"If God had a name what would it be?
And would you call it to His face?
If you were faced with Him
In all His glory
What would you ask if you had just one question?"
- Joan Osborne, "What If God Was One Of Us"
In a recent post by Social Work Frustrated Mom, she mentions an intriguing question asked by a Shabbos guest last week: "If you could ask God* three questions, what would they be?" In keeping with my mildly contrary style, I'd like to both expand and compress this topic. I've added some variations on the theme, for a total of seven in all - a nice Jewish number. On the other hand, I'm not exactly sold on threesomes when it comes to the subject of God, so I'll keep it to one per category.
To wit: What would you ask God if:
- You could ask one "why" question?
- You could ask one question about what will happen in the future?
- You could ask advice on one personal issue?
- You could ask to meet one person from history (at least 100 years ago)?
- You could ask for one non-miraculous personal wish?
- You could ask to bring back one person who died?
- You could ask for one communal wish?
I'll submit my own answers later this week.
9/8/06 Addition: Thanks to those who commented with their thought-provoking responses. Here, at last, are mine. I guess several of them are somewhat obvious and repetitive, but that's kind of where my mind is these days:
1. You could ask one "why" question? Why did Aaron have to be taken so young?
2. You could ask one question about what will happen in the future? Will I live to see my great-grandchildren - or at least the Washington Redskins ever win the Superbowl again?
3. You could ask advice on one personal issue? What paths should I encourage my children to take in their lives?
4. You could ask to meet one person from history (at least 100 years ago)? I'd want to meet Rabbi Yochanan Ben Zakkai, and ask for his insights on how to refocus and revitalize today's Jewish world the way he did for the generation of the second Temple's destruction.
5. You could ask for one non-miraculous personal wish? Overcoming my fear of change.
6. You could ask to bring back one person who died? Sigh... do I really need to answer?
7. You could ask for one communal wish? Unity without uniformity. That is, not to change who we are, but to change how we relate to one another. Not for God to bring the mashiach undeserved, but for us to be set on the path to earning the mashiach.
*See here on why I don't use the hyphen.