Join The Conversation With Mishpacha's Weekly Newsletter



Jr. Tales: The Sweeter Side of Zero

Rivkah Small

Breindy was definitely dragging her feet now at the thought of having to study sloooowly with Tirtza instead of breezing through it on her own

Thursday, April 20, 2017

 Mishpacha image

 

T irtza wasn’t good at math. In fact, she was somewhere between not great and average in most subjects. She also wasn’t like those kids in the books who aren’t good at school but have an amazing hidden art talent or who save the game by being able to hit a homerun none of the studious students can. No, she wasn’t great at anything. Which didn’t really bother Tirtza. At least most of the time it didn’t bother her. There was so much more to life, right?

While her classmates seemed lucky to be able to understand the teacher right away, it also seemed to Tirtza to be a bit of a drag: the girls who were good at Chumash were so upset when they got a 90 on a test. She was thrilled when she got a 90. She almost felt bad for them as they frowned down at their good grades.

Look at poor Breindy right now, Tirtza mused, as they walked home from the school bus. Breindy was saddled with her, Tirtza, as a study partner for the math test tomorrow because Mrs. Mandelowitz had suggested that helping a weaker student might be a nice thing for Breindy to do. Breindy took it like a trooper: she didn’t act annoyed, and she didn’t make Tirtza feel like a nebach case. Maybe that was because they were sort of friends — or friendly non-friends or very friendly acquaintances — but Breindy was definitely dragging her feet now at the thought of having to study sloooowly with Tirtza instead of breezing through it on her own.

 

Tirtza felt she should say something encouraging. “Cheer up, Breindy. You don’t have to teach it to me too well. Mrs. Mandelowitz is used to my doing badly on tests. You just have to teach it to me so I do a little better than I would on my own.”

Breindy brightened at that thought, but her forehead crinkled in puzzlement, “Okay, fine about Mrs. Mandelowitz, but won’t your parents be proud if you bring home a good grade?”

Tirtza considered. “Shocked, more like. And they might want me to do just as well next time, which would be a pressure I don’t need. As things are now, they just tell me to try, that that’s all they ask, and that I not actually fail.”

The girls walked down Breindy’s block, past stores and a barber shop and a gate outside one house that had a sign advising passersby to beware of the dog.

That’s was where Breindy urged, “Let’s walk faster, I hate that dog.”

That’s where I excel, Tirtza suddenly thought. I am very unafraid of animals. I feel about barking dogs the way Breindy feels about a big math test: no big deal. (Excerpted from Mishpacha Jr., Issue 656)

Related Stories

Much Ado about… Nothing!

Rochel Burstyn

What’s the smallest number? One, right? Well, actually, it’s zero. Let’s zero in on zero, so you can...

Hide and Seek: Chapter 18

Bracha Rosman

A rock with a ransom note is thrown through a window in the Glenners’ house. Idy decides it’s time t...

Fair and Square

Chana Yanofsky

Other thoughts hammered away in her head. Meira. The two of them had once joked that they could writ...

Share this page with a friend. Fill in the information below, and we'll email your friend a link to this page on your behalf.

Your name
Your email address
You friend's name
Your friend's email address
Please type the characters you see in the image into the box provided.
CAPTCHA
Message


MM217
 
What Are You Fighting For?
Rabbi Moshe Grylak Parshas Korach is the tale of the archetypical machlokes
Baking Up a Storm
Yonoson Rosenblum Masterpiece Cakeshop dodged the bullet this time
More or Less
Eytan Kobre Hunger for materialism. Fueled from without or within?
Meeting the Baal Shem Tov in 2018: Last Installment
Mishpacha Readers The last part of this spirited conversation
A Priest, a Dog, and a Baseball Player
Rabbi Emanuel Feldman Only real life prepares you for real life
Not the Eretz Yisrael Blues
Jacob L. Freedman “Your rebbi in Mir made the diagnosis even before I did”
Collaboration Always Makes It Better
Riki Goldstein “If I collaborate for other albums, why not mine?”
The Language Everyone Understands
Riki Goldstein Connected through the universal medium of music
The Song I Can’t Stop Singing
Riki Goldstein “Let’s make Kiddush over the whole world”
Pick Your Tune
Riki Goldstein How do you like to sing Lecha Dodi?
Turnaround Time
Faigy Peritzman One truly content with his position won’t feel jealous
The Nice Things in Life
Sarah Chana Radcliffe Niceties gain cooperation while cementing relationships
See the Source
Mrs. Elana Moskowitz This message, so elementary, is challenging to maintain