"Five!" shouted out Mr. Grosbaum, who sat at the far end of the synagogue. "Ten!" came the voice of Mr. Shusterman from the other side of the room. "Fifteen!" said another.

"What are they doing?" Ralph asked his cousin, David. "Well," said David, 'every week they auction off the right to be called up to the Torah for the last Aliyah, Maftir, and they sell it to the highest bidder. "But what will they do with the money?" asked Ralph, who was staying at David for the weekend and was not familiar with this practice.

"Ah, they will spend the money on the synagogue," replied David, adding, "they will buy new chairs, or paint the walls in the cloakroom, all sorts of good things."

"That sounds like a very clever idea," said Ralph. "The guy gets the Aliyah he wants, and the synagogue gets the money it needs."

"Yes," said David, "That is the basic idea - but people are happy to donate money, it is really just a way of doing it, like an excuse."

"For sure," said Ralph. "In fact, I was reading this week's Torah portion and it was talking about how people would donate money in the time of the Temple."

"Really? That's interesting, how did they do it?"

'Well in those days if a man wanted to make a donation to the Temple there were a few ways of doing it. One of the ways the Torah talks about was for a man to give his own "worth." So if, for instance, a man would say, "I want to give my worth to G‑d," then there would be a set price for a man of his age. If he wanted to give his wife's "worth", then there would be a different price. Each type of person had a different "worth," and depending on what or who a man chose to donate, that is how much he gave…."

"So how much am I worth?" asked David.

"I can't remember," replied Ralph, honestly. Then he added, "did you know the word for donation in the Torah is Makdish, which means 'to separate' and also means 'to make holy'? So when a man separated his money for a G‑dly purpose he was then making his money holy."

"Sounds good!" said David, "I wonder if we could convince the members of our synagogue to give themselves away," he laughed.

"65, once! 65, twice! 65, three times!" The Gabbai closed the auction to the highest bidder.

"I see, so that man who bought it will be called up to the Torah for Maftir," said Ralph watching in interest. Then he said, thoughtfully, "I can't imagine them doing it in my synagogue."

"Never mind," said David. 'I'm sure they give heaps of donations in other ways."

Then, suddenly, everyone in the synagogue began laughing and smiling. "What's happened?" asked Ralph. "Why are they laughing?" David looked at the crowd of men round Mr. Grosbaum and Mr. Shusterman. Then he understood.

"Mr. Shusterman bought the Aliyah, but he gave it to Mr. Grosbaum who was bidding against him!"

"Wow," said Ralph, "that shows all they really wanted to do was to do a good deed. I suppose the main thing is that people find it in their hearts to donate to a holy cause - how it is done is a detail."