y! History next!” groaned Yochai as we wandered back into the classroom after recess. “It’s so boring!”
“Yeah,” Natanel agreed. “It’s just tons of names and dates to remember! Who cares which king ruled when?!”
Actually (though I wouldn’t admit it to anyone else), I kinda like history. I don’t always remember all those names and dates, but the stories are cool, all those battles and stuff. And especially as, being Jewish history, it’s not just made-up stories but things that really happened.
Rav Peretz, who teaches Jewish history, was waiting for us in the classroom. He always tries really hard to make things interesting, but you know, with some kids, nothing any rav can do will make them like history.
“Okay, boys!” Rav Peretz called out enthusiastically. “Today, we’re going to do something really exciting!”
We looked at each other, puzzled. What could be so exciting about history? Everyone turned to the rav with questioning faces.
“We’re going to visit the past!” Rav Peretz exclaimed.
Now we were even more puzzled. What on earth did the rav mean? We were soon to find out…
“We’re going to imagine we have a time machine, that we can use to travel back in time to any period in history we want!” Rav Peretz explained. “Each of you can choose when you would like to visit. And to make things more interesting, instead of just visiting, you can actually change things! Think about it! What period in Jewish history would you like to go back in time to — and what would you do differently if you were there?!”
We all sat there in silence for a few moments, and then, as we got the idea, the class erupted.
“That’s easy, I’d go back to Gan Eden, and make sure Adam doesn’t listen to Chava and eat the fruit! Then we wouldn’t have all the problems we had afterward!” Moshiko, one of the bright sparks of the class, piped up.
“Well, I’d go back to the Midbar when Moshe Rabbeinu was still up in Shamayim and Bnei Yisrael wanted to make a golden calf to worship,” my friend Bentzi decided. “I’d just tell them not to be so stupid, just wait and Moshe will soon be back and then you won’t need any golden calves!”
“What about Bar Kamtza?!” Nissim burst out. “That was the worst! I’d go back to the time of the party and make sure when he turned up that he got a glass of wine and a plate of good food! That way the Beis Hamikdash wouldn’t have been destroyed!”
Everyone was talking at once now, full of great ideas. There were so many periods in Jewish history to visit, and Am Yisrael seemed to have done so many silly things that we all wanted to go back and change them!
But I was quiet. I was thinking. What would I do? Where and when would I want to visit? And what would I have done differently?
“Well, boys, I hope I’ve given you something to think about,” Rav Peretz said. “I’d like you to think about it some more, and give me a 500-word short essay on it for our next lesson.”
(Excerpted from Mishpacha Jr., Issue 755)