Kindergarten kavod

An impromptu trip to a friend yielded a grand reward. After a few hugs, we sat together for a handful of minutes to speak. My dear one shared the following story.

One of her grandsons, a delightful boy of almost five, had been struggling with gan (kindergarten). Much to his parents and grandparents’ dismay, for many months he was unusually quiet about the goings on in his classroom. He neither told stories about what he learned about the holidays or about what he learned from Tanach. In contrast, his reports on playground activities were animated.

A friend of his mother’s wondered, aloud, whether the young fellow might be having a vision issue. Sure enough, once that sweet child was fitted with glasses, his desire to expound on his kindergarten days burgeoned.


To wit, he called my gal pal, his safta (grandmother), to tell her “everything” he had learned about the holy city of Jerusalem. Since his class was preparing for Yom Yerushalyim (Jerusalem Day), his teacher had filled his head with words and with pictures about the many important sites in this holy city. The boy had learned about Montefoire’s flour mill, about Ir David and about the Kotel (Western Wall). He wanted to see them all.


His grandmother was more than happy to accommodate him. They made a day of wandering around locations of historic and religious significance and took lunch at a contemporary eatery. By the time that had recited their prayers after their meal, they had seen everything on his list except for the Kotel.


Reverently, the little boy and his safta approached that great edifice’s plaza. They breathed in the ardent entreaties of that holy place’s multihued petitioners. They took in the chronicle of supplications, which sang out to them in the area’s encompassing silence. They noted how the sun and the clouds played the light over the consecrated stones, too.


Amidst all of that wonder, my friend felt a tug. Her grandson wanted to get closer to The Wall. They approached.


Near those sanctified blocks of limestone, again, she felt a tug. He wanted to kiss and to otherwise embrace those blocks. The grandmother and the grandson did.


One tug more called the safta back to this world. Her grandson wanted paper and pencil.


Stepping back to the more physically expansive pavilion, my friend found a scrap and a stub in her purse. She handed them to her grandchild. He handed them back.


“I don’t read yet, Safta,” he intoned. “I surely don’t know how to write. Make the words for me,” he begged. “Let Hashem (God) be Pleased with my message.”


My wise friend returned the bits to her daughter’s son. “Write your ‘words’ your way,” she offered. “Hashem wants your good heart, not my interpretation.”


On that courtyard’s floor, a small, sincere boy “wrote” a message to our omnipotent Creator. He and his grandma solemnly stuffed that missive into a receptive crevice.


My friend says a dove lit into the air when they finished. My friend says few others of her life’s moments were as meaningful as was that actualization of her grandbaby’s authentic longing. The wee one only wanted to be closer to Rabbeinu HaShalom.