Patience means giving the time good things need to happen. In the Torah portion, Moses was about to bring the people a great and wonderful gift from God. Yet, because the people were impatient and made a golden calf before Moses returned to them, they lost out on the great gift and instead had to face harsh consequences.


In our story, some kids jump the gun and lose out on some fun.


Danny and Philip still couldn't believe they actually had their dream toy. The twins had picked out the scale model train set as their birthday present and now it was theirs.

"Look at this," said Danny as he held the gleaming model engine in his hand, "It even has a little stove inside, where they would shovel the coal that made it run!"

"Wow, this is great." Phillip agreed. "Speaking of making it run, let's turn it on and see how it runs."

He held it and was about turn it on when his brother snatched it back out of his hand.

"Wait a minute." Danny said, "Don't you remember? Dad told us it's very delicate and we shouldn't play with it until he finishes setting up the tracks."

"Yeah, I know," said Phillip, "but that's not going to be for hours! Dad isn't even home from work yet and then after he gets home who knows how long it's gonna take before it's ready? Come on, let's just try it out. We'll run it on the soft carpet. Nothing will happen to it."

Danny was hesitant. He knew that if their father told them not to use it yet they really should wait. But Phillip was right; it did seem like it would be forever until the tracks were set up.

"Okay! But let's be real careful."

The boys switched the locomotive on, placed it down on the carpet and watched it go. It went really fast as it shot along the carpet and even made a realistic train whistle sound every few seconds.

"This is great, huh!" said Phillip. Danny had to agree. It really was okay that they hadn't waited.

A while later their father returned home and after eating a quick supper, he went up to the playroom, followed closely by two excited boys, to put together the train tracks. The tracks, together with model trees, houses and farm animals, made the boys feel like they were proud owners of a real country railroad.

"Okay, guys," their father said as he snapped the last two tracks together, "the moment we've all been waiting for. Let's let her rip!"

He put the train engine down on the tracks… but it didn't move! The boys looked nervously at each other.

"Hmm, that's funny," their dad said, picking up the locomotive and looking it over. His smile quickly turned into a frown. "It's not working because it's all clogged up with lint from the carpet. Boys, you didn't wait like I told you and were playing with this, weren't you?"

The two of them lowered their heads.

"Dad," said Phillip, "we just couldn't wait so long!" Danny nodded to back his brother up.

"Well now it seems like you're going to have to wait a much longer time to use it. I have to bring this to the store to get it fixed. And that's going to take at least a week -- if they can fix it at all."

He put the train away and suddenly what was going to be a fun night for Danny and Phil turned into a real sad one - all because they didn't wait for the real fun to start.


Ages 3-5

Q. How did the boys feel about using the train at first?
A. They were impatient and didn't want to wait, even though they knew they were supposed to.

Q. How did they feel in the end?
A. They felt that it would have been much better to be patient, even though it was hard, since now they would have to wait much longer.

Ages 6-9

Q. What life lesson do you think the brothers learned?
A. It is hard to be patient and wait when we want something very much and it's tempting not to, but often by waiting we will get much more positive results than impatiently doing something before its time.

Q. How do you think a person could train himself to be more patient?
A. Practice makes perfect and each time we act patiently in the face of an inner impatience, we are strengthening our 'patience muscles.' Also it is helpful to think about and remind ourselves of times when we were patient and it was worth it and times when we were impatient and lost out.

Ages 10 and Up

Q. What is the difference between patience and procrastination?
A. Both can involve holding off from acting immediately but there is a big difference. Procrastinating is failing to act due to fear or laziness while being patient is intentionally refraining from acting, from an understanding that events need more time to develop until it is wise to act.

Q. What does it mean to be patient with oneself?
A. It means realizing that life is a process and not to get down on ourselves if we haven't yet lived up to our values or goals. While we should always set goals for ourselves and strive to achieve them, we shouldn't expect to reach them overnight and we should know that just by sincerely trying we are succeeding.