Aaron took a bite out of the cookie. It was still hot and the chocolate chips were melted and gooey. These were the first cookies he ever made and they were delicious!

Aaron was already on his third cookie when his older sister, Atara, walked into the kitchen. She saw her brother sitting at the table with a huge plate of cookies in front of him. He had smudges of chocolate on his left cheek and above his right eyebrow.

"I love Mom's cookies!" Atara plopped down in the chair next to Aaron and reached for the plate.

Aaron watched his sister as she said a blessing on the cookie and took a bite. He wondered if she would realize that they weren't Mom's cookies.

Atara closed her eyes as she chewed. These were delicious.

Suddenly, Atara's eyes popped open and she saw her brother staring at her. Her jaw stopped mid-chew. "What are you staring at?" Atara wiped some imaginary chocolate off her cheek.

Aaron burst out laughing and Atara joined in even though she didn't know why.

"They aren't Mom's cookies!" Aaron blurted out.

Atara looked at the cookie in her hand. "I thought they tasted a little different than usual. Who is the baker?"

"You're looking right at him," Aaron grinned.

"Good work! They're delicious."

"Thank you, Atara. But do they really taste different? I used the same recipe that Mom always uses, the one on the back of the chocolate chip bag."

"Hmmm. That is funny." Atara reached for another cookie. "I think these are a little crunchier or something."

"You know," she continued, "two people can do exactly the same thing, and yet add their own special flavor to what they do!"

Aaron didn't understand. He had followed the recipe exactly. Why would the cookies taste different than Mom's?

"Think about this week's Torah reading, Aaron. Each of the tribes brings a gift for the Sanctuary, the Mishkan. They each bring exactly the same thing. But the Torah lists each of the gifts, twelve times. Why would it do that?"

"It's like each of them was following the same recipe," Aaron smiled.

"Right! And yet each gift was special and had its own unique flavor because of who brought it, even though it was exactly the same as all the others."

"Are you saying that my cookies will never be like Mom's cookies?"

"That's right. But that's a good thing. No one else can make them exactly like you can either!"

Aaron grinned. He really had enjoyed baking those cookies, but his mother had been baking for years.

"What I'm saying is, these are special because you made them, not because they're any fancy recipe. Get it?"

"I sure do," Aaron nodded; and he wondered what he would bake next. Something special!