T he bell rang for the end of recess. The next class was Nature, my favorite. As soon as we settled down, Rav Rachamim told us to open our textbooks.

“Winter is coming,” he said, “so we’re going to learn how animals survive in the cold. Animals don’t live in nice, warm, centrally heated homes, you know! It gets very cold in the winter and there isn’t much food for the animals to eat. How do you think they manage?”

“Maybe they take a trip to Eilat where it’s warmer?” called out Moshe, the class comedian.

We all laughed, including Rav Rachamim.

“Very funny, Moshe,” he said. “But you’re actually not far off. There are lots of birds who do fly south for the winter to a warmer spot. Some of them fly thousands of miles, and then when the weather gets warmer in the spring, they fly all the way back!”

Wow, I thought, that’s smart. It gets pretty cold here in Tzfat in the winter, being on the top of a mountain. I wish I could just take off to somewhere warm for the winter!

That was a really cool class. It was amazing to hear about all the smart ideas Hashem put into animals’ heads about how to survive. We learned about animals, like bears, who go into a deep sleep for the winter (that sounds like a pretty good idea too, although I’d miss the snowball fights!). But I had no idea that turtles, bats, snakes, and even ladybugs hibernate too!

And we learned how the animals prepare for the winter. Rav Rachamim taught us about squirrels, who store up nuts so they have something to eat when they wake up now and then during their long winter sleep. We learned about bears, who prepare themselves to hibernate by stuffing themselves with lots of fatty food like fish so they’ll have enough fat in their bodies to last the winter.

Some animals, said Rav Rachamim, don’t go to sleep for the winter. They have other plans. Animals like stoats and arctic foxes actually change their fur for the winter! Instead of their regular light brown fur, they actually grow a thick white fur to keep them both warm and camouflaged! Isn’t that amazing?

And some animals know how important it is to have friends when it gets cold. Emperor penguins, those cute black-and-white creatures, keep themselves warm in the winter by huddling up close together, Rav Rachamim told us. Not just a few penguins though; thousands of them! That must get pretty warm!

“Wow! That was awesome!” Natanel said as we were walking out of the classroom at the end of the lesson.

“Yeah!” Yochai agreed. “You can really see Hashem’s wisdom when you see how He created the animals to know just what to do. What do you think, Yosef Chaim?”

“Hmm, what did you say?” I jumped. I had been lost in thought and hadn’t heard a word. I felt an idea coming on… (Excerpted from Mishpacha Jr., Issue 695)