Elie's Expositions

A bereaved father blogging for catharsis... and for distraction. Accordingly, you'll see a diverse set of topics and posts here, from the affecting to the analytical to the absurd. Something for everyone, but all, at the core, meeting a personal need.


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Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Divine Queries

"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:
  1. You could ask one "why" question?
  2. You could ask one question about what will happen in the future?
  3. You could ask advice on one personal issue?
  4. You could ask to meet one person from history (at least 100 years ago)?
  5. You could ask for one non-miraculous personal wish?
  6. You could ask to bring back one person who died?
  7. You could ask for one communal wish?
Worth some serious pondering. Please supply your answers in the comments, and/or copy these questions, meme-like, in your own blog.

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.

6 Comments:

At 8/16/06, 2:36 AM, Blogger Jack's Shack said...

Wow, these are good questions. I really have to think about it.

 
At 8/16/06, 4:54 AM, Blogger Chana said...

You could ask one "why" question? Why are the EU and UN (etc) so blind to the danger of Radical Islam?

You could ask one question about what will happen in the future? Too personal to post here!

You could ask advice on one personal issue? Mmmmm.... not telling! LOL

You could ask to meet one person from history (at least 100 years ago)? One of the "certain members of Congress" quoted below - can you imagine the ramifications??

Notes Abraham Katsh in The Biblical Heritage of American Democracy (p. 70):
At the time of the American Revolution, the interest in the knowledge of Hebrew was so widespread as to allow the circulation of the story that "certain members of Congress proposed that the use of English be formally prohibited in the United States, and Hebrew substituted for it."


You could ask for one non-miraculous personal wish? Ugh, this post-wedding and -pregnanc(ies) weight...

You could ask to bring back one person who died? My mom of blessed memory, who died suddenly at 49

You could ask for one communal wish? Moshiach, Moshiach, Moshiach!!

 
At 8/16/06, 2:50 PM, Blogger socialworker/frustrated mom said...

You could ask one "why" question?Why me

You could ask one question about what will happen in the future?Period of Mashiach

You could ask advice on one personal issue?Nyob lol(it's personal :P)
You could ask to meet one person from history (at least 100 years ago)? Shlomo Hamelech

You could ask for one non-miraculous personal wish?serenity

You could ask to bring back one person who died? Chafetz Chaim

You could ask for one communal wish?no more emotional pain in ppls lives

Wow I can't believe I answered all your questions. Nice expanding on my theme. This was fun thanks.

 
At 8/16/06, 2:50 PM, Blogger socialworker/frustrated mom said...

You could ask one "why" question?Why me

You could ask one question about what will happen in the future?Period of Mashiach

You could ask advice on one personal issue?Nyob lol(it's personal :P)
You could ask to meet one person from history (at least 100 years ago)? Shlomo Hamelech

You could ask for one non-miraculous personal wish?serenity

You could ask to bring back one person who died? Chafetz Chaim

You could ask for one communal wish?no more emotional pain in ppls lives

Wow I can't believe I answered all your questions. Nice expanding on my theme. This was fun thanks.

 
At 8/16/06, 7:28 PM, Blogger Lady-Light said...

These are deep and difficult questions; one is almost afraid to hear the answers, if there are any...I might post these on my site. BTW, I commented on your 'hyphen' article, in case you're interested...

 
At 8/23/06, 6:29 AM, Blogger RR said...

I just want to thank you for alleviating any remaining guilt I might have felt for not using the hypen. I was always taught in school to use the hypen, that to write the word "God" was forbidden. But lately it just seemed unnecessary and contrived to me- I asked a few people far more religious than I and they agreed that it's not necessary- and seeing your post on the subject only reinforces my decision.

So...thanks!

 

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