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Jr. Tales: Follow Which Leader?

A true story, as told to Avigail Rabinowitz

Hope shattered in many bits all around my scuffed Nikes. I was going to be the only guy going. I knew it!

Monday, December 25, 2017

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“O kay, Mommy? So I don’t have to go?”

This whole conversation was going so much better than I ever could have hoped or dreamed. I hadn’t intentionally chosen this time, but I was ready for bed and it was now or never. I could tell my mother was completely distracted. Had she heard a word I’d said till now? It looked like I was going to get away with this.

My mother slowly turned to me, her confusion evident. “Go where?” she asked me, almost suspiciously.

Hope began to crumble. She hadn’t heard a word. “Won’t go to Shacharis at cheder tomorrow, like I was just explaining.”

“Why wouldn’t you go to Shacharis in cheder? Of course you will! What do you mean?”

Hope shattered in many bits all around my scuffed Nikes. I was going to be the only guy going. I knew it!

Earlier in the day, during the last recess, the protest had begun rather slowly. The school administration seemed to be waging war against the Shacharis latecomers and Shacharis skippers, with tougher measures all the time. Many of the boys in trouble this week were the movers and shakers, and they’d just about had it. I’d been late once or twice myself, but since the notes came home to parents explaining the crackdown and consequences, I’d been trying mightily to stay on the right side of cheder law. Not so for Eli and Nosson, and not even close for Shmuel.


So Shmuel was ready to fight back, and while he’s not one to attract attention to himself or make waves, he knew just what he was doing when he riled up Eli and Nosson to take up his cause, and started the low rumbles now growing closer to an imminent earthquake.

Shacharis strike. All for one and one for all! If not one boy shows up to the cheder’s minyan, will we all be sitting in the menahel’s office reading encyclopedic works and writing summaries, while Rebbi sits in class teaching.… Nobody? The guys had a great time envisioning the various possibilities, or at least a handful of vociferous students did. I was sure I wasn’t the only kid uncomfortable with the plan, but far be it from me to publicly stand up to these guys and have my head handed to me!

I turned to Yitzy, a quieter kid like me, and asked him, “If it really isn’t working out for the class and we have a problem, maybe we can choose a few guys to speak up for us in a meeting with Rebbi or the menahel? Or maybe we can explain the problem to our parents and see if they can help us work out a solution?”

Yitzy looked at me rather sympathetically, but just muttered, “Moishy, lie low… this is out of your league.”

So I took his solid advice, and didn’t get involved. Until the chevreh took their plan one step further. (Excerpted from Mishpacha Jr., Issue 691)

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