S ummer, for us, means “gogo’im” season. (For anyone who doesn’t know what gogo’im are, they’re apricot pits!) And by us, they’re the hottest item around — you just can’t get enough of them! Everyone has their special “gogo’im box,” a shoe box or a plastic jar with holes cut out of it to aim at, and every recess time all you’ll see around the playground is just lots of groups of boys playing gogo’im! What every boy wants more than anything is to collect the most gogo’im in the Talmud Torah.

But one day, when we got to the kitah, we forgot all about gogo’im. Rav Rachamim had a surprise announcement for us.

“Next week we are having visitors from Yerushalayim! We’ve decided that the annual Mishnah quiz, usually held at the Or HaTorah Talmud Torah in Yerushalayim, will be held this year in Tzfat at our Talmud Torah! It’s a great honor and I’m sure you will all make our Talmud Torah proud of you.”

Hmm! That was bad news and good news. Bad news because we had been looking forward to the trip to Yerushalayim, but good news that we would be the hosts instead of the guests. When you’re the guest you feel you have to ask permission for everything. Now it would be our turn to be the hosts and give ourselves a few airs; Yerushalayim might be the holy city, but Tzfat is pretty holy, too!

The quiz was to be held in the Talmud Torah’s dining hall. We all pitched in to decorate the hall with streamers, and everyone’s mothers provided a huge spread of yummy food all laid out on colorful tables at the side.

“Hey, here they are!” cried Yochai, who was on watch for our guests at the school gate. The boys piled out of their bus and then stood there, a bit embarrassed, not knowing where to go or what to do. We remembered feeling just like that last year in Yerushalayim, so we understood them and made a big effort to make them feel comfortable.

“Hi, guys! Welcome to Tzfat!” I went over to them. “Come, have something to eat and drink! You must be tired from the trip, it takes a long time, doesn’t it?!”

The Yerushalmis followed us into the hall.

“What a tiny hall you have!” one of them announced. “Our dining hall is twice the size!”

Ouch! That hurt! But we were the hosts so I wasn’t gonna let myself get into an argument.

“Well, that makes sense,” I replied with a sweet smile. “Yerushalayim is much bigger than Tzfat, so why shouldn’t you have a bigger hall?! But anyway, don’t they say it’s quality that counts, not quantity?”

The quiz began, and we were all raring to go; we really wanted to show the Yerushalmis that us Tzfatnikim knew our stuff, and I guess they wanted to show us the same! The rabbanim fired questions at us and we fired back answers just as fast. Both sides were dead even when the rabbanim declared a break.

You could feel the excitement and rivalry in the air as we all trooped out to the yard, so I wasn’t surprised when one of the Yerushalmis called over to us;

“Hey, you guys! You wanna play adju’im? We’ll see who’s the best!”

The problem was that we had no idea what he was talking about. (Originally featured in Mishpacha Jr., Issue 664)