Lost and Found
A Treasury of Jewish Folklore
An old rabbi had left the room for a moment, then returned to his studies, only to find his eye-glasses missing. "Perhaps they were between the leaves of his book?" He thought. "No....Maybe they were somewhere on the desk? No....Surely they were in the room. No...."
So, in the ancient sing-song, with many a gesture appropriate to Talmudic disputation, he began:
"Where are my glasses?"
"Let us assume they were taken by someone. They were taken either by someone who needs glasses, or by someone who doesn't need glasses. If it was someone who needs glasses, he has glasses; and if it was someone who doesn't need glasses, then why should he take them?"
"Very well. suppose we assume they were taken by someone who planned to sell them for gain. Either he sells them to one who needs glasses, or to one who doesn't need glasses. But one who needs glasses has glasses, and one who doesn't need them, surely doesn't want to buy them.....so much for that."
"Therefore....this is a problem involving one who needs glasses and has glasses, one who either took someone else's because he lost his own, or who absentmindedly pushed his own up from his nose to his forehead, and promptly forgot all about them!"
And, with a triumphant sweep of thumb to forehead, signalizing the end of his analysis, the rabbi recovered his property.
"Praised be Hashem, I am trained in our ancient manner of reasoning," he murmured. "Otherwise I would never have found them!"