He offered me a swap. I’d get a horse from him for his dime. I opened my fist, handed over my dime, and the swap was half-way done. Except that no horse was tethered outside the next day. I wonder in retrospect, did he even have a horse? I asked for my dime back, but it had been lost somewhere within the depths of the kid’s pocket full of treasures.
I was out a horse and a dime; but earned a lesson. “A dime in hand is worth more than a horse.”
Many is the day that I get small opportunities for goodness to come my way. And many is the day that I ignore those small treasures because I’m aiming for the big, grand one, which often doesn’t pan out. “He’vay zaheer b’mitzvah Kalah” be careful with those “easy” mitzvos, don’t discount them so quickly. The smile you give your spouse. The compliment to the upset child. The drink to the Tzedaka collector.
Hold on to the dimes. To the small little treasures you have in your hand. They might be more valuable than you think.
And in this week’s parsha we begin with the words “va’haya ekev”, if you keep the mitzvos that others would trample under the heels, those seemingly insignificant ones…wow, what a treasure we would have!