In this week's Torah portion we learn more about some of the special jobs of the Kohanim, (the Jewish priests) in the Tabernacle. A lot of the jobs called for great skill and got everyone's attention. But one job was to just take out the ashes from the Tabernacle and bring it outside the camp. It was almost like taking out the trash. But still the Torah talks about this job with as much honor as any of the other ones. This teaches us the important lesson that when a person is doing something worthwhile, as part of a team, even the smallest task becomes important.
In our story a boy learns what really makes a star.
CATCH A FALLING STAR
Stu couldn't wait for junior league tryouts to begin. "Just wait and see," he would tell his dad over and over. "I'm going to be a star pitcher."
His dad would just smile.
Finally the big day arrived. Tryouts!
All the kids from the neighborhood showed up at the town park, where the coaches were waiting with plenty of bats and balls. The kids took turns hitting, throwing and running while the coaches looked on carefully trying to pick their teams.
The next day they would put up a list of who made what team and which position he was chosen to play.
Stu came home from the long day of tryouts, exhausted but happy. "You'll see, dad. Tomorrow I'm gonna be a pitcher," he said.
Sure enough the next day, Stu was on the list, chosen as ... right-fielder.
"Oh no!" cried Stu. "Right field, the worst position. I feel awful," he moaned.
Just then Stu's dad came over to him and put his hand on his son's shoulder. "Stu," he said, "Let me ask you a question."
"What dad?" mumbled Stu. "How many players go out on the field?"
"Nine," answered his son.
"Can you play with less than that?" asked dad. "No, not for an official junior league game," Stu answered.
"Well," said his dad, "Doesn't that mean that every player is important, even the right fielder?"
Stu looked up and smiled. "You're right, dad," he said. "To play the game you need a right fielder as much as a pitcher." Stu stood up and grabbed his baseball glove. "Dad can we go out back and throw the ball around so I can practice being a right fielder?"
"You bet!" said his dad, "You'll always be my star." he added with a smile.
Q. How did Stu feel when he wasn't chosen to be a pitcher?
A. He felt really sad because he wanted to be the star, and now he felt that he wasn't going to be so important.
Q. Why did he feel better after talking to his dad?
A. Because he understood that every player on a team is important, even the right fielder.
Q. Why do you think Stu only wanted to be the pitcher at first?
A. Because the pitchers get a lot of attention, which makes them seem more important than the other players. Stu wanted to show everyone, especially his dad, that he could be a star.
Q. Do you think Stu's dad would love his son more if he had been chosen as the star pitcher?
A. No, because his father knew that what is really important is to be the best you can be. You don't have to be the "star" to be loved.
Age 10 and Up
Q. There is a saying that "it's better to be the tail of a lion than the head of a fox." What do you think that means?
A. The lion is the king of the jungle. He's a very special animal. So special, that his smallest part, his tail, is more important than even the head of a common animal like a fox. We can learn from this saying that being a small part of something great is meaningful.
Q. Who do you think is more praiseworthy -- an honest garbage-man or a dishonest millionaire bank president? Why?