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Question Marks

Published in Times of Israel by Dasee Berkowitz
Posted on March 28, 2017

I can ask my kids the most uninspiring questions. “How was school today?” is the classic one, which usually elicits the most tepid of responses: “Good.” Or this morning’s, “Why did you take so much cereal when you never finish it!?” Then, there’s this one, when things were getting really dicey around 7:30 a.m. and we are going to be late for school: “Do you really think shorts are a good idea when it is raining outside?” And on and on.

While I like to think of myself as a soulful kind of person, who has the ability to cultivate deep “presence” and a usual interest in other people’s lives, I find that in the hustle and bustle of family life, it is sometimes hard for me to access that soulful side, especially with my kids.

When we were in the throes of Passover preparation, when questions, and questioning was at the heart of the Seder experience, I was thinking more about the role of questions in my family life. As I heard Torah scholar, Avivah Zornberg once say, (I’m paraphrasing here) to question is at the heart of being free. Questions open up possibilities. Too many answers close them down and can enslave us.

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