An Honest Mistake

It was my parents’ 30th wedding anniversary. For their special day, Dad had commissioned a piece from an Italian glass blower. Mom loved fancy lamps, so Dad bought her a Morano handmade chandelier. It had cost him a pretty penny, and it had taken the artist half a year to create.

You should have seen the excitement and love in Mom’s eyes when she received the gift, and Dad told her he had already arranged for an electrician to come and hang the piece two days later.

“Don’t touch it. Do you hear me children?” Dad said, looking at my brother and me.

The next day, I don’t know what got into me, I woke up early, and while Mom and Dad were sleeping, I snuck downstairs to our dining room. My hands were itching to touch the fine Italian glass. I picked the crystal oblong glass balls with white ribbon glass that hung from a think chain from the box. They were so smooth, like silk.

As I reached my other hand into the box, the part of the chandelier I was holding slipped. There was a loud crash, and the next thing I knew there was glass all over our wooden floor.

I ran to get the broom and dustpan from the maid’s closet, just as our maid, Sorella, arrived with her son, Jose. I quickly swept the remnants into a cup before Sorella could see the chandelier. I handed her the cup, and she placed it on our kitchen counter.

Mom and Dad came down the stairs to find the cup of glass.

“Sorella, did you put this here?” Mom asked. “George, part of my chandelier is broken on the counter!”

“Si,” Sorella answered. She didn’t understand what was happening and went about her work. I wanted to tell Mom everything, but I couldn’t bring myself to fess up. After all, she had waited 30 years of marriage for this lamp. Plus, Dad had spent much of his savings.

“Ma, Sorella broke it!” the words slipped out of my mouth; I knew I could get away with this explanation since Sorella didn’t speak much English.

“My new chandelier!” Mom ran over to the box in the dining room and pulled out the chain with the broken glass.

My heart sank as I sat and watched Mom and Dad discussing what action they would take with our maid. Would she be fired? Would they deduct the cost of the broken glass from her paycheck? I felt sick.

Suddenly, I knew what had to be done.

“Mom, Dad,” I rushed into the kitchen. “I broke the chandelier, I did it!” Tears came running down my cheeks, and I threw my arms around my mother.

“You did?” Mom said. Then there was a pause.

“Why did you lie to us?” Dad asked.

“I was afraid,” I responded, my eyes focused on the floor. “But I know there are worse consequences for not telling the truth.”

Dad and Mom sighed.

“The Torah expects us to be honest, no matter at what cost,” Dad said. “This new lamp cost us a lot of time and money. But there is no price for honesty.”

Disscussion Questions

1. What would you have done in this situation?
2. What could have happened if Sarah didn’t tell the truth?
3. Why does the Torah teach us to stay away from falsehood?

Danielle Sarah Storch is a local freelance writer. “Shabbat Table Talk” is a new monthly feature synthesizing Torah insights and lessons for children of all ages.