"So what did my teacher say about me?" Gila asked her mother eagerly the morning after the parent-teacher meeting.

"Your teacher said you were doing pretty well," her mother replied, as she helped her to prepare her lunch. "But..."

"But I could do better, right?" Gila concluded her sentence frowning. "Everyone keeps telling me that. You say it all the time, Dad says it, and my teacher does too. Even grandma keeps telling me that I'm bright and talented and can do better."

"Well, Gila," replied her mother encouragingly, "perhaps everyone is right you have a lot going for you."

"But Mom, I do better than many of the other students in my class."

"That may be true, Gila. But you know, some of us can do more than just a bit better than others. We can learn about this from the Torah portion.

"The Jewish people are commanded to contribute to the building of the Tabernacle. There were three different types of donations the Jews gave. For example, there was the donation of coins that was used for the silver sockets that supported the wooden walls. Then there were the money and materials that were donated for the building of the actual Tabernacle, the walls, the roof, etc. Then there was---"

"But, Mom," Gila interrupted her, "why do you say that there was a separate donation for the sockets? Aren't they part of the building of the Tabernacle, too?"

"Good question, Gila," continued her mother. "And you know it continues to tell us something even more interesting about the building. The donation for the sockets was a fixed amount— everyone had to give half of a silver shekel coin, no more and no less. But for the rest of the building, everyone brought as much as they could.

"You see, the sockets used for the beams are the base of the entire Tabernacle. There are things in which everyone is equal, because every person has the same base. So the amount donated for the base of the Tabernacle was equal for all.

"The other parts of the building symbolize the many ways a person could be good: different styles, different abilities, different situations and conditions. To build those parts, not everyone's donation was the same. Every person donated the most he could give. And that's how each and every person should do today - without comparing himself to others. We each must do according to our own abilities, doing the very best we can with what we have."