The recess bell rang and the fifth graders headed out to the yard.
"Chani," Morah Rosen called out softly. "Please come to my desk for a moment. I would like to speak to you."
Chani turned around and walked towards her teacher. "Shevi," she said to her friend, "please make sure I get picked to play on one of the Machanayim teams. I'll be out as soon as I finish talking to Morah." Then she added, "And please make sure that Nadia is also picked."
Morah Rosen waited until all the girls had left the classroom. "Chani, I would like to compliment you on your tremendous efforts to help Nadia. You have shown a lot of ahavas Yisrael. Things are very different here than in Russia, and you have been helping her feel at home in this new country."
Chani smiled bashfully. She really had tried very hard, and was happy to be praised. She had given up some other activities to help Nadia with the homework, and she went out of her way to invite her for Shabbos.
"While I really appreciate what you have been doing, I would like to teach you something about helping others." Morah continued.
Chani looked at her teacher questioningly. "What do you mean, Morah? I was really trying to do my best. I help her in every way that I can. Last week, I even let Nadia copy my answers to the Novi questions."
Morah Rosen stroked Chani's head gently. "Of course, you're trying your best. But those Novi questions are just what I want to discuss with you. We can learn a lesson about this from this week's parshah."
Chani didn't understand. "What does Parshas Behaalos'cha have to do with helping Nadia?" she wondered.
"Well," Morah explained, "The parshah begins with the command to light the menorah. But the Torah does not use the word 'light.' Instead, it uses the word Behaalos'cha which means 'When you raise up.' Rashi tells us that this teaches that we must keep on lighting the wick until the fire rises up on its own."
"I think I understand what Rashi is saying," replied Chani. "Sometimes when I light my Shabbos candle, the wick doesn't light right away. I have to keep touching the wick with the match until it burns nicely on its own."
"Exactly!" exclaimed Morah Rosen. "From this we can learn that when we try to help others, we should do our best to guide them so they can do things on their own - even if it takes extra effort and time."
Chani nodded. "I understand, Morah. If I really want to help Nadia, I shouldn't let her copy my answers. I should be patient and explain the questions to her until she understands, so that she can answer them herself."
Morah Rosen smiled and patted Chani on her back. "With matches like you, Chani, we will surely be able to light the menorah in the Third Beis HaMikdash very soon!"
(Adapted from Sichos Shabbos Behaalos'cha, 5750)