This week's Torah portion teaches us about the Cohanim, the special Jewish priests. They had the important job of conducting services in the Tabernacle, and guiding the people to become the best they could be. The high priest, the Cohen Gadol, wore an especially beautiful uniform that was made up of holy and meaningful objects that helped him to lead the people in the right way. One of these was a special breastplate that he wore suspended on gold chains from his neck. It was made up of precious jewels with letters engraved on them. When the nation had an important decision to make they didn't just decide on their own. They came to the Cohen Gadol and asked for advice. God caused the letters on the chest-plate to light up and spell out the answer. They would follow this advice and always succeed. From here we learn the value of asking for advice from someone with more experience to help us know what to do.


In our story a boy realizes that sometimes it's smarter not to be "too smart" to ask for advice.


Andrew and Jonathan were ready to go. Their club was going to have a big go-cart race.

Mr. Shore, the club leader, told them the rules. "Boys," he said. "You have to make the carts all by yourselves, but you're allowed to come and ask me for ideas or advice."

The next day Andrew met Jonathan on his way to Mr. Shore's office.

"Where are you going?" asked Andrew.

"I'm going to go ask the club leader for some tips on how to build the go-cart. Wanna come?" Jonathan asked.

"No thanks!" said Andrew. "I don't need advice from anyone. I can figure it out all by myself," he added proudly.

"Did you ever make a go-cart before?" asked his friend.

"Well, no," said Andrew. "But I'm sure it'll be easy."

Jonathan went on his way to the leader's office. Mr. Shore was happy to see him, and gave him some good pointers. Jonathan had to work very hard, but following his leader's advice, he made a really fast go-cart.

Andrew, on the other hand, wasn't as successful. His go-cart came out looking more like a shopping cart and went only about half as fast.

Jonathan won the big race, and when Andrew saw his friend's beautiful trophy, he said to himself, "Maybe next year I'll ask for help after all."


Ages 3-5

Q. What smart thing did Jonathan do?
A. He asked Mr. Shore for advice.

Q. Why didn't Andrew ask for help?
A. Because he thought he could do it himself.

Age 6-9

Q. Who do you think made a better decision: Jonathan, who asked the club leader for pointers, or Andrew, who didn't ask for advice? Why?
A. Jonathan worked just as hard as Andrew to make the go-cart, but he wasn't afraid to ask for advice and got tips that made him more successful. On the other hand Andrew was very independent and resourceful.

Q. If Mr. Shore had offered to actually build their go-carts for them, do you think they should have accept the offer?
A. No. Building it on your own gives you more satisfaction since you did it through your own hard work.

Q. Who do you go to when you need advice?

Age 10 and Up

Q. Do you think it's a sign of weakness to ask for advice or a sign of strength? Why?
A. It's a sign of strength to be secure enough to admit that we don't know everything and somebody else might know more than we do and be able to help us. But it's a sign of weakness to always ask for help without ever trying ourselves.

Q. Why do you think people sometimes hesitate to ask for advice even if they know the other person can help them?