Another charmer from Mindy.
We were in fourth grade when we reached the story of Yehuda and Tamar in Chumash class. Normally, in Chumash class, we picked over each passuk, translating every word, looking at the Rashi, memorizing and reciting and answering questions and filling out “Mi Amar El Mi”s and “Al Mi Ne’Emar”s ad infinitum. So when we reached the story of Yehudah and Tamar, and the teacher announced we would be doing something different, we all knew something was up. (At least, I did.)
Back then, I thought my teacher was this big grown-up adult. Now I realize she was a young girl who got married later that year. I still remember her huge happy smile at her wedding, which we all happily attended. It’s to her credit that she didn’t skip the Yehudah and Tamar story entirely, which would have been entirely within her rights to do.
Instead, she told us to drop our pens and papers; we didn’t need to take notes- we could just listen. She told us aloud, outside the text, the story of Yehudah and Tamar. Little fourth grade me sat enraptured in my seat. I thought it was terribly romantic. (Sadly, I no longer think the same.) I was spell-bound and burned (pun intended) every detail of the story into my mind. Our teacher finished the story, and we went on to other learning. We were never tested on the story and we never reviewed it. It was as if it had never happened.
Several months later, we had some kind of siyum. Our teacher asked us to prepare any portion of our Chumash learning to present to our class. Well, of course, I went ahead and chose the most exciting story we’d learned to prepare. I wrote it all up on a double sided paper in blue ink, and happily read it to the class as part of our presentations in vivid and unproscribed detail.
When I was done, my teacher blinked from her seat at the side of the room, and said in a surprised tone of voice, “I didn’t think you would remember that.”