Shavuot(Exodus 19:1 - 20:23)
Set A Good Example
What does it mean to be the chosen people? On Shavuot when God gave us the Torah on Mt. Sinai, He chose us to set a good example for the rest of the world by living an especially ethical life. Living up to this - by following the Torah's guidelines - isn't always easy, but when we do so, we bring so much good into the world - and ourselves.
In our story, a kid sees how much there was to gain by taking responsibility and setting a good example.
Karen looked at her watch anxiously. She'd been excited when she was chosen to be a volunteer crossing guard and was usually happy to do it. But today her friends were all going to a special gymnastics show and she wanted to go too.
"Follow me!" She blew her whistle and walked out to the middle of the crosswalk as what seemed to be the last couple of little kids from the nearby kindergarten followed her like baby ducks.
Lifting her 'stop' sign like a soldier - even though there were no cars in sight on the quiet side street she'd been assigned to guard - Karen dutifully waited for the kids to pass safely before returning to the curb.
Okay, time for the show! she smiled to herself.
Karen had to hurry or else she'd definitely miss the ride her friend Stacy's mom had offered to anyone who wanted to come along.
She knew she was officially supposed to stay a couple of minutes longer, but maybe it would be okay not to - just for today. After all, just hanging around doing nothing wasn't helping anyone and it was certainly going to hurt her if it made her miss the ride and the show!
Karen was about to dash off to her friend's place when she felt a tug on her crossing guard's vest. Her face fell.
"Can you cwoss me pwease?" a little boy, the last straggler who'd seemingly come from nowhere, asked.
Oh, no, Karen thought, if I wait around until this kid waddles across, I'll miss the ride and the show for sure. There hasn't been a single car coming down the road for more than five minutes. He could surely manage on his own this one time.
"You know what? Just for today I allow you to cross all by your..." Karen stopped herself. How can a crossing guard tell a little kid he can cross by himself while she took off? Being chosen for this job was a privilege - and a responsibility. Show or no show, she had to set a good example for these kids.
"Okay, follow me," she said halfheartedly and marched across the crosswalk, stop sign in hand.
Karen looked up to see a car, which must have been going pretty fast, quickly brake and stop only about twenty feet from her.
Wow! she thought. If that car had to brake so fast even after seeing me in my day-glow orange vest and big, red 'stop' sign, I don't want to think about what would have been if only that little kid was crossing!
Karen waited for the boy to cross and then waved the car through.
She'd definitely made the right choice and was happy she did - but still, it was going to hurt tomorrow to hear all her friends gushing about what a great show she had missed.
By now officially off duty, Karen slipped off her guard's vest and absently noticed another car coming down the road. Two cars in two minutes - almost a record for this sleepy street...
"Hey! Jump in!"
"Come on, or we'll miss the opening act!" Stacy shouted out the window, with a smile.
"We knew you were just finishing crosswalk duty, so we picked up everyone else first before swinging by to get you," her friend said as Karen jumped into the car, amazed, dazed - and very grateful.
Q. How did Karen feel at first about letting the last kid to cross the road by himself?
A. She thought it didn't matter because she wanted to leave early.
Q. How did she feel in the end?
A. She was grateful that she'd been responsible and decided to help him.
Q. What life-lesson do you think Karen learned that day?
A. She'd been tempted to take her responsibility lightly and fail to set an example, but she'd realized - and avoided dire consequences by doing so - that being chosen for a responsibility is a privilege and is sometimes worth paying a price to upkeep.
Q. Would Karen's decision to stay have been unwise if, in the end, no car had come while the boy was crossing and she had missed the show?
A. Not at all. Doing the right thing is a value that brings good into the world, independent of whether we see that good or not.
Ages 10 and Up
Q. Does being a member of the 'chosen people' make a person superior to others?
A. In God's eyes, every person, of every race or religion has infinite value. Being the chosen people simply means being chosen as His ambassadors and teachers to help the entire world reconnect to their true infinite spiritual essence and value.
Q. Do we have a 'choice' not to be 'chosen'?
A. While we have a choice whether or not to complete the task God has chosen for us - we remain chosen and will bring tremendous light to the entire world if we accept who we are and do our utmost to fulfill our God-given role.