Little Matt was going to synagogue for the first time. His family lived far from the synagogue. But he had just turned five and his mother felt that the long walk would not be too much for him.

"I know I can make it," Matt said excitedly. "And during the services I promise I'll sit quietly, right between Jack and Dad."

Matt was true to his word. He watched and listened carefully to the prayers and to the Torah reading. On the way home, Matt commented: "When I grow up, I want to be a Kohen," Matt said dreamily, "Then I could be called up to the Torah first!"

"Oh Matt!" exclaimed Jack. "You can't grow up to be a Kohen! You're either born a Kohen or you're not — and we're not."

The boys' father smiled. Then, with a twinkle in his eye, he asked Jack, "Can you think of someone who was not born a Kohen but became one?" Jack thought hard.

"It's in this week's Torah portion," his father hinted.



"How did he become a Kohen?" asked Matt.

"He earned it. A man called Zimri committed a grave sin in front of all the people. Pinchas was very troubled and he rushed to punish Zimri right away so that everyone would see that the words of G‑d must be obeyed.

"It was dangerous. Zimri was a leader, and his tribe might have harmed Pinchas for what he did. Nobody would have expected him to risk his life. But Pinchas thought only about the will of G‑d, he did much more than what anyone would have expected. To reward him, G‑d made him a Kohen.

"This is a lesson for us, too," the father continued. "We can't become a Kohen, but we can be sure that when we do more than what is expected, G‑d will reward us in an exceptional manner too."