Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Maurice Chandler - October 3, 1993

Cheder III

I didn't know him.

But you knew who he were--who he was.

I know the son.

Yeah, Abe's uncle--Mr. Bernstein's youngest brother--was my partner, and him and I used to--they would assign us a chapter, and we would work with each other, you know, learning and this and that, so we were like--they were divided into teams, because they would help study, but by yourself, it just--if you--if you don't, or if you misinterpret something, you will run too far with that misinterpretation before you get caught, and then to roll everything back would be too hard. But when you have two people, one questions the other, and so on. If you have a doubt the other one might correct you and so on, so this was how you--it was very, very intense, and my father, my father used to plead with me, and you know, I was a rebel in cheder. I was conduct shtick, you know, used to pick up, you know the less, the less access I had, you know, to worldly things, like a hammer and a chisel and a bicycle the more I wanted them. So, I remember, we used to bring the--I had a friend. He lives in London now--he was just visiting a couple of weeks ago--and they had a bicycle show, and he used to bring all kinds of tools. I mean chisels and hammers, and we loved that, you know. We wanted to--because we were all strictly spiritual, you know. So we wanted to do some, some manual things, and I remember one time, he brought a drill--like a hand drill--and the Rabbi caught me while he was lecturing. I was drilling under the table--drilling--things like that, and the Rabbi--this, this particular melamed you know, when I was already taking Talmud, and he told my father to come over to the house and he says, "Yahoshua, this boy, what he does all week. He is driven to paper and does shtick to it. It's unbelievable. Unbelievable. And on Friday, he listens, you know, attentively, and then on Saturday, he passes. He's better than all the students." So he gave the example the Talmudic kid--Kal-vachomer, what we call. "Imagine, if he only listens one day a week, he knows all this. What if he listened all week? He'd be the Vilna Gaon. He'd be a genius." And to my father, it was the greatest thing he could hear him say. He'd take me out on walks and say, "Moshe," he says, " I'll buy you a gold watch if you could only pay attention all week. Please, please." And I would promise. I mean, things like that--these were important things to them.

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