Rina crept down the stairs. The house was dark and very quiet. She pushed open the back door, hoping that the creaking would not wake the rest of the family. She walked across the grass and sat down on the bench under the old oak tree. This was the last night in the house. Tomorrow the family would be moving to 45 Elm Place. Rina did not want to move. She had lived in this house since she was born, had built tree-houses in the oak tree and knew every hiding place for a good game of hide and seek. She had seen the new house. It was empty, cold and smelled of fresh paint. It did not feel like home. She jumped suddenly; a shadow had moved.
"Is that you, Rina?" her brother Rafi asked, as she breathed a sigh of relief.
"Hi," Rina replied. "Have you also come to say goodbye to the garden?"
Rafi grinned sheepishly and nodded. Then he turned to her, saying: "Mummy told me that on Sunday, when we have settled in the new house, we are going to have a big party, and we can invite all our friends. The party is going to be a house warming."
"What' s that?" Rina asked.
Rafi explained that it was a party celebrating the move into a new house. He said that in Hebrew it's called "chanukat habayit," which means "the dedication of the house."
Rina started to look interested. "You know," she exclaimed, "that' s a bit like what is happening in this week'sportion! The Jews had finally finished building the , the Sanctuary for , and then they had a celebration called 'the dedication of the altar.' It sounds as if it's a similar idea to our 'dedication of the house!'"
"What happened at the dedication of the altar?" asked Rafi.
"It went on for days, in fact, for twelve days. On each day a prince, the head of one of the tribes, brought offerings for the dedication of the altar. There are twelve tribes, so it took twelve days."
Rafi was impressed. Imagine if their house warming would take twelve days...
The brother and sister happily walked together back to the house, where they met their mother telling them to go up to bed quickly. Tomorrow would be a busy day! They fell asleep dreaming of gardens, offerings, suitcases and parties.
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