Fighting and making up is a normal part of any friendship. This week's portion tells us about the Holy Tabernacle in which our ancestors worshipped as they traveled through the desert. One of the most fascinating things in it was the cherubim - golden statuettes in the shape of two children that could miraculously move. Sometimes they would be facing each other as a sign of closeness between the people and God, and other times, when the people weren't acting properly, the cherubim would be face away from each other. Our relationship with our friends and family can go like that, too. Sometimes we don't feel so close, or get along, but if we try, we can patch things up and be close again.
In our story, a couple of kids discover that friendship doesn't have to change with the weather.
HERE COMES THE SUN
Weather forecasters sometimes really blow it, Paula thought. The only reason she brought her umbrella to school today was that she forgot to take it out of her school bag, even though the weather report said it was going to stay clear and sunny all day.
Now it was time to walk home and as she looked out at the dark, rainy skies, Paula was happy she had her umbrella - but she certainly wasn't happy.
That's because today at lunch break, she and her best friend, Megan, had gotten into a big fight. Really it had just started out as no big thing, just a disagreement of whose turn it was to jump rope. But neither of them backed down and thanks to some other wise-guy kids egging them on, things got pretty nasty and by the end of the recess they were no longer talking to each other - ever.
Paula popped open her umbrella and started walking. As she walked on, it occurred to her that her friendship with Megan had been just like today's weather. In the morning it had all seemed sunny and cheerful and now, unexpectedly, everything had turned stormy and grey.
The rain, which was at first just a drizzle, started coming down really hard. Walking on, she noticed an umbrella-less kid on the other side of the street had taken cover under a bus stop shelter.
Poor thing! Paula thought. Figuring that they were going the same way, Paula was about to go over and offer to share her umbrella. But as she got closer to the kid who was looking the other way, she stopped short. She could recognize that coat anywhere - it was Megan!
How could she just go up to her like that - after what happened today? Besides, even if she wanted to, Paula was sure that Megan would just give her the cold shoulder.
Feeling like she had no other choice, Paula was about to walk on. Then she noticed a tiny ray of sunlight peeking out from the edge of one of the still-raining clouds and suddenly knew just what she should do.
"Megan!" she said, catching the girl by surprise. "Come, please share my umbrella."
"Um ... thanks a lot, but ... I, um..."
"No 'buts', Megan." Paula pushed on. "You see those clouds up there?"
The girl nodded hesitantly as Paula sat down next to her on the bus stop bench.
"Well that's you and me today - a couple of grey drips!"
Megan hesitantly half-smiled as Paula went on, "But you know what's up there on top of those clouds? I'll tell you - the sun!"
"So, silly. It means that just like the sun is always up there shining above the clouds - that's who we really are, bright sunny friends. The fact that the sky - and us - just happen to get a little cloud-covered from time to time doesn't mean the sun's not there anymore."
"Oh, Paula, you're so right and I'm really sorry about everything today." Megan smiled - this time a full, sunny smile.
The two gave each other a little hug and got up to go, when they noticed that the rain had stopped and the sun was peeking through the clouds. Even though they didn't need to share the umbrella any more, they walked together arm in arm sharing something even more important - friendship.
Q. How did Paula feel at first about going over to Megan?
A. She thought that she couldn't, since they'd gotten into a fight.
Q. How did she feel in the end?
A. She realized that deep down they were still really friends.
Q. What life-lesson do you think the kids learned that day?
A. Even though we can sometimes get into quarrels with the people we're close to, we can focus on the good feelings we usually have toward them and put the disagreement behind us.
Q. Do you think that Paula was right to approach Megan? Why or why not?
A. Friendship and maintaining peace between people in general is one of life's most important values - so Paula's making the move to patch things up with her friend was a big win.
Ages 10 and Up
Q. Do you think that someone who 'quarrels' with G-d - that is, doesn't feel so close, can ever patch things up?
A. God is the absolute most loving and patient being in existence. He is constantly waiting for and open to us coming closer to Him. All we have to do is make one little move in that direction and we'll be amazed at how much good it will bring us.
Q. Why do you think that people who were once close sometimes get into fights and never patch things up?
A. A lot of it has to do with stubborn pride. People naturally want to be close and get along, and if one side would only be willing to swallow their stubborn pride and make a sincere first move, nearly always the other side would respond in kind, rewarding both of them with much sweetness in place of pointless bitterness.