Y

ossi was amazed. “Yitzy, what happened to you? I never saw you pay attention at all during class. But today you were flying. You answered two of Rebbi’s questions and even asked one of your own. What did you eat for breakfast today? I want to have some too.”

Yitzy didn’t know what to answer, so he just smiled and shrugged his shoulders.

The truth was that Yitzy himself was surprised. He would never have imagined that he could pay attention to his rebbi for so long. He never thought he would know enough, or have enough nerve, to ask a good question of his own. He kept wondering if the morning’s Mishnayos class had been just a dream and he would soon wake up to find he was the same Yitzy he used to be.

He didn’t have that much time to think about it though, because his math class was about to begin.

“Okay, gentlemen,” said Mr. Goldfarb, the math teacher. “Please open your math books to page 52. Today we will begin learning about fractions.”

Uh-oh, Yitzy thought to himself. I’m not exactly sure what fractions are, but they definitely sound very boring.

He tried to focus on his teacher’s words and very successfully paid attention for 35 seconds. He knew how long it was because he was focusing on the second hand of the big clock hanging in the room. The clock was amazing. It was the biggest clock he had ever seen. The only problem with this clock was that it moved too slowly. Math class always seemed to take forever. Sometimes he wished he had a remote control that was connected to the clock. He imagined himself pressing the “speed up” button at the beginning of class. That way the clock would move very quickly, and math class would be over five minutes after it started.

Suddenly a thought struck Yitzy. He jumped up in his seat.

What am I doing? he thought to himself. I just wasted the last ten minutes of class thinking about a clock. I missed the teacher’s entire introduction to fractions. One of Mr. Greenbaum’s conditions was for me to get a hundred on a math test! How will I ever do that if I don’t pay any attention? I’ve got to try harder.

 

For the first time in his life, Yitzy actually tried. He tried to focus on the words Mr. Goldfarb was saying. He tried to understand the concepts written on the board and in the book. The only problem was, it was just too hard.

You can’t do this, a voice screamed in his head. These numbers are just too boring. Who cares about numbers? They don’t do anything anyway.

Then he thought of his parents. They had been so nervous about the rent. If he won the building, they would never have to pay rent again. He had to win the building. He must get a hundred on the next math test!

(Excerpted from Mishpacha Jr., Issue 760)