"Aren't you coming out for recess?" Rachel asked Dina.

"No," replied Dina with a slight air of importance. "Miss Katz said she wanted to speak to me privately in the teachers' room."

Leah, another seventh grader, thought Dina had raised her voice a bit so other girls would hear. As Dina left the classroom, Leah whispered to Rachel, "You know, ever since Dina was chosen as class president, she..."

"Oh, come on, Leah," Rachel interrupted her. "Let's not gossip. Besides, Dina is talented and she's a good organizer. She'll do a lot of nice things for our class."

Yet Leah was right about Dina, and their teacher had sensed it too. That is why she wanted to speak to her.

"Dina," began Miss Katz, as the two met in a private corner of the teachers' room. "I would like to share some thoughts with you from this week's Torah portion."

Dina was a bit surprised. A private Torah class, just for her, on Tuesday? She realized there must be something behind this, and listened intently as Miss Katz continued: "The Torah tells us that both Moses and Joshua recited a song and spoke to the Jewish people. Our sages stress that, at this time, both Moses and Joshua were fulfilling the role of leader.

"Moses arranged for Joshua to speak before the people just as he himself did. Why did Moses do this? We read about many leaders who appointed their successors, but most did not put them in that position during their own lifetimes.

"But with Joshua, it was different. You see, Moses was concerned that people might not be sure that Joshua was able to lead.

"Our sages tell us that Moses did not want people to question Joshua's leadership, saying: 'Wait a minute — you never said much during Moses' lifetime, now how can we be sure that you have something to say and can lead us?' So Moses stood Joshua by his side and had him recite the song as a leader."

"But Miss Katz," asked Dina. "Why would people think that Joshua was not a capable leader?"

"Our sages tell us that everyone expects a leader to show his importance. But Joshua 'never lifted his head.' He was always humble, attending to Moses like a faithful servant.

"Moses raised up Joshua in his own lifetime, because Joshua never 'raised his head' on his own. Even when he was given the leadership role, he did not feel his importance."

Miss Katz looked at Dina and knew she didn't have to say another word. Dina was as bright as she was talented, and she understood the lesson.