I


t was kind of a silly question. He hardly ever paid attention. Why should today have been any different? But today really was different. Something strange was going on in his class, and it seemed to have a lot to do with him.

Oh well, Yitzy thought to himself. I better try to pay attention now!

Yitzy tried very hard to ignore the fact that most of the boys in his class were staring at him. With a tremendous amount of effort, he forced himself to focus on what his rebbi was saying.

Rabbi Davis was going around the room, asking the boys questions about the Mishnayos they had been learning.

Those are hard questions, Yitzy thought. I’m hope Rebbi doesn’t call on me.

Yitzy watched as Rabbi Davis asked a particularly hard question to Sender Rokovsky, the smartest boy in the class. Without even having to think about it, Sender shot the answer right back.

“Very good, Sender,” said Rabbi Davis.

All the boys in Yitzy’s class were in awe of Sender. He seemed to know everything.

“I’m so happy that Sender is in my class,” Yitzy thought to himself. “Every year, when we have the school-wide contest, Sender is the boy my rebbi chooses to represent our class. He always wins, and our whole class gets a prize. Last year he won the Chumash competition, and this year, I’m sure he’ll win the Mishnayos contest too. I bet we’ll win a trip to an amusement park, or a museum because of him.”

Suddenly, Rabbi Davis turned to Yitzy.

“Yitzy Levinson,” he began, “how tall may a succah be?”

Oh no! Yitzy’s thought in a panic. He’s calling on me!

Yitzy’s brain began to work furiously, trying to remember anything he had learned about the height of a succah. Suddenly, he remembered something.

“Um… ten tefachim?” he stammered.

The sound of soft snickering filled the air. A boy in the back of the room actually groaned out loud.

Rabbi Davis shot the boy a look. Yitzy’s face turned red.

“Oh no!” he thought to himself. “My rebbi asked me for the tallest Succah, and I answered him with the smallest succah. How embarrassing.”

Yitzy held his breath, waiting for his rebbi to reprimand him for not paying attention.

“You’re right, Yitzy,” said Rabbi Davis, “the shortest a succah may be is ten tefachim high. I’m happy you remembered that. Now tell me what is the highest a succah may be.”

Yitzy was grateful to his rebbi for not embarrassing him, but he still did not know the answer. He racked his brain trying to remember something, anything he had heard about the height of a succah.

“Twenty amos?” he blurted out.

Yitzy held his breath. That number had suddenly popped into his head, but he had no idea if it was the right answer.

(Excerpted from Mishpacha Jr., Issue 738)