June 25, 2024
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June 25, 2024
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Learn the words in Hebrew to figure out the joke below:

tell me – סַפֵּר לִי

story – סִפּוּר

which – אֵיזֶה

about a kid who had  – עַל יֶלֶד שֶׁהָיָה לוֹ

nice uncle – דּוֹד נֶחְמָד

gave him – נָתַן לוֹ

“shekel” – שֶׁקֶל

gift – מַתָּנָה

uncle  – דּוֹד


Tzvike asked his uncle to tell him a nice story. What kind of story, asked his uncle? A story about a kid who had a nice uncle who gave him a shekel as a gift.

Teacher’s Corner:

One of my students used charming words to get what she wanted, such as: “I will have a better weekend without homework,” and, “I will like your class better if you don’t give us homework.”

I answered: “This is a very nice manipulation to try on me, but I am sorry to say that this doesn’t really work; but it was a very nice effort.” When you want to get something in life there is a better way to do it than to try manipulation. When you manipulate others you are actually cheating yourself. I asked her, “Why do you think that being your friend is more important to me than being a good teacher?” If I became your friend by not giving you homework, then who will teach you Hebrew? You will be cheating yourself and not gaining any language skills for all of the time you are investing in class.

To which she replied, “But I would really appreciate you more as my teacher if you gave us a little less homework!”

My job is to be the best teacher that I can be—not to be your friend. You have lots of friends, but you only have one Hebrew teacher.

If you convince someone who is an authority figure to give up their authority to be your friend, you are losing out on the long-term benefits of the primary relationship—all for short-term personal advantage. Maturity comes when you accept that you have something more to gain from accepting the higher authority. Then you can achieve a real friendship.

Until then, the best way for me to fulfill my obligation to you is to give you homework. You may not like me now but you will be grateful when you can speak fluently in Hebrew and tell me in complete sentences that you really did not appreciate all of the homework I gave you.

And then she said something that shocked me. In perfect Hebrew, and with a mischievous grin, she said, “At tzodeket, Morah Yehezkel. I agree with everything you said, but it’s still fun to try to get away with it.”

For private tutoring, all levels, email [email protected].


Maya Yehezkel is a Hebrew teacher at Yeshivat Noam middle school.

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