Debby skipped out of the house, ran down the short pathway and clambered up the strong branches of the old oak tree in the back garden. Once inside her leafy hideaway she was able to think through the exciting events of the day. That morning at breakfast, her parents had called a family meeting and made an important announcement. The family was going to go on a trip to Israel for their cousin David's Bar Mitzvah. Debby could not believe it. She had never been on an airplane before - she didn't even have a passport!

Debby was lying back on the branches daydreaming of all the fantastic things that she would do and see in Israel when she heard her mother calling her from the house. Debby slithered down the tree and was told that they were going to the passport photo machine.

Debby was soon engrossed in watching her mother fill out the forms for her passport. Debby's mother then went to the safe where they kept all the important documents and took out Debbie's birth certificate. She asked Debbie to take it to the their neighbor and make a copy of it.

Debby looked surprised. "Why? What does my birth certificate have to do with my passport?"

Rafi, Debby's older brother was standing nearby. He said, "So that they know that it is really you. The passport office has to make sure that you are who you say are. So you need to show certain documents, like your birth certificate, to prove it."

"Hmm," said Debby. "That's kind of like what happened in this week's Torah portion. The Jews were all counted, and they had to prove which family they belonged to, and which of the twelve tribes. So each person brought documents and witnesses that they were really born to that family."

"That's right," Debby's mother said. "Everyone had to prove their identity." She smiled as she watched Debby skipping out of the front gate. Debby's passport, she was thinking. One of the many things that had to be done in preparation for going to Israel!